A former Edge Hill University student is helping to fight gender stereotyping in the fashion industry after launching his own clothing brand.
Joshua Griffin, 27, has launched inclusive fashion label Joshua Lloyd in a bid to offer the LGBTQ+ community a greater variety of gender-neutral clothing.
Joshua, from Newton-with-Scales, near Blackpool, studied his Master’s in Cyber Security and IT Management at Edge Hill and has used these skills to launch his online business.
The inspiration behind the brand came from friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community who shared their frustrations about the lack of inclusive clothing and larger sizes generally.
Joshua said: “As a straight ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I would often hear stories from friends and family about how difficult it was to find gender-neutral clothing. This got me thinking about how I could help to create a safe space online for the community to shop.
“As a bigger person myself, I’d struggled for a long time to find stylish clothing with a larger fit. Even though many brands are now recognising this issue and are expanding their plus size offering, there remain few brands that provide inclusive fashion for all body types.”
Joshua now leads a team of 15 designers, manufacturers and brand ambassadors across the globe, offering more than 300 gender-neutral products.
The brand has recently been named as an official corporate partner of national charity the LGBT Foundation, which will see 10 per cent of all net proceeds being donated to the charity.
He said: “The community has remained strong throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and we recognised there was a need for us to shake the whole marketing strategy up and instead of trying to boost our sales when money was tight for our customers, we decided to focus on trying to make sure the mental health of our community was supported.
“That’s why being a corporate partner of the LGBT Foundation is so important to us, because it means we will be able to direct our customers to the right support services if they may need them.”
Joshua believes his time at Edge Hill provided him with the skills and confidence to start his own business.
He said: “The discipline of University life, understanding how to manage your time effectively and to meet deadlines, has been invaluable in helping me to build the brand to where it is today. I learned from some fantastic mentors who were always on hand to help when I needed support.
“As a young business, it’s difficult to judge the full impact of the pandemic right now. Lockdown meant that more people were spending time online and on social media to connect with their friends and family and, through this, we have been able to significantly enhance our brand and online presence and hopefully we can continue to build on this.”
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