What problem are you out to solve with Alpine Parrot?
The unfortunate reality is that even in 2021, folks who look like me (plus-size and Latina) are ignored in the outdoor industry. I didn’t even think the outdoors was a place I could belong until I was in my late 20s; before then, I thought it was only something that thin white folks did. And then, when I started to discover my outdoor identity, I couldn’t find anything that actually fit me in terms of size, style, or personality. Outdoor apparel feels so serious in addition to exclusive; I felt it was time to fix that. Alpine Parrot’s mission is to create outdoor clothing that encourages and celebrates underrepresented people in the outdoors, namely BIPOC and people of size, while being technical enough to meet their needs.
WHY IS BODY INCLUSIVITY A THING? It baffles me. Some facts: the average size of American women is a size 16/18. 68 percent of American women are a size 14 and up. And yet, only 2.3 percent of clothing made by the top 15,000 brands is available to the plussize market. In this capitalist society, it seems strange that brands don’t think potentially increasing their sales by 200 percent is worth their time. This leaves me to think that either they don’t know or simply don’t want to know these facts, and that can only point to the unfortunate reality that fatphobia and racism (because there’s a correlation between people of color and people of size) are alive and well. Brands don’t want to see different people wearing their clothes (at least, not in their marketing), despite the benefit to the top line. To me, that’s a major issue.
THE PITCH Alpine Parrot An interview with RAQUEL VÈLEZ, she/her,
Founder of Alpine Parrot | @alpineparrot
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT ALPINE PARROT? I want folks to know that Alpine Parrot, as a brand, has been created for the plus-size and BIPOC communities, by the community. We spent most of 2020 working closely with (yet socially distanced from) over 30 fit testers to make sure that the fit of the Ponderosa Pants is dialed and truly meets their needs. Community is one of this brand’s core values (the others are playfulness and adventure), so working with our customers won’t stop with just these pants. As a plus-size woman of color who loves being outside, I created Alpine Parrot out of a need to be seen and heard, and I won’t stop until that happens. We’re going to take flight this spring with a Kickstarter for our first product, the Ponderosa Pant. Anyone who wants to support us can sign up for our newsletter at alpineparrot. com; we want to hit our goal as quickly as possible to prove to the industry that brands like Alpine Parrot are needed and wanted! In the meantime, join us on Instagram at @alpineparrot for a conversation around the places that bring us joy and use the hashtag #HappyPlaceAP to share stories with the Alpine Parrot community.