When Andrea Browne Taylor of Hyattsville started considering motherhood, she began thinking about diversity in a different way—how it’s represented in products for children. “From toys to clothing, you don’t necessarily see it,” she says. “Even when you see a kid’s cartoon movie, you don’t see so many African-American or Latina princesses.”
So she decided to create T-shirts and onesies aimed at reflecting and empowering children of color. She had a willing partner in her husband, André Taylor, who founded the online clothing company ön.us.tees in 2008. The company—whose name is a play on the phrase ‘on us’—specializes in T-shirts and hoodies with positive messages that “don’t beat you over the head or have too many logos with them,” says Browne Taylor. One design featuring the word ‘love’ with the bars and stars of the DC flag forming the E has been sported by Mayor Muriel Bowser. Other fans of the shirts and hoodies include actor and rapper Common and HBO’s Insecure star Issa Rae.
To bring more diverse options to the children’s clothing market, the couple spun off a sister company, ön.us.kids, in late 2016. Their most popular shirts include one of a brown-skinned girl wearing a crown and another of a PandaMania statue emblazoned with the word ‘love.’ Currently, there are seven designs available exclusively online, which are fitted for newborns through six-year-olds.
The couple—now parents to a three-month-old daughter, Lena, who serves as the company’s unofficial quality control tester—plans to roll out more designs this year and host pop-ups.
“The idea is to be proud of where you’re from and who you are,” says Browne Taylor. “I matter. I count. This applies to me. This is something I can identify with.”