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How a chaplain-turned-entrepreneur is elevating streetwear to spice up KC nonprofits


Staff member
Mar 22, 2024
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In a world of loud assertion tees, typically probably the most impactful messages are quietly sewn into the tag, mentioned Makenzy Jean, whose Kansas Metropolis-based attire firm companions with native nonprofits on brand-merging designs that give again to their group causes.

Related Humanity’s “For The Tradition” tee, a design impressed via a partnership with Guadalupe Facilities of KC; picture by Taylor Wilmore, Startland Information

“Streetwear is from the streets,” mentioned Jean, founding father of Related Humanity and a former chaplain. “We wish to make sure that we’re supporting the very factor that’s giving our clothes it’s essence.”

Associated Humanity already has donated greater than $7,000 to Kansas Metropolis nonprofits via this enterprise mannequin, whereby the corporate collaborates with a corporation that aligns with its values — previous companions embody Guadalupe Facilities of KC, Huge Brothers Huge Sisters of KC, Nurture KC, The Subsequent Paige Basis, and Halo Basis. After a associate is chosen, the Related Humanity group works with them to design and promote a marketing campaign shirt or assortment, all for gratis.

“You don’t should spend any cash to purchase into it,” mentioned Jean. “That excites me, as a result of we’re creating low limitations for nonprofits to have the ability to get a very dope assortment.”

Click on here to buy previous collaborations.

Bouncing designs off one another


The Related Humanity group on the Made in KC Market on the Nation Membership Plaza; picture by Taylor Wilmore, Startland Information

Style and philanthropy mix early within the design course of, Jean mentioned, noting Related Humanity makes use of both an in-house designer or one other native designer for every mission — relying on the type wanted.

Subsequent comes a session with the nonprofit to jot down buzzwords and concepts that align with Related Humanity.

“My favourite half in regards to the inventive course of could be that deliberation,” mentioned Jean. “With the ability to take what our designers have created and make it right into a bodily tangible factor will get me tremendous excited, as a result of I like to create and I like to innovate.”

After two weeks of designers creating early stage ideas, the group then meets to finalize the design, get approval from the nonprofit associate, and add a signature Related Humanity pink tag for a remaining contact.

Core assortment coming quickly

In a slight break from its previous tasks, Related Humanity is growing its personal core assortment — anticipated to debut this month — that incorporates a vibe that displays the Related Humanity model itself. And since there’s no nonprofit associate for the gathering, funds that might’ve gone to a collaborator will go into an Related Humanity scholarship fund, Jean mentioned.

“We imagine that for underserved populations, one of many largest gateways is low price schooling,” mentioned Jean, whose previous profession in tech has included work with edtech startup Boddle Studying and at fintech scaleup C2FO. “So via this fund we will have college students have the monetary alternative to go to highschool.”

The type for the core assortment: Collegiate meets streetwear, Jean hinted, teasing an Related Humanity-branded inexperienced crewneck and a white shirt with a front-back design.

Click on here to observe Related Humanity on Instagram.


The Related Humanity signal throughout the Made in KC Market on the Nation Membership Plaza; picture by Taylor Wilmore, Startland Information

Testing the waters

A inventive artist his complete life, Jean pushed himself to begin his personal clothes model whereas working as a chaplain at Drake College.

“No matter I made a decision to begin, I knew that I needed to present again to the organizations I like to assist,” he mentioned.

When Jean initially launched Related Humanity in 2021, he created the primary piece — a dad cap with ‘human.’ embroidered on the entrance — drawn to the concept that all identities might proudly put on it, regardless of their race, gender or sexuality.

“I appreciated that as a result of it introduced everybody all the way down to the essence of who we’re, however provides individuals the flexibility to inform their story and fill within the clean,” he mentioned.

When Jean acquired optimistic suggestions on the hat after carrying it across the metropolis, he determined to begin promoting it for revenue and broaden the gathering with shirts.

Related Humanity has continued to develop largely via phrase of mouth, he mentioned.

“Create one thing, put on it, and see what individuals suppose,” Jean mentioned.
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