Interview of Brittany and Johanna by Kacey Clark
Sisters Brittany and Johanna Cosgrove cannot keep quiet, and their clothing brand NOPESISTERS is helping people to raise their voices as well. NOPESISTERS features sustainable, ethically-sourced casual wear with slogans such as “Propety of Me” and “Period”, that not only shatter stigma around difficult conversations but also directly benefit the causes they raise awareness for. They are partnered with organizations such as the Breast Cancer Foundation, Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation, Sustainable Coastlines, and the Eating Disorder Association of New Zealand. I reached out to them to ask them more about their work and what’s coming up for them.
Hi Brittany and Johanna! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with Ramona. Your brand projects such powerful and impactful messages in a time in which we desperately need to hear them. What inspired you to start making “dope stuff for a good cause”?
We definitely fell into the social enterprise fashion world accidentally, but I think in today’s social climate a majority of people want to do their part to fight against injustice and we just found our place to fight. I love fashion and I’m a very creative person so being able to combine doing what I love and speaking up against things that are important to me, is what drives me to keep doing what I’m doing.
We knew right from the beginning that we wanted to use our t-shirts to promote conversations that we believe need to be happening and that we wanted to partner with charities that are doing the important on the ground work to support people in need.
I love how the design of each of your items is so simple and minimal, which somehow makes the message even more impactful. What inspires you in terms of aesthetics and design?
I think it’s important to create versatile, everyday clothing and I want our tees to be able to be styled however you want. That’s why I try to keep them as minimalist as possible . Also I’m definitely someone whose style changes a bit as the mood takes me, so I wanted the tees to be able to blend with many aesthetics.
I’m definitely a fan of bold statement pieces that you can dress up or down. My wardrobe is monochromatic heavy which I think is reflected in our designs. I’m inspired by my friends and the things I see people wearing everyday as well as the 60’s and 80’s – both of these eras had really extra vibe with a relatively simple execution which is on par for Nopesisters.
You work with so many amazing foundations that support such vital causes. Tell us a bit about how you’ve worked with these partners so far in your creative careers.
Working with our partner charities has been really amazing, especially the ones who are local to us, as we get to see what tangible hard work goes in on the ground floor, and it is always a solid motivation to grow, and keep doing what we’re doing.
Each t-shirt that we make donates a percentage of profits to a corresponding charity partner. The t-shirt also exists to promote further essential discussion and awareness around the issue that particular charity supports. At the moment we are working with The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation, Eating Disorder Association NZ, Youthline, Sexual Abuse Help Wellington and Auckland, Sustainable Coastlines and the Wa Collective.
Your jobs require you to talk about a lot of difficult and heavy topics. How do you practice self care?
I find it has been helpful to me to make sure that I have time completely removed from work. This is hard because when it’s your business you eat sleep and breathe it, and it’s hard to catch a break. But taking time to talk about anything other than work and just removing your brain from work mode really helps.
I am lucky that I have an incredible community of emotional support around me. I think self care is a lot more than a face mask and some chocolate so for me it’s really important to keep a routine that involves recharging, reflection and boundary setting ie: its ok to say no sometimes and it’s also just as valid to give yourself space to rest if something is becoming too overwhelming.
Is there anyone who has been especially inspiring for you in the making of NOPE SISTERS?
Friends and family
The survivors and people affected every day by the causes that we advocate for.
I’m so excited to see where this journey takes you and its impact on the causes you fight for! What’s next for NOPE SISTERS?
I can never be too sure on what the future holds for Nope sisters. You never know what’s going to spark inspiration for new ideas . We will definitely be working on more upcycled pieces and capsule collections but as for everything else there’s a lot of ideas at the moment and I don’t want to jinx anything in case they don’t work out ya know
Watch this space!
How can we keep up to date and follow your work?
Brittany & Johanna: We have an online store here with our story www.nopesisters.com