Anytime anyone says “all people included,” you know that whatever it is, it’s going to be good. That’s something that can definitely be said of The People Clothing Company.
This Madison-based clothing company seeks to bring communities together in addition to creating nonexclusive apparel for the masses.
It was founded by Ray Easley in early 2016, named for no other reason than to be for all people. In addition to selling fashionable garments that anyone can wear, Easley is aiming to bring people from all different walks of life together into one community, where everyone is free to be themselves.
They do this by creating gender neutral garments, like shirts, crew-necks and beanies with a minimalist design. The company also markets to a variety of people around the world so like-minded individuals can find a home in a newly found community.
“Fashion is a sense of how we’re connecting a community [that is] all different minded,” Easley said. “If you take a look at our Cul-de-Sac, which is our blog, we have a Paralympic athlete who won gold, we have the guitarist for Kelsea Ballerini who’s the number one country music star right now, we have a chef that won Cut Throat Kitchen, an EDM dude from Atlanta.”
Easley believes that in today’s world, it’s easy to feel put down as a result of not fitting in or feeling unaccommodated by a certain group. With business partner J. Scott Kunkel, The People Clothing wants to create a solution to this problem. Just like the popular saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’ having a community support system is essential for growth, Easley said.
Not many people realize the strength that can result from the collective versus just acting alone as the individual, Easley said. The clothing will ideally be worn by everyone from skater kids to businessmen to grandparents. This inclusiveness creates a sense of unity between the wearers.
“That’s the beauty of it — we’re trying to encompass everyone,” Kunkel said. “Once you see someone who’s a part of it, then you have a connection; you have a conversation starter. And that’s kind of what we want — to spark conversation.”
The company’s future goal of creating pop-up stores would allow these conversations to become reality. Pop-up stores are temporary versions of their store that they would set up in a building, and then take down when finished. Easley and Kunkel would curate events to bring together like-minded individuals, and offer them an opportunity to purchase apparel. At the pop-ups, the clothing pieces will be presented as a work of art, Kunkel said.
These pop-ups will be a center-point in allowing people to find a new community. So many people have varying interests, so it may be difficult to find like minded people. The pop-ups will offer a space for people to meet, talk and form connections.
“The general person is very layered,” commented Easley. “There’s hunters that skateboard, there’s fishermen that cook, there’s skydivers that teach. I don’t think we’re doing ourselves justice if we just have one conversation.”
Creating pop-ups also avoids the great amount of work in opening a brick-and-mortar store, solely for The People Clothing. Besides future pop-ups, clothing can be purchased online and in Freedom on State street, as well as Focus — both skate shops.
As for making the actual clothes, the young business is still in the process of finalizing its production method. Finding a reputable production house is a process, both Easley and Kunkel mentioned. The two want to remain local in the Midwest, which is where the current screen printing company they use is located. Staying local is the “American design,” said Easley.
The concept of creating an authentic community may seem like a new idea to many, but Easley emphasizes that the apparel is still the most important aspect of the business. “The main focus is to create fashionable garments that people want to wear. I don’t want to get too far away from that.”