Alpine Parrot exists for one simple reason: fun in the outdoors.
Fun in general lifts us all up, regardless of the circumstances in which we were born or how we were raised. Fun is expressed in laughter and joy: If we can find a moment to laugh, we can find a way to be whole.
I personally have so much fun when I'm outside. The first time I went skiing, I laughed so hard (from the inside of a snow bank, after I crashed into it). The stories my friends and I share on the trail usually end in deeper connection, along with a promise to do it again. I still haven't found anything that beats the smell of pine trees warmed by sunshine.
My vision for Alpine Parrot is to give everyone access to the outdoors, so that they, too, can experience the joy of nature.
To accomplish this vision, Alpine Parrot's mission is to create outdoor clothing that encourages and celebrates underrepresented people in the outdoors, namely people of size and people of color.
When I look at ads and publications for the outdoors, the people described are more often than not members of a rather homogeneous group. As a plus size woman of color with indigenous roots, I often find myself asking: Where are the people of size? Where are the people of color? Most importantly, where are the indigenous people, who have been stewards of the land longer than these spaces have been "owned" by the government?
You can't be it if you can't see it
For too long there's been a toxic narrative that underrepresented voices somehow "don't belong" in nature, simply because there isn't any visible representation of people like them. Larger bodies, brown bodies, black bodies: how often are they the focus of outdoor magazine articles or stock photos?
The outdoor community at large consistently pushes a message of environmental conservancy, but if these folks don't inherently believe that they have access to the nature, then how can we expect to garner enough support to save the environment? Furthermore, indigenous folks have been protecting the planet for generations; why are their voices and bodies hidden from view, when we could learn so much from them?
There are very few outdoor apparel companies that cater specifically to these groups. Beyond lack of visual representation, the lack of size representation is yet another barrier for so many people to step onto a hiking trail. If folks can't buy clothes that allow them to comfortably engage with the planet, then why should they even bother venturing outside in the first place?
It's time for a company to make outdoor clothing available in sizes worn by more than half the population, featuring models that span the races and ethnicities that call the planet home. Alpine Parrot will be that company.
As part of Alpine Parrot's vision and mission, I also have to consider the planet itself. If we don't save the natural beauty around us and reverse the course of climate change, the environment will continue to degrade, to the detriment of us all.
In order to give everyone access to the outdoors, there needs to be an outdoors to access.
We only have one planet, and the apparel industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution on Earth. I have a lot of ideas on how to address environmental sustainability, namely by following a similar model to the slow fashion movement: mindfulness in the fabrics we choose, careful consideration in the construction of each garment, and awareness of "how things used to be done" in order to break the dang rules that don't make sense anymore.
I'll be writing more on this topic as Alpine Parrot continues to grow, and I strongly welcome questions and feedback from anyone who would like to contribute to this undertaking.
The Time is Now
Thank you so much for being part of the Alpine Parrot community. I know I'm just starting out, but I hope you'll keep me accountable. I'll do my best to continue to share my thoughts and actions with you, first via email and then social media and this blog. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the newsletter, to get the scoop before everyone else!