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Avant-garde – Santa Barbara News-Press



La Colina Junior High creates a sustainable clothing line

La Colina High School student Reese Large wears a t-shirt she designed for her clothing brand Real Life.

Reese Large, a preteen from Santa Barbara, missed bits and pieces of her real life before the pandemic: scuba diving, surfing, softball and going to the movies.

She therefore created Real Life, a clothing brand celebrating these experiences and supporting associated associations.

His current designs, Lets Scuba and Surfs Up, benefit Project Aware, a non-profit organization that seeks to clean up the ocean and protect marine life.

Family friends Karen and Will Christensen of Colorado are among Reeses’ first out-of-state clients. Reese is happy to be able to sell online, so people outside of Santa Barbara can experience real life.

Along with her philanthropic focus, she sourced the blank t-shirts and hoodies from an eco-friendly wholesaler.

Originally, she wanted to make the hoodies, and her grandmother helped her find a pattern and sew a hoodie in one day. But it was too costly in the long run.

Spending was Reeses’ biggest hurdle. The initial setup costs and the price of a limited run are high for a new business.

She is starting to see it pay off as friends and strangers buy her designs online.

Her friends helped her choose which designs to print. Reese worked out options and sent them to her peers to vote on.

She sent their favorites to a graphic designer to produce a print-ready file.

The process was new and exciting for Reese, who never imagined she would start a fashion label.

She saw a hole in the market when her favorite store closed.

There really wasn’t a place to shop anymore, she said. So I decided to start this business so that I could donate clothes to people who also don’t have a lot of options.

Reeses’ first drawing, Surfs Up, is printed at a local store.

I loved fashion, but never really thought of starting my own business or anything, she says. But I am learning.

She had several calls with John Paul Beltran, co-founder of JohnPaulRichard, and Gordon Seabury, CEO of Toad & Co. They helped her learn about the industry and gave her advice.

It was super cool talking to some of the people who have these great companies, Reese said. And they were very generous with their time and helped me.

In addition to her fashion lessons, she learned how to market her brand from her mother, Marjorie Large, a partner at WitMark Marketing & Branding Group.

Reese wrote the entire copy on Real Lifes’ website,, and runs the brand’s Instagram account alongside her mom.

While building the website, she learned web design and even coded a few elements.

She accomplished all of this by graduating from sixth grade and starting junior high at La Colina in Santa Barbara.

She intends to continue the label in the future. Although it was created during the pandemic, it is much more than a pandemic project.

The goal is to have an impact, his mother said. I think she likes clothes a lot, so I think it’s been fun for her to explore different ways of expressing herself as a sporty teenager.

But the other big part is the nonprofit element, as she spent a lot of time researching which nonprofits to connect with.

Reese can’t wait to make her first donations at the end of the first trimester.

email: [email protected]

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