Cardiff, Wales: The UK’s first fashion focused LGBT+ clothing brand has launched its debut collection online today. Elm Apparel, the brain child of Fern Coslett, 20, from Penarth, South Wales has launched its range of casual wear, with designs inspired by LGBT+ culture and issues (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender & sexuality minorities).
Fern recognised that there wasn’t a dedicated fashion brand that celebrated the culture and trends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; and could only find novelty and often crude t-shirts, that didn’t adequately represent the community. Fern set about creating the fashion startup to promote Equality, Love and Mindfulness, inspiring the company name Elm.
Speaking about her range of androgynous, unisex t-shirts, sweatshirts and accessories Fern said, “The driving force behind Elm goes far beyond the products themselves and the business, its really about translating LGBT+ pride and support into something people can proudly wear because they believe in equality, whether they’re part of the community or passionate allies.”
Modelling for the debut collection is Billy-Joe Newington, a transgender man, also from Penarth, who recently featured in the Channel 4 documentary ‘Girls to Men’ about his journey transitioning since, being born in the wrong body.
Whilst shooting promotional images Billy said, “What Elm is doing is so important, particularly to transgender people, as given the high suicide attempt rate in the transgender community (around 40% in the UK), the fact that a company like Elm has been built to show love and support means a lot. On the surface it may just be a t-shirt, but the message behind it is very powerful and that support and acceptance can make a real difference to someone.”
Fern established the company with the help of start up business funding for young people from the ‘Inspiring the Vale’ bursary grant scheme. Without the funding Fern believes she simply wouldn’t have been able to afford to start up, “As I’m currently still studying [Media Communications] in Greenwich University, I couldn’t afford the high start up costs on my own; but with the help of the bursary I’ve been able to create my dream job!”
Elm takes its first orders online on 1st December, World AIDS Day, at www.elmapparel.com