Fashion designer Jovana Mullins found herself as an art therapy volunteer for adults and children with developmental disabilities after realizing she needed more hands-on community work to feed her spirit.
The people she met—and the art they created—blew her mind.
“Some of the most beautiful art I had ever seen was being produced,” says Jovana. “When I saw this artwork, I thought, this needs to be on clothing–I can see that on a dress. I can see that on a scarf.”
She proposed the idea of a revolutionary women’s ready-to-wear line with custom art-designed fabrics by people with developmental disabilities to her husband Brandon, who instantly took to the idea. He began to build the nuts and bolts of the business model as Jovana sorted out the logistics of getting art in real life onto bolts of couture fabrics.
“We are inspired by the artwork created by people with developmental disabilities,” Jovana says. “Our mission is to provide a voice and a platform, to break down barriers by highlighting their abilities and talents.”
Alivia launched their inaugural collection for Spring 2020, featuring the bold, arresting patterns and colors of William Choi, Allen Li, and Yu Chen, all talented creators with autism. The company is already in talks with other nonprofits for people with disabilities about future collections.
“Within each garment, we want consumers to have a deeper connection to the clothing they wear,” Jovana says.
Every time they wear this garment, it provides positivity, happiness, optimism.
That shows through in the prints—which goes directly back to the individual artist, their personality, and what they represent.”
Alivia’s exquisite, playful lines, vivid patterns, and evocative, saturated color palettes pop with everything that’s wonderful about inclusion and celebrating the unique gifts of people with disabilities. Early sales were through the roof.
“It’s proving that people want to look beyond the disability,” Jovana says. “It’s all about positivity and inclusion.”
And that’s a label we’ll wear anytime.