who we are

I&I outfitters

Founded in 2016, I&I Outfitters is an experi(mental) health awareness apparel line & community that aims to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding mental illness through storytelling, artist collaborations, and social campaigns.

In Loving Memory of AJ

I&I Outfitters was brought back to life when we lost AJ to suicide in February of 2021. In honor of AJ's life, everyone who has lost a loved one to suicide, and those of us who struggle with mental health, I&I Outfitters was created for you.

The story Behind I&I Outfitters

How it all Started

What started out as an Instagram account in 2016 has organically grown into a clothing line & community that aims to raise awareness about mental health and the stigma surrounding mental illness. Together we get to carry on the legacy of those we have lost through our words and actions of kindness, comfort, and love to those that are struggling in silence. My goal is to create a global community where we can connect, collaborate, and share stories of recovery, relapse, and growth, online and offline.

Battling Depression

The Early Years

After graduating from college, I spent all my free time in local coffee shops working on I&I Outfitters. I would set up camp for 8+ hours at a time researching, designing, collecting stories, writing, and outlining my vision for how I wanted this company to be a living, breathing, evolving offering to the world: a place for us to connect with others and undo the internalized stigma of shame that can come with struggling with our mental health. At the time, I was battling a long season of depression, struggling to find my purpose, and feeling lost. Working on I&I was the one thing that I looked forward to that kept me going...

Prototyping

Among the Greatest

It took a couple of years, but I finally designed my first prototype. The Among the Greatest sweatshirt features a list of 20 famous figures throughout history that have various mental illnesses. From anxiety to addiction and depression, these artists, musicians, actors, writers, philosophers, poets, scientists and athletes have accomplished amazing things, in spite of, and inspired by the challenges they face. If you have a mental illness, you are not alone. You’re one of many, among the greatest.

sharing with others

Building Community

From 2016-2019 I continued to work on I&I Outfitters as a side project. The process of sharing my mental health journey with others helped me shed layers and undo a lot of the internalized stigma and lifelong shame I felt for struggling with my mental health. I made friends from all around the world through this brand, and created exactly what I wanted to create: a welcoming space for us to share our journeys and experiences with mental health. I felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do, and I was ready to move forward...

STEPPING AWAY

Taking a Break

By 2020, my focus had shifted full-time to my yoga teaching schedule. What started out as an Instagram account and an idea to build community around mental health started to feel like it had run its course. I felt like I had proved to myself that I could start something and finish it in its entirety. In reality, I did do this, and I was proud of that, but I stopped when it came to the marketing piece. I wanted to build community, make connections, write, share stories, and learn from others. I wasn't interested in selling clothes, so I set I&I aside and turned my attention toward my teaching career.

in loving memory of AJ

Coming Back Home

On February 6, 2021, my close friend AJ Devin Johnson took his life. He was the kindest, most compassionate, most generously open-hearted person. He could walk into any room and make anyone feel comfortable, loved, and appreciated in his presence, without even trying. I had no idea he was in pain. I decided in that moment that I needed to bring back I&I Outfitters on behalf of and in honor of AJ. I spent the next two months organizing, re-designing the sweatshirts, and hand-shipping everyone's orders across the U.S. 100% of the proceeds went to AJ's family. All the work I do for I&I Outfitters is in honor of AJ. It's for all of us who struggle with mental health, and those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

GIVING BACK

Together Rising

I didn't mention this publicly because I wasn't sure if it would work out... earlier in 2021 I applied for a grant on behalf of Janell, AJ's mom, through Glennon Doyle's non-profit, Together Rising.

I explained AJ's death, how we were rallying around the Johnson family for support. We had raised $2,000 through selling sweatshirts, but I knew that long-term, it wouldn't be enough.

It took several weeks of waiting and wondering, crossing my fingers, checking in to see if we could get some assistance. Late last week they called Janell and offered her a no-strings-attached $15,000 grant to cover the costs of AJ's cremation and 6 months of rent. I have no words!

In continuing support of and gratitude for the work Together Rising does for families around the world, 10% of sales will go directly to this non-profit that supports supports women, families, and children in crisis.

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