“As my stage grew, I tried to grow with it.”
When stylist and designer Sandy Gill launched her content platform nearly a decade ago, it was intended to “provide resources for those who want to find confidence through fashion.” Fast forward to today, and Gill’s reach – and ethos – has expanded to adopt a broader type of support. And with the introduction of his unisex athletic label Tuff Banditz last year, Gill has been able to satisfy both his love of clothing and his desire to educate, empower and provide visibility for his community and others outside of it.
“I’ve learned a lot about what I want to share with the world,” she said Fashion On a video call in mid-May, soon after Tuff Banditz’s new collection – called Land with Grace – dropped through AI-powered design company UrbanCoolab. “As a person who has been in the field of fashion for almost eight years, it took me a long time to figure out what story I wanted to tell, and what impact I wanted to make in this place. This has become very clear, especially with the epidemic. “
Gill, who is also an elementary school teacher, says that she has experienced many personal losses, as well as people around the world losing everything from jobs to loved ones, for a second offer of Tuff Banditz Incited to explore the concept of. Urbancoolab used its AI technology to graphically translate imagery – from moving boxes and calendars to paper planes – expressing a sense of thought over an array of boldly tinted holiday pieces. You will also find phrases like “Land with Grace”, a statement that taught Gill to go through difficult times and teach others to endure difficult moments.
She also addresses the notion of loss through an urgent and expanding global issue: climate change and the climate migrant crisis. “I want to tell stories through each collection and these collections have created an impact for the people in the communities who are hurting,” she says, explaining why she focused on highlighting the subject while creating new pieces. “So many people have been displaced,” Gill says, pointing to those around the world who are struggling to get home again after fleeing environmental hazards from drought to flooding. A World Bank report states that by 2050, “over 160 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America may fall within the borders of their countries.”
To increase its commitment to this urgent matter, Gill is donating the proceeds from the sale of the new collection to Structure, an organization that provides permanently minded housing to displaced communities. And she credits friends and people of the structure working in the climate activism sector for environmental issues, personal effects, and how small steps can really make a big difference.
“[This] The subject always scared me, ”she says of the impact of our daily lives on the environment. “It’s hovering over our heads, and can kill us. It’s the scariest thing to think about. And I avoided thinking about it for a long time because there are so many things that you think would change if you So you have to change; it can be very heavy. “
There is so much to be overwhelmed with these days, and Gill says that she is particularly interested in taking the time to process and reflect on the current events of the past year and how to best serve those who need to listen to her voice Is required. “As my platform grew, I tried to grow with it,” she says, based on her activism based on the Black Lives Matter movement and two opportunities to shed light on key events and their implications in India’s anti-farmer protests . Worldwide.
“I realized that if I don’t use my platform to share these stories, then my platform is useless,” she says, as the farmer protests directly affected her family, and the censorship that framed the events Lost them engagement and followers. “If we don’t speak,” she asks fine, “who will?”
Gill also offers his projects as a way to illuminate those close to home that deserve attention, such as the models featured in the imagery of his new collection. “I wanted to pay tribute to BIPOC and AAPI Toronto-based creatives,” she says. “Those who have tried to get out of the worst situation during the epidemic.” The group consists of dancer O’Shaney ‘Ocean’ Cardwell and comedian Norm Alconcel.
And let’s not forget Tuff Banditz’s first collection, Working Class Heroes, inspired by Gill’s father (who also starred in its campaign). In a gentle tribute to his taxi-driving father, the pieces featured graphics such as Punjabi clothes and cab signs.
With all these uplifting ideas continuously flourishing within Gill, anyone would wonder how she manages to cope with the enduring tension and conflict. “I’m still learning that I have to take care of my mental health,” she says. “Being with children every day reminds me of this. I need to be in a place where I can be with them, and not let the negativity affect my students. “
She says she has dug deeply into “healthy self-care” methods from journaling – “It took a long time to get comfortable but I now carry a magazine with me everywhere,” she notes – “grounding practices” Such as prayer and meditation. And she has received a lot of appreciation for therapy sessions. “I tell this especially to people in the South Asian community who are afraid to do it – once you find someone you’re comfortable talking with, [they offer] Outside perspective and they have the knowledge and education to help you. “
Now equipped with such ways to navigate what she discovers about life on personal, professional and communal levels, Gill talks about the future with enthusiasm – especially when it comes to mentioning that she is “Sandy Is hoping to launch a collection based on “Suits”. A look created in collaboration with Brampton, Onts Sahiba Fashions, which Utkarsh Ambudkar wore at the 2020 Oscars, has now moved from a custom-made model to ready-to-wear. “I’m excited to move forward,” she says. But we can be sure that she will not forget where she came from.