Real Pretty Kind: A label that champions the individual tween-spirit

Champions of the next generation

Real Pretty Kind. It’s a label you’ll want to remember. As champions of the next generation, Real Pretty Kind (RPK) is a tween clothing label that celebrates the optimism and fun of youth, while speaking to the young adult within. The perfect combination in our opinion. 

We know that tweens can have lots of overwhelming body images and RPK is a brand that addresses these issues head-on. From design to sizing, to modelling and imagery, their label strives for kindness from the inside out.

As street style, this brand keeps it real to their very core. Their clothes are for tweens who are out and about, engaged with the world. Active and enthused. 

Originating out of Sydney with an aesthetic described as “a light beach and blue skies vibe mashed with urban energy” (we love this!), the capsule collection screams edginess and innovation.

While we have plenty of wonderful things to say about RPK, we think the founder Katie Rockcliff says it pretty damn well herself. We were lucky enough to have a chat with her about the rise of her new label and the refreshing authenticity that drives her company.

Katie Rockliff, founder of Real Pretty Kind

REAL PRETTY KIND HAS A BEAUTIFUL ETHOS THAT WE JUST LOVE! CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT HOW YOUR BRAND CAME TO BE?

There were two defining moments I keep coming back to.

First, a day I spent with my then 5-year-old. Nothing remarkable in so many ways, but she just had this infectious joy about her. And it was so good. I just wanted to bottle it. 

Pan forward and I had this mad idea to start a fashion label (yes, I know). I sent out a survey to 200 kids in the tween age range (8–12 years) to find out anything and everything about them, from their favourite colours and celebrities to the most pressing issues in their lives. 

That survey was everything! It showed the steep change in mindset from a kid to a tween, their desire to engage with the world, to explore their style and find their voice.

It also highlighted a trend being mirrored in some unhealthy national stats: the feedback revealed a desire to ‘fit in’ and increased societal pressure Tweens felt about how they should look and behave.

In extreme cases, this touched on negative body image issues and bullying (often, but not always, around appearance). All of which was magnified by the adoption of social media at around tween age. 

This was so at odds with the unselfconscious joy and natural optimism I’d hoped to bottle that day with my daughter, I realised that More JOY was the magic ingredient. It’s what we all desired and aspired to – Tweens and parents both.

RPK was magicked from these moments. And that essence bottled in the brand – the power of ‘real’ over fake, ‘pretty’ as meaning more than your looks, and ‘kind’ as the secret to living your best life. And More JOY as the mission.

I think there’s a Zeitgeist right now. The next generation is all about authenticity and community, and using empathy and kindness as a radical way to shape a better future. RPK’s just tapping into that with a whole load of youthful positivity, joy and togetherness.

LET’S TALK FASHION! WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES FACING TWEENS WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING CLOTHING?

There’s been a gap in the fashion market for 8-12 year olds for a long while. It’s a design challenge to find the sweet spot between wearing something too kiddie: ie a larger size of what your kid brother and sister wears; or too adult: a celebrity mini-me.

Shape-wise, tween bodies start to develop differently to the trajectory of a child between 2 and 7 years, making pattern making and manufacture more complicated. Which is why you see brands neglected this market for so long.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE STYLE INSPIRATION FOR REAL PRETTY KIND

The design pillars we work to:

1. We are Tween. (Our customer focus)

Tweens have their own unique thing going on. We respect that with tween-oriented graphics on tween-friendly fashion shapes.

We invest attention to detail in crafting garments Tweens will love to wear and that reflect their own step change in thinking, subtlety and ‘woke-ness’.

Plus just the right amount of ‘tude to keep things interesting!

2. We make Cult Streetwear (Our roots)

Being ‘street’ style for us, was about keeping it Real. Core to who we are. Tweens are out and about. Engaged with the world. Active and enthused. As are we.

Originating out of Sydney, our aesthetics’ a light beach and blue skies vibe mashed with urban energy, edginess and innovation. Throw in young creative collabs; make the product limited edition; and suddenly you have capsule collections that are a wardrobe must-have.

3. We’re your favourite (#PeopleAndPlanetKind)

A huge call but we always aim to be your Tween’s favourite item. This is not about ego but about bringing Joy and doing Good. If we’re the favourite, cost p/ wear goes down. Tick.

Our styles are multi-purpose, comfortable and timeless enough to be enjoyed beyond the year they’re bought, which reduces landfill.

Basically being the favourite ensures RPK’s kinder on your family wallet and the planet.

WE KNOW THAT BODY IMAGE CAN BE A BIG ISSUE FOR TWEENS. WHAT DOES REAL PRETTY KIND BRING TO THE TABLE TO HELP COMBAT THIS?

We’re primarily about More JOY for the Tweendom. And to achieve that you have to directly address what’s NOT adding joy for them, as well as adding the extra sparkle.

Here’s what we did:

1. EVERY BODY DESIGN: We’ve spent a lot of time honing the perfect signature boxy style that flatters everybody’s shape – no clingy bits, irritating seams or revealing styles. This allows the wearer to live freely and unselfconsciously inside our clothes.

I often tell people we’re an unselfconscious fashion brand and it sounds like an oxymoron! But that’s what I mean. We’re about championing tweens. Our product’s job is to hero the Tween inside, not ourselves. And that’s not something you hear many fashion brands say.

2. EVERY BODY RANGE, LABELLING + CONTENT:
Designed as an attitude as much as a label, we’re being the change we wish to see by behaving Body Positively at every opportunity. And this goes beyond product.

RPK offers a broader range of sizes than your average tween label – going up to Aus size 16 where typically a tween label might cut off at size 12.

We’re supportive of every body in the language we employ in our labelling and elsewhere.

And we don’t retouch our imagery. What you see is the Real Deal. Real Tween Togetherness in action.

Being anti-sizeism requires thinking about your language, your imagery and your product. It’s not just a claim. We go hard on this. And quite possibly we’ve ‘over-thunk’ it! But the way Tweens see themselves in their today is the way they’ll see themselves tomorrow.

We want to be part of helping Tweens see themselves with joy.

3.  POSITIVE ACTION AGAINST NEGATIVITY: As champions of tween spirit, RPK’s about having tweens’ back – both physically and metaphorically.

RPK support causes that payback to Tweens key concerns and tries to help resolve them Since the get-go we proudly support the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, which protects young people from bullying and violence; and The Butterfly Foundation, which provides support for people with body image issues.  

For every RPK T-shirt sold, $1 is committed to these causes – and significantly more on select merchandise. We also run 100% donation charity drives for them.

This means when you buy our products you stand with your fellow tweens.

ETHICAL CLOTHING IS A HUGE GAME-CHANGER IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY. HOW DOES REAL PRETTY KIND SUPPORT ETHICAL FASHION CHOICES?

The next gen demands more than a feel-good slogan on a T-shirt or an Instagram post. They judge their brands on what they stand for and how they live their values in real-time, not just the surface stuff. And that’s exactly the philosophy we hold at RPK too. Actions speak louder than words and we hold ourselves to account.

I love fashion and I’m a creative by training, so Real Pretty Kind’s up with the next season’s trends as much as the next label. But considering Fashion is the second most polluting industry after big oil, for me the more pressing conversation is: are we leaving a positive or a negative mark? 

We’re championing tweens’ todays and tomorrows – and a huge part of that story will be the planet they’re living in. It’s imperative then, that as a brand that’s “Keeping it Real” we touch as lightly as possible on the planet to offer our customers a viable fashion alternative.

And it’s imperative too, we role-model kind behaviours with the people making our clothes, based on mutual respect, equality and fair trade.

This two-tier approach to ethics in fashion underpins our internal code: #PeopleAndPlanetKindour lens for the entire brand supply chain.

Here’s where we’re at:

  • RPK’s makers are a women-supporting-women community, award-winning in their own right for their ethical treatment of staff, they’ve been joint sponsored by AusTrade and Indonesia’s Government Trade Dept to minimise the gender pay gap in an industry notorious for exploiting women and children.
  • The majority of our tees portfolio is organic (we’re aiming for 100% organic and applying for BCorp certification currently) This means buying with us ensure reduced chemicals into the environment; a safer experience for plantation workers; and garments KINDer on Tween skin.
  • We opt across the board for super soft, sustainable cotton and we re-purpose the offcuts into hair ties or recycled into our stationery and swing tags. Any remaining off-cuts are collected to make pillows for the homeless.
  •  We further minimise waste with all-biodegradable packaging and close the loop on our product’s life cycle by repurposing any returned stock into our separate preloved line: the upcycled “Real Pretty Loved” label; or as gifts to Tweens in Need at Christmas.

To be honest we didn’t set out to be leading with an ethical billboard statement because, frankly, we’re a super young brand and we’re still learning. But, in the end, if we’re joining the fashion conversation then we want to be adding JOY to that. To not be part of the problem, but part of the solution. We just didn’t sit comfortably with not trying.

WHAT KIND OF PIECES SHOULD WE EXPECT TO SEE IN YOUR FIRST COLLECTION?

Our Streetwear’s keeping it simple at the outset, and going with the literal interpretation of our mantra: ‘we’ve got your back’.

Every body rocks a tee and sweatshirt and these items are tween-wardrobe staples. So we started there.

Tees and Sweatshirts are also democratic. They look good on everyone, which fits with our ethos. And they look good with every outfit, day or night, all year round. This makes the cost-per-wear lower, too (tick).

And because our designs are minimal and high quality, they’ll be items that can be worn again and again (even passed along).

But for 2020 the portfolio will expand. So watch this space!

Besides the Streetwear label of course, we have our Tween Things collection – gifts and self gifts that champion Tween friendship, kindness, self-expression and self-care. There’s eco-friendly stationery, stickers, unisex fragrances, home lifestyle products and more in the pipeline.  

The thread that binds all our products with tweens in mind, with a backstory behind each that Tweens and their parents can be proud to represent – tweens supporting tweens! 

YOU COME ACROSS A GIRL LIVING THE REAL PRETTY KIND SPIRIT; WHAT KIND OF ATTITUDE DOES SHE EMBODY?

Tweens representing RPK have an unrestrained love of life! The girl in your question is confident, kind and happy in herself. She makes her own joy and, importantly, she shares it with her fellow tweens. Her energy is infectious because joy is cool.

But, most importantly, she might not be a she. Real Pretty Kind is for every (tween) body. 

IF YOU COULD SUM UP THE REAL PRETTY KIND STYLE IN 3 WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

Joyful. Minimal. Cult-collectable

WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE MORE OF REAL PRETTY KIND! WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS? CAN YOU SHARE THE GOSS?

We have some design collaborations in the wings. And an extension of the brand beyond tees and sweats – there are sketchbooks brimming with ideas, whole collections already designed and in the making, including things tweens love that sit outside of pure fashion.

RPK will evolve over time, but we will always be tween. Providing material to inspire and fuel the tweendom, empowering tweens to live well and grow joyfully. REAL and PRETTY and KIND.

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves. Real Pretty Kind is a label that’s living and breathing their ethos from the core. Their #PeopleAndPlanetKind lens is a welcome addition to the tween fashion world and even more importantly, a total game-changer. They’re authentic, empathetic, and most importantly, Real. Everything our tweens need. We cannot wait to see what comes next.

Real Pretty Kind

LAUNCHING SOON
SELECT PIECES LIVE NOW

 

Charmaine Chung
Charmaine Chung

Charmaine Chung is one half of the lady boss team behind Somewhere Between, a resource for super mamas everywhere raising kids in the feisty pre-teen and early teen years. Beginning her career in retail fashion, before moving onto the music industry, working for major record labels, Charmaine eventually moved from Sydney to Laos to follow her dreams of starting a family. Four kids and 14 years later, she’s back in Canberra where motherhood has won her over, leading her to develop Somewhere Between - for mums just like her - raising kids who are navigating that space between their childhood and teenage years.

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