Combining two of my greatest passions, fashion and animal welfare – RE5CUE clothing founders JC Cirese and Madeline Bailey encourage everybody to ‘be the change’. JC told me a little bit more about RE5CUE clothing, the brand where 25% of all profit made from sales goes towards helping rescue animals.
What in particular inspired you to create RE5CUE clothing as a charitable business concept?
Our rescued pups (Bella and Brooks) are the inspiration behind the donation/charitable aspect of our company as well as the fuel for our passion. Our dogs have changed our lives in so many ways- when you adopt an animal its truly like having a child of your own, every decision we make revolves around them and they inspire us to appreciate life in a way that we never did before. Our dogs had endured and survived horrific neglect and abuse from the moment they were born. Brooks (AKA Fish) for example, was rescued from a cruel owner who had her chained to a tree long enough for her collar to become imbedded in her neck. If there weren’t people who worked for/with/supported animal rescues and shelters then our girls (along with hundreds of thousands of brilliant, amazing and loving animals) would have never had a chance at life. We want to give back in anyway we can and through Re5cue we are able to bring awareness, raise money for organizations, and hopefully save the lives of animals in need.
Where do 25% of proceeds from sales go to and what kind of work do these charities do?
We prefer and enjoy working with smaller, more under-funded organizations (animal rescue groups and shelters) because we know that every penny counts. So many shelters are funded, operated, and doing amazing things with little support by people who devote their time and efforts with the simple intention to help animals in need. People don’t realize what goes into operating and running an animal shelter at any level; everything from vet costs to paper towels are a daily necessity. In addition to our sales, we also throw events/pop-up shops around our home town of Kansas City, MO in which 25% of those proceeds (as well as a percentage of the venue sales for that evening) are donated to a local recipient in need. Were expanding that to shelters all over the world for example: we have an online vendor based out of Singapore and through working with them, we discovered that there is actually only ONE animal rescue/shelter in their entire country (which is obviously the reason why we choose them as our recipient).
Do you have a team of designers/where do styles ideas come from?
The RE5CUE team consists solely of Madeline and I – its just us day and night doing everything from event planning, design work, packing orders, corresponding with customers/vendors/and affiliates, to actually personally picking up/rescuing animals around town. I personally do all of the graphic design work as well as the photos, and editing etc.. but all of our designs are created and or have been inspired by life experiences and wanting to see an idea or vision come to life. Some of them have developed from me playing around with integrating two different ideas I would have or be inspired by… whether it was a dog I would see at the park, a neighbourhood cat, or a vintage Chanel ad I would remember seeing as a young kid hanging out at Saks Fifth Ave… all these different experiences, emotional and inspiring animal stories, even arguments between Madeline and I have developed design ideas.
Haha… one of our favorites, The Material Girl, was created after I spent literally weeks working on a Ziggy Stardust inspired graphic called “Kitty Stardust”… I just couldn’t perfect it. Madeline hated it, and at the time I was blowing her off thinking “you’re too young, you can’t appreciate how brilliant David Bowie was! etc” …she wasn’t too entertained because she knew she was right. Looking back at it, the shirt I was trying to create was just nostalgic and for the most part terrible… So as she’s calling me a “diva” and telling me to stop being so “Vogue” and wasting so much time/putting so much energy into a shirt that did NOT work, I threw together a Madonna inspired graphic (trying to antagonize her honestly), tossed some cat ears and whiskers on it, MS Paint style, and laughed as I showed her, “here you go, is this what you wanted?” she stood back, smiled, and said “yep, that’s it!” and the rest is history.
When coming up with designs I really try and challenge myself and what most expect from an “animal rescue themed design”. I just couldn’t imagine making an “I love my rescue pet” shirt and call it a day, not that there is anything wrong with that, but we want to reach out further and hopefully inspire someone who digs the designs or vibe of the line to become aware of the cause, or who knows… get involved by rescuing a pet of their own or volunteering at a shelter. That is what I envisioned when creating the idea of what is now RE5CUE.
Who are you most proud of having support from or to have seen wearing RE5CUE clothing?
I worked in the music industry for over a decade and established close relationships/ bonds with some very notable musicians – to see all those guys actually reaching out to us and supporting our cause on stage has been mind blowing and very humbling! However, we’re so honoured and beyond grateful when anyone wears our threads and supports our cause. Whether it be because of the cause, the graphic, or both, it’s truly inspiring to know people around the world support something so much greater than just a clothing line, but an idea that we can inspire one another to truly be the change in the World we want to see.
How do you plan to push the brand and its work and values in the future?
We continue to push the design envelope and broaden our company in every aspect. Throughout the past few months we’ve seen what RE5CUE has and can become; it’s a lifestyle, a way of living, as we like to call it, “living consciously”. Our ultimate goal is to obviously help animals in need who are living with unfair conditions with underfunded opportunities but we’re also trying to inspire/influence change in society through conscious living – for example – if every company in the world were to give back just 1% of their proceeds to something – anything that they are passionate about (i.e. animals, kids in Africa, art, education programs, etc) we would see drastic and positive changes in our world immediately. We hope to keep consistent growth in our brand, our outreach in the community, as well as the amount of animals we are able to assist not only through our clothing, but also in home goods, kitchenware, jewellery, etc.
Describe what RE5CUE clothing stands for in 3 words:
Animal Conscious Fashion. www.re5cue.com