India Meets……Rebecca Hooker

India Meets……Rebecca Hooker

Written by India Nye, Photography by Olly Woodburn

I’ve always loved the arts; drama has always been a big passion of mine, so this month I jumped at the chance to meet an Exeter based dance teacher who is harnessing the positive power of social media to create awareness of her own lifestyle and anti-bullying brand  #COMMITTED Clothing Company.

Rebecca Hooker, the woman behind #COMMITTED, is both passionate and driven; she’s determined to play her part in encouraging others to work hard, follow their individual passions and interests and stamp out bullying for good.

I met with the founder of the #COMMITTED Clothing Company, at Exeter’s Exploding Bakery, for an honest and open chat about her mission and brand.

“The idea initially wasn’t a clothing line,” she explained “I knew I wanted to come up with something to empower and motivate people and initially I began working on an anti-bullying campaign. Through teaching dance, I spend a lot of time with impressionable students and hear some of their experiences of bullying.  It seems to be very common across social media; something I’ve never personally experienced, but such a sad and scary reality. Just through speaking to people and doing some research, it’s apparent that there are a lot of people using social media in a negative way. This is something I really want to change. It feels like some people don’t understand the potential damage they can cause when they’re sat behind a telephone or computer screen. There are already lots of anti-bullying campaigns and charities all over the country, so I needed to find a way to make my ideas current and different to the others. That’s when I came up with the idea of launching a clothing brand with a difference. 

Fashion is a passion of mine and I know that, for many people, appearance is an important part of their identity; I wanted to create something current that people would feel confident in, at the same time as there being a very important message behind the clothing.”

Being a teenager myself, I could relate in many ways to what she was saying; appearance is, for most teenagers, a huge part of expressing who we are.  It allows us to show the world, visually, our authentic self. It was encouraging to hear that Rebecca understood that and tailored her brand towards that idea.

“To make it meaningful, I decided that before anyone could wear #COMMITTED clothing they would have to agree to the #COMMITTED pledge and understand the meaning behind the brand; they would have to understand what it means to become part of the #COMMITTED COMMUNITY; the celebrations, the achievements, the positivity.

I was bullied in high school. I came from a small village primary school so high school was a completely different experience. It was a lot to take in.

I was bullied verbally on a regular basis, and it really affected my self-confidence. I found myself trying to get the people who were bullying me, to like me, adapting my personality so I could fit in with them. I can also remember deliberately avoiding certain places so I didn’t come across the people bullying me. Looking back that is so sad and no one should have to feel like that.

Because of my personal experiences and hearing of others, I want to educate and promote communication. In many circumstances, the reason people bully others is either because of situations at home, or their own insecurities. I want to get the message out there that if you talk openly or face your struggles head on, rather than express and vent your anger on others, they will get better.  Also, looking back, it was so clear that the people who bullied generally didn’t have a passion or an interest that they focussed on. Having an interest and a sense of belonging is hugely important.”

 

It’s clear that Rebecca’s own experience with bullying has influenced and inspired the brand, but I was curious as to what other factors were at play.

“My main inspirations are my own young children; at 2 & 3 they are so pure-minded and spirited. They wake up with these smiling faces and excitement for no other reason than it being a new day. Nobody is born a bully; sadly it’s learned behavior or a coping mechanism. I want my children to grow up thinking that they can achieve anything and to talk over any struggles they may experience.

Social media allows me to share my brand with so many people, from all walks of life, to get this message and mindset out on a grand scheme. It’s also been a fabulous tool for networking; connecting me with people I would never have had an opportunity to meet. It’s been one of the best feelings knowing there are people wanting to wear the clothing and commit to the pledge.

I am so blessed to be working with some incredible ambassadors; Olly Woodburn, Dean Moxey and Victoria Piggott are just a few. They all want to promote the same message and have experienced their own struggles. They make fantastic role models and are living proof that hard work and dedication can create such success.”

My time with Rebecca was short but there is no doubting the passion she has for her new business. Her dedication and vision are strong and I’m excited to see what Committed Clothing Company has in store for us and the impact it will have. Thank you, Rebecca! 

You can follow Rebecca @CommittedClothingCompany on instagram.

India x

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