Spreading kindness one tee at a time

—Chipera uses fashion to spread the word about Kindness Project
“We were all made to be different, so why is there so much judgement?” — Brittany Chipera, designer


CRESCO - Brittany Chipera of Cresco is passionate about treating everyone the same. To say she is a fighter for the underdog is an understatement.
“I’ve always pushed the limit of society’s ‘norm’ with my hair and clothes, since I was 16,” she said. “I love to express my self these ways even if people have preconceived ideas from my appearance, such as assuming my sexuality because of my choice of style. When in reality, as a mom, I love a 10 minute hairstyle to cut down my time getting ready.”
“It’s 2018, and people are going to be who they’re going to be. Everybody is made to be different.”
Chipera has instilled that same philosophy into her children, Lear Clubb (eight), Lennex Clubb (six) and Laiven Clubb (two).
Be who you want to be, not what society wants you to be.
When he was six, Lear saw a commercial about kids at St. Jude’s who had no hair. He asked about it and decided to grow his hair out so he could donate it.
“People bullied him and told him he’s a girl [because of his long hair]. I said to tell them why you’re doing it.”
He said, “If they don’t want to take the time to ask me, they don’t need to know.”
An eight-year-old gets it. Why can’t everyone?
Spreading the word
Getting her ideals out about accepting everybody for who they are has allowed Chipera to combine her ethics with her career, creating custom clothing with Craft ‘n Chaos. 
She even had her first fashion show in December. But that will be discussed later.
The beginning
Chipera has been making custom clothing, such as birthday shirts and baby clothing, since about 2010.
“This started from a free sewing machine from my mom (Theresa Chipera) and two bandanas. I made a dress.” It just goes to show a person is never too old to follow his or her dreams.
Her clientele has in-creased every year as word has spread about her cute, durable, personal and hand-made creations.
She wants more
Chipera’s mind is always working, looking for ways to expand and spread the word about being kind to one another. She and high school friend Michaela (Bolton) Soderlund, who lives in Eagan, Minn., talk on the phone, sharing ideas and boosting each other up. 
“She feeds off my energy, and I feed off hers,” Chipera explained. The two brainstormed, got Michaela’s husband, Steve,  a humble hobby artist, involved as well and voila . . .Me by CnC was born!
“Me by CnC is a boutique collection of clothing for everyone. The collection reflects the playful nature that all humans have and encourages them to see outside their box. Wearing Me by CnC evokes a conversation about gender nonconforming and how we are privileged to be ourselves,” Chipera added.
“Michaela and I have been having the conversation how people struggle every day. It doesn’t help when you are surrounded by a world full of judgement. I had designed five inspirational slogan tees, and they were working on the characters. She and I bounce ideas all the time.”
The designer noted, “Michaela has the thought process and drops an idea; Steve is getting a mental picture and puts it on paper; and I bring it to life.”
She added she was happy Steve has drawing abilities because “I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life!”
Each of their characters, called Hip Friends, has a back story that deals with mental health. She went on to explain that mental health has many aspects, including dealing with bullying, feeling comfortable being yourself, how the world sees the disabled and more.
Hip Friends is art created for every kid. “Every human struggles, and every human laughs. It’s our similarities that unite, and it’s our kind hearts that will make a difference.
“It’s all about humanity and kind hearts,” Chipera said. “Accept people for who they are. Just be nice.” The designer also stated, “It starts at home. If you don’t make a big deal [out of someone being different], your kids won’t make a big deal. If it doesn’t affect you, then why do you care? We were all made to be different, so why is there so much judgement?”
Some of the slogans Chipera has come up with include “You decide who you are, not society;” “Be You;” and “Don’t take ‘You can’t’ as an answer.” Characters include Peg the Penguin and a rhinoceros, and more friends to come, as they are still being created.
Fashion Show
Chipera and her Me by CnC line was invited to attend the Volk Magazine “A December to Remember” Fashion Show in Minneapolis. She described Minneapolis as a diverse fashion capital. “It was a smaller version of a fashion show you see on TV. They had live models dressed like vintage Barbies who 36666stood like mannequins.”
She was just one of 10 designers invited to strut their stuff! Craft ‘n Chaos was featured in the magazine.
The local entrepreneur was proud to be part of the show. “This was my first ever fashion show, along with coming out as an actual designer. We had some local supporters in the crowd who felt we got one of the loudest applauses of the night. One of the gals who writes for The Volk did a review of the night.” Chipera was afraid to read the review, but was pleased with the positive appraisal of her clothing.
She calls her models the “Super Seven!” They include her two sons, Lear and Lennex, along with locals Hayden Riley (12), Dorian Gosch (13) and Delaney Gosch (12). She also used up-and-coming models she just met, Zane Nora (six) of Minneapolis and Payson Hanson (nine) of Fargo, N.D.
Volk donated $1,500 of the proceeds of the show to Allina Mental Health, a facility located in Minneapolis.
The next show is just being planned now, but Chipera hopes to be part of that as well. Proceeds of that show will go to “Threads for Teens.”
The designer was surprised at the response she received the day after the Dec. 3 fashion show. “I was getting texts and my Instagram was blowing up! Everything changed for me in that 24 hours, and I knew I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing.”
What now?
Chipera has closed her shop on Elm Street but will continue to work out of her house. This will give her more time to work on her new line, but continue to do custom orders, and she can still be reached through Facebook and her website www.craftnchaos.com.
Another word of advice? “Be who you are, and the right people will be in your life!” Words to live by.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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