When we started working on Upstream Baby in mid-2018 – the initial euphoria and excitement of the concept and idea was so electric and motivating that we worked crazy hours to try and get things off the ground. We soon realized the complexity of it all but were not deterred, instead fuelled and inspired by a desire to go against the grain, think differently and act with conscience and confidence.
As a family we were still living in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the time and arranging for materials and suppliers in South Africa to come into motion. The sporadic visits we made home for many months were consumed by work and toil and we soon realized that it’s truly a challenge to bring something beautifully unique and well designed to market. We won’t go into too much detail – because in the end what matters is that we create something that our customers love – which is what we believe we were able to accomplish.
At the start of 2019 we arrived back in South Africa and we set out to complete the project which we are finally launching in just a short couple of days from now.
So what did we end up creating? What is it that you’re looking at on our site, our social media, or in store at our dearest partner retailers?
First off we wanted to make items that encourage freedom of movement and comfort for little ones. In our experience many garments either inhibit moving or compromise fit, but we wanted to solve both. This isn’t limited to only the way in which we designed and constructed the garments – free from fasteners – but also the way in which we sourced and selected fabrics.
Side note: we fell in love with hemp fabric during this process and you can expect us to step up our hemp game significantly now that we understand the fibre better and considering the massive positive environmental impact there is in turning cotton buyers into hemp consumers. Yes – we have mostly 100% cotton in our first release – and the jersey cotton from our onesies are still produced carbon neutrally. Honestly, these are definite cost compromises we made that have impacted our profitability – but frees us to do what we say we would do and provide products that deliver on expectations of discerning parents and gift givers.
Next up we wanted to create something for the thinkers, the conscious consumers out there who subscribe to sustainable and low-impact living. The reality is that our world is obsessed with buying and consuming fashion at a rapid rate, solving “what to wear” but creating other more significant problems at an environmental waste level. If we could create items that would constitute the “core” of a little one’s wardrobe instead of a bunch of nice-to-haves and add-ons, we would effectively guide our customers towards a less-is-more approach which is difficult to achieve when outfitting our growing children. Our product is completely plastic-free, even our swing-tags are made from recycled paper. We don't just preach but love to believe we act in accordance.
Lastly – we wanted to push and challenge ourselves to design and produce in an unconstrained way. For this reason, we won’t be following some globally accepted norms and putting ourselves into boxes. We will produce items in colours not commonly found in baby clothing aisles. We won’t put out seasonal releases – because a little black dress or a stylish suit doesn’t check what day of the year it is but instead is worn based on the occasion. As a brand for those who go against the grain and reflect a tad of the rebellious, we’re intent on walking the talk and hoping and believing this will inspire others to do the same.
Everyone has their own style. Some like bold, bright colours. Some love pastel tones. Some enjoy monochromatic, minimalist schemes. We believe that over time we will be able to deliver a blend of these in a way that uplifts our young ones and inspire them to be uniquely themselves from their earliest days. For now we will put out a simple yet striking range of core items and we hope that you and your little ones enjoy wearing them as much as we've enjoyed making them!
We’d love to thank you for caring enough to read this and to #GOupstream with us. If you enjoyed this honest article and the kind of thinking it embraces, please share it. Stay tuned for the next one and feel free to comment below if this article resonated with you!