Where is it?
Available online only: www.keepitbright.co.uk
A personal favourite are the boy shorts that would have ‘BLESSED’ written across your bum cheeks. I like to think they act as a metaphor for Zara’s main mission statement - it’s all about being grateful for what you have – regardless of how little or how much.
KEEP It Bright is the brainchild of Zara Khalique, a pint-sized, Rapunzel-haired, self–professed ‘warrior of light’.
A product of Manchester, Zara started her clothing line whilst studying at college. It began as a custom clothing range and t-shirt line under the name ‘Dream Factory’, but Zara developed a purpose; to give back, inspire, become a notable role model and spread positivity.
“Keep It Bright is more than just a clothing brand, I like to call it a positivity movement” she said.
“I embrace every opportunity to spread an uplifting message, whether it’s on a t-shirts, sweatshirts, boxer shorts or posters. The name ‘Keep It Bright’ just says it all.”
At just 22, she’s been in business with Keep It Bright for six years. Armed with a catalogue of motivational slogans, she was determined to build a lifestyle brand that acted as an extension of her personal vocation - to make the world around her a happier place.
It’s a modern ‘flower power’ movement which Zara takes extremely seriously.
She said: “People always assume that because I’m a positive person, I’m naively positive. Not at all.
“When I was younger I had a lot of issues and things went really bad. One friend was very positive throughout it all, showed me a positive way of thinking, told me that there was light at the end of the tunnel and actually saved my life.
“I started to change the way I think and everything changed. Once I realised it was that simple, I couldn’t help but share what I learnt and now it’s a way of life.”
It’s all very ‘kumbaya’ and ‘hakuna–matata’ yet Keep It Bright is packaged in a modern, youthful and importantly, fashionable way. It’s fashion with sincerity.
Through Zara’s persistence, Keep It Bright has become a recognisable ‘do good’ brand, associated with mentoring schemes, charity work with Manchester based, RECLAIM, and other youth programmes.
Zara’s commitment to making other people happy is a noble one. At times she’s seen offering face-painting wearing a Tigger onesie – just because.
You can’t help but smile at that.
What does it sell?
Keep It Bright’s key messages ‘trust your struggle’, ‘ fear less’ and ‘count your blessings’ are Zara’s own personal slogans and featured throughout the unisex clothing range. So personal, the same designs are boldly tattooed all over her body.
You’re buying a piece of Zara, it would seem.
The casual line includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, tracksuits and accessories that reflect Zara’s personal style as she says, she wouldn’t make anything she wouldn’t wear herself. There’s 70s tye-dye on 80s t-shirts, 90s denim jackets and beanie hats that form part of today’s young trends.
A personal favourite are the boy shorts that would have ‘BLESSED’ written across your bum cheeks. I like to think they act as a metaphor for Zara’s main mission statement - it’s all about being grateful for what you have, regardless of how little or how much.
The 54 product range doesn’t stop at clothes either. There are iphone cases, mugs, compact mirrors, jewellery and even a book, that make great gifts.
If it has space for a positive message, it’s likely that Zara has etched her message on it or is thinking of making it.
Who wears it?
Ed Sheeran wouldn’t be most brands’ first celebrity pick as a fashion advocate. Firstly, he doesn’t seem to care about fashion. His messy ginger curls haven’t been given the stylist trim and he hasn’t updated his wardrobe since he shot to fame. Yet for Zara, Ed Sheeran and his meaningful lyrics, made the perfect ambassador of her Keep It Bright range.
“He’s so talented and down to earth. We went to meet him at a show and he put the t-shirts on immediately and he has been wearing them ever since” said Zara.
Other celebrity fans of Keep It Bright include up and coming band, Bastille, lead singer of Rudimental, Ella Eyre, and X Factor’s Misha B. Notably Zara even received a nod of approval from designer Michael Kors on Twitter. It’s a style that mirrors Manchester’s Northern Quarter dwellers; students, hipsters and age defiant creative types.
For Zara, targeting young people through her clothes makes perfect sense. She said: “When you’re younger everything feels like the end of the world. I’ve had letters from young people telling me how much I’ve helped them. Young people especially need someone to tell them that things are going to get better.”
Nonetheless, Zara reassures there’s something for everyone after all, positivity is universally coveted.
Why go there?
If the positivity pushing aspect of Keep It Bright doesn’t have you rummaging through your purses, then the style and affordable price tags most likely will.
T-shirts are £10 and sweatshirts no more than £20 as Zara refuses to raise the prices of her original items and designs.
Zara said: “Keep It Bright has to be accessible to everyone. Of course, I need to make money to make more stuff, yet I don’t see the need to be overly stush with prices. It doesn’t interest me. Stushness may get you further as exclusivity sells, but that’s just not for me”.
Cool clothes minus an extortionate price, again, another win. Not to mention, Zara believes her apparel will act as a non-medicinal anti-depressant.
“The more you surround yourself with positive messages, whether it is on your clothes or the music you listen too, the better you feel.”
As young entrepreneurs go, Zara isn’t the cut–throat business woman that would fair as Alan Sugar’s Apprentice and insists she isn’t motivated by money - even showing me her choice of having an old battered prehistoric mobile rather than a smartphone.
“I’m not very materialistic and I’m probably not as business minded as I should be. I’m not focused on making loads of money, I just want to spread my messages.”
Modesty is probably Zara’s other virtuous quality. The Keep It Bright brand has expanded many other outlets, including print, an online Youtube channel, charity campaigns and is regularly selling overseas in the US, even without a shrewd money–making marketing plan.
Fans of Keep It Bright generally tend to be fans of Zara, so the future of the line depends on Zara’s own determination to keep selling herself. With plans to expand the line into homeware, she’s confident about where Keep It Bright is heading.
“It’s not just a fashion phase. These messages are eternal and positivity is not a thing that can ever go out of style.”
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