Former Grimshaw resident Brant Cartwright is set to make a difference in the world, one hoodie at a time.
The young entrepreneur is set to make a difference for individuals with disabilities, as he’s designed a clothing line that promotes inclusivity for all.
Like all young university students, when his post-secondary tenure was about to be completed, he was unsure of what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He says he brainstormed ideas to nurture his goal of becoming an entrepreneur and fostered the creation of Inclusive Clothing, a business he is both the founder and sole proprietor.
But what triggered the creation of this business is what is truly inspirational and heartwarming.
“In order to help guide my entrepreneurial journey, I looked at social media and the fashion industry and realized that I never saw individuals who looked like my brother Riley, who was born with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (also known as PDD-NOS),” he says.
“When I reflected on my relationship with my brother, I realized that our world has yet to properly support and embrace all types of abilities, despite everyone deserving equal opportunities. That is how Inclusive Clothing came into fruition.”
Cartwright explains the purpose behind Inclusive Clothing is to empower others (companies, individuals, media outlets), to provide more representation of a company that can provide so much for us in this world.
“I wanted to create a sense of community with Inclusive Clothing to inspire others to embrace their differences and realize that those differences are what make us stronger as a community,” he explains.
“From a clothing standpoint, I wanted to create a brand that is for everyone, while keeping in mind that individuals in the disabled community struggle finding sensory-free and adaptive clothing. Starting out, I created merchandise to get my name out there and build the brand, but in the future, my mission is to create sensory-friendly clothing from the ground up using sustainable materials, create an adaptive clothing line, and eventually open up a brick-and-mortar store to create employment opportunities for individuals living with disabilities.”
Impressively, Cartwright is donating five per cent of the company’s profits to different organizations that support the disabled community.
He says that when creating or using materials, the company focuses on items that have limited impact on the environment.
“We have decided to only create products that are made to order and only sourcing garments that are made ethically,” he explains.
“By doing that, we are reducing the amount of air miles that the product has to travel, and we are also not wasting materials or stock. I am also in the process of creating our garments from the ground up so I can ensure we are using recycled materials and are being mindful of where and how our products are manufactured.”
Cartwright says he sources clothing from manufacturers who align with his company’s values and commitment to the environment. He is also committed to not purchasing any items that are made outside of North America.
“I am looking to scale the company and have been on the search for support with graphic design, clothing design and website design,” he explains.
“It is very difficult to fund these areas when you are a sole proprietor.”
Cartwright says he currently lives in Vancouver and the company is currently solely online. His goal is to expand his business to opening a storefront so he can provide employment opportunities for all individuals.
“Every aspect of this business is in support of people living with disabilities,” Cartwright says. “In all of my photoshoots, I work with youth and adults with diverse needs, I donate a portion of our profits to organizations that are supporting the disabled community, and I intend on creating clothing that is adjusted to meet the needs of people living with various conditions.”
He not only is focusing on making a clothing line that focuses on all walks of life, but he also wants to empower other people and businesses to do the same.
“When we promote inclusivity, we are ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected,” he says.
“I believe that this can help reduce social stigma and discrimination that still exists towards people with exceptionalities. I also wanted to address the market gap for clothing that accommodates people with disabilities,” he adds.
He says the clothing line celebrates our differences, with a goal of making the world a safer and happier place for everyone.
“By creating a clothing line that addresses this gap, we can offer a solution to a problem that many people face,” Cartwright says.
“By creating a clothing line that supports everyone’s differences helps promote this message and it can also help promote self-expression and allow individuals to feel confident and comfortable in their own skin. Isn’t that what everyone deserves in life?”
Cartwright grew up on a farm outside of Dixonville with his parents and seven siblings. He explains his dad was a cattle and grain farmer who owns 1,600 acres of land, and the children were raised to be farmers.
“I attended school through elementary and middle school at Holy Family Catholic School in Grimshaw,” he says. “In Grade 3, my family and I moved into Grimshaw. I attended Glenmary High School for Grades 10 to 12.”
Cartwright started his post-secondary education at Grande Prairie Regional College (Northwestern
Polytechnic) for two years.
“During my time there, I played for their men’s volleyball team (GPRC Wolves),” he says. “After the end of my second semester of college volleyball, I knew that I needed more than what my program and volleyball was offering me at GPRC, so I decided to connect with the coach at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, BC. In September of 2018, I made the decision to move to Nanaimo and compete for the VIU Mariners men’s volleyball team and continue my degree.”
He graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Education degree from Vancouver Island University. Although he lives 16 hours away from family and friends in Grimshaw, he says the community is what has inspired him to be kind, patient and compassionate. He says relationships with Riley, his friends Courtney, Mikaela and Morgan (who are featured on his website) is what led him to be so driven to try to make the world more inclusive.
The incredibly inspired, driven and considerate Cartwright says he would like to leave one final thought with people reading about his journey.
“Creating an inclusive environment for people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do, but it also benefits everyone,” Cartwright says.
“By recognizing and accommodating the diverse needs of individuals with disabilities, we create a society that is more accepting, tolerant, and understanding. Inclusion allows people with disabilities to fully participate in society, contribute their unique perspectives and talents, and live fulfilling lives. You’re invited to join in on the movement.”
If you would like to check out Cartwright’s website, please visit www.inclusiveclothing.ca.