My arms and heart feel different this week and I have a hunch about why: I got to spend the entirety of my Saturday afternoon holding Haley’s infant nieces at Man Repeller’s event with The Animals Observatory, a fashion brand for children. It was our first-ever community event where kids were encouraged to attend and, after experiencing the pleasure of tiny mannequins dressed to the nines, creative pursuits for all ages, finger food and squeals of laughter, I may or may not attempt to instate a new rule mandating their attendance at all future shindigs henceforth.
One of the tenets in The Animals Observatory’s brand manifesto is, “We will be honest like animals,” which, when I think about it, is exactly how I processed what I wanted to wear as a kid — impulsively, passionately, free of context and based entirely on gut. I wanted to wear chenille because it was soft. I wanted to wear red because my friend was wearing red. I didn’t want to be itchy. I didn’t want to feel hampered in any way by the clothes on my body, but rather the polar opposite: mobile, energized, equipped to jump for joy (or the nearest tree branch, whichever seemed closer). Looking at the aforementioned tiny and incredible well-outfitted mannequins on Saturday, it was clear that The Animals Observatory designs with this in mind. From velvet multi-colored bomber jackets and alligator mascots to tartan overalls and stretchy skirts, each item of clothing is a vessel for cultivating and protecting that joy. Immersing myself in that bubble for a few hours was precisely what I needed to tap into it myself as an adult.
To further facilitate the joy-tapping, self-expressing experience, the event was centered around arts and crafts with a gigantic mural wall ripe for the doodling, a beading station, tote bags to decorate and blank cards plus foam shapes to decorate them with. Click through the slideshow below for a peek at what went down. I’m not usually one to call things adorable, but…holy alligator. It really, really was.