What if…old-fashioned ideas were paired with a modern twist? What if…clothing was designed to do more than just cover our bodies? What if…we were kinder to the earth? The Fall/Winter 2012/2013 collection asks a simple question, prompting children and adults to fill in the blank. Founder and designer, Kristen Coia says, “The message we did this season is what if….The thoughts were, ‘What if I was taught to give more?’, ‘What if I was taught to take less for myself and give more to others?’ ‘Maybe I will be happier with that. Maybe I don’t need more.’ We like to get people to think. We like to initiate a thought and get people thinking about something.” She transforms organic children’s apparel into a positive movement with beautiful designs, environmentally friendly practices and a benevolent message. Go Gently Baby started when Kristen realized there was a niche in the world of fashionable children’s clothing. As a mother, and vegan living a holistic lifestyle, nurturing an eco-friendly clothing line for children comes with ethical imperatives. She wanted it to be more than an organic apparel line, so she created a brand that is beautiful inside and out. She hopes people will appreciate her designs and be touched to Go Gently in their lives.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
Sending an altruistic message in each collection embodies the company’s name and mantra. The inspiration for the name comes from the way in which Kristen’s husband, Henry, lives his life. “He is just this amazing person who moves gently in life,” she explains. “I just thought that is what I wanted for my children. I wanted my children to emulate a life like my husband’s, of going gently…It comes from a little bit of being inspired from my own family, but also our lifestyle and kind of philosophy of living a gentle life.” Kristen undoubtedly found inspiration from her family in her most recent collection. The girl’s collection is inspired by a sentimental gift from her grandmother, a beautiful creamy blue and ivory cameo that Kristen wore on her wedding day. The collection is filled with cameo prints that were custom made and printed on the clothing. She then combined the old-fashioned concept with simple and classic designs of Peter Pan collars, gold buttons, long johns and peacoats with contemporary styles. Timeless, yet edgy. Both children’s collections are colored with dark rose, cream and navy. Kristen also uses low impact dyes and soft organic fabrics such as French terry, fleece, and jersey. Her young children inspire a majority of her designs. “I’ll just imagine a certain shaped garment on them, a silhouette,” she says. “Pretty much everyday. It’s almost like I can’t turn it off. Like I wish I could just turn the switch off and stop designing in my head. But I can’t. It’s constant. I’m always imagining or picturing little silhouettes. Different little concepts on them.”
EDUCATING PEOPLE TO REALLY CARE
Creating a sustainable clothing line comes with its own unique obstacles. Kristen says, “Educating people to really care, to really pay attention, to consider doing it a little different, to not be wasteful, to care about it – it’s a challenge and will continue to be until it is mainstream.” Clothing options and ideas are also restricted due to a limited amount of organic fabrics. She explains, “You have to be very creative and push yourself creatively to come up with different things, and how to use the fabrics in a different way.” After designs are cut, a lot of leftover fabric is thrown away. It was important to Kristen to find a cutter who was willing to gather the leftover fabric and bag it. Thanks to her assiduous nature, today those scraps are re-used for early stage design concepts. Kristen’s husband says, “She has an immense capacity to do more than the average person, and even though she has two young children, runs a company, maintains our home, and is a wonderful wife, she somehow continues to push forward and bring new business ideas and new creative avenues to the table.” Kristen designs with ingenious creativity, talent, and a kind spirit. She believes it is important to “follow your heart and be authentic with who you are.” In the fashion industry, she continues on her authentic journey hoping others will join her movement into a world that goes gently.