The Doodle Factory: Fashion with Impact
“For the believers; the ones who stand for humanity, fun, creativity and expression. For those who empower others. The brave who play the way children do. For those who have a bit of fun and give a lot of love,” that is how the two nontraditional visionaries behind the Doodle Factory define their target audience.
While warriors are often expected to be adults who excel at defensive tactics and survival strategies, the champions at the heart of this particular brand are far more inspiring. The home-grown ready to wear and lifestyle label is built around the innocent doodles of exceptional children, who fight for basic human rights every day.
After carving a niche positioning for their notebooks and accessories, Yasmine Khamis and Farah El Masry decided to leap into ready to wear garments with a bold, colorful, and unforgettable debut collection. Called “The Fun, The Brave and The Inspired” – the collection addresses those who do not only stand by the brand’s core principles; but are also willing to wear them out loud.
“When we first started we offered lifestyle products; such as notebooks, laptop cases, and small bags. However, we thought that these products were not enough to eloquently communicate the brand’s concept. We needed something that was used more often and that could deliver a statement in a straightforward manner,” said Khamis.
According to Khamis, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Doodle Factory, they kept brainstorming about how to further develop the brand to carryout their message louder until one of their mentors came up with the suggestion to expand into apparel. “That was a year ago, at the time I was full of doubts; but, I am glad to see that it has all worked out at the end.”
With the slogan for this campaign being wear your heart on your sleeves, buying a piece from this collection is a direct act of support; wholeheartedly, to the extent of wearing it on your clothes. Accordingly, the artists behind the collection’s patterns are both inspiring and outstanding.
As the brand’s co-founder and creative director best describes it, the team’s primary goal is to elaborately express the brand’s value to the market; for people to wear what they believe in proudly. The Doodle Factory stands for believing in humanity, creativity, freedom, seeing possibility in the most unexpected places, and expression. “Our target audience does not share a specific age or background; instead, they share the same beliefs with us and would like to wear them out,” said El Masry, passionately.
“We normally fund health, education, and shelter-related causes. Each collection focuses on one of these pillars.” Khamis added “for this collection we chose to focus on health. While I was still searching for partners I received a call from Yassin Abdelghaffar hospital with a collaboration proposal. I was instantly interested in knowing more. After visiting the hospital and meeting the staff, I knew that their tremendous efforts as a local NGO and hospital deserved support.”
For the brand’s first collection of garments, the designers selected a number of vibrant abstract and floral doodles sketched by kids who fly in the face of Hepatitis C every day. Their colorful paintings were then further developed by the team into statement patterns and finally modern dresses, jackets, and trousers.
With their network of acquaintances who had clothes factories, the two entrepreneurs started developing their first collection of garments. Even though finding mutual understanding and dealing with traditional manufacturers was not easy, the collection took only one year between design and production.
“The challenge has always been how to make the best out of the doodles that we receive. It is a long process of selecting the best elements, colors, and shapes. We create many patterns, then filter them, and select the strongest. At the end, we work towards something that is creative, true to the children’s spontaneity, and still appeal to customers,” said El Masry.
However, expanding into a new product was yet another obstacle to be surpassed, “A lot of the people that we worked with couldn’t fathom the nature of the collection. For example, the dyeing house could not understand why we mixed orange, blue and green.” Khamis added “they also did not welcome our eccentric patterns easily. They kept asking us many times to rethink our designs. At a certain point, they even changed the blue into gray because they thought it would be more appealing.”
According to the brand’s creative director, they were quite confident about these color combinations and how far they would suit the current season. “For example, purple is quite trendy this season; meanwhile, mustard is very fitting for autumn. The blue might not be tradition for the season; yet, we were keen on including a bold element.” Meanwhile, according to their research of international runways and which colors they were embracing, even the blue did not end up being too odd during the current fall/winter season.
Synonymous with the collection’s name, the collection’s ambassadors were carefully selected to represent it. After juggling names of those who can fit the brand and embody the collection’s ethos, the founders chose to involve their social-media followers in the quest. People’s votes chose singer Mirelle Mokhtar for fun, Farida Salem for brave, and Tara Emad was unanimously defined as inspired. “We thought that it would be impossible to reach Tara and bring her on board. Yet, with the help of our PR agent Nesma El Shazly, we got to her,” shared Khamis excitedly.
Looking forward, Khamis intends to focus on making the best out of the brand’s recent expansion into apparel and take baby steps further into the winter before launching their next collection in time for the spring/summer season with a new cause. In parallel, “I hope that we would reach the Middle Eastern market soon since we’re already testing tactics to expand regionally,” concluded the CEO.