I remember scrolling through TikTok and coming across a video of someone in a black hoodie with an odd, butterfly-like shape in the centre. The green motif captivated my attention and I knew I wasn't the only one with an interest in the apparel. As one does, I scoured the comments for the retailer. This is how I came across Sparkle Apparel Store.
Sparkle Apparel Store's mission is "to help spread mental health awareness and to let everyone know that it will get better." All of their products consist of an empowering, positive affirmation so that whenever their lucky owner reads them, they'll feel uplifted. These messages include "you are loved," "I've been through a lot and I'm not giving up," "it will get better," etc. Imagine the effect of these simple phrases and the addictively soft fabric on the minds of someone going through immense mental health distresses. The power of clothing and language is incredible.
Each month, Sparkle Apparel donates approximately 10% of their revenue to a charity. Some of the organisations they've donated to include:
NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness)
IOCDF (International OCD Foundation)
No Kid Hungry
The Bail Project
The Trevor Project
So why the name 'Sparkle'? When I asked Randy Lopez, the CEO of Sparkle Apparel, he said, "because sparkle is radiant and shines in the Sun. And also because the sparkle emoji is my most used emoji." The name fits the purpose of the brand.
“Everything happens for a reason, as hard as it may seem” - Randy Lopez (CEO of Sparkle Apparel)
Sparkle Apparel was stimulated by its founder's personal experience with severe anxiety, depression and OCD. His journey with mental health began around three years ago when he woke up one morning with negative thoughts abruptly floating around in his head. Before going into his second year of university, he started experiencing sudden panic attacks while he was in the shower. Hurtful thoughts caused him to take longer baths and he wouldn’t come out till he had a positive thought in mind. Things went further downhill when he entered his sophomore year. His panic attacks got worse, he was depressed, and his OCD was affecting him more and more. Things got so bad that he stopped attending classes. Even though he didn’t seek help, he desperately wanted to get better. He would cry on his bed and pray for his suffering to be over. His experience was so terrifying that he felt like he was dying.
One of the hardest decision he ever had to make was whether or not he should take a leave of absence. Eventually, his condition got so direly unbearable that he had no choice but to take a leave of absence and go home. Randy, like many others, received the classic “but you don’t look sad” several times. He had to explain what he was going through very frequently. This process made Randy realise how casual some people's views were on mental health. Today, he uses Sparkle and his podcast "I'm Blooming" to be more vocal about mental health.
Here's the link to "I'm Blooming": https://anchor.fm/randy-lopez7
I highly recommend giving his podcast a listen (especially the eighth episode). I appreciate how honest and raw he is when he discusses his struggles. The world becomes a better place when a person starts living their truth.
After spending nearly a year working on himself, connecting with the world outside and doing better than he had been, Randy returned Sacramento State University for summer classes. However, he quickly found himself in a dark place once again. He decided to return home. He returned to the campus again to take a class. His panic attacks started getting more severe and this time he finally decided to drop out for once and for all.
Randy is a testimony of the phrase ‘it will get better.’ Today he runs a clothing company, a podcast but more importantly, he’s doing fine.
Now, let's talk about Sparkle's latest collab with the TikTok star, Daniel De Aguiar.
"My inspiration was to persuade others to be themselves and to make them realise how brave they are and grateful for their lives" - Daniel De Aguiar
Sparkle Apparel longed to spread positivity during these dark and troubling times through the 'Daniel Collection.' The collection is all about the statement "you are loved." Other themes are "stay strong", "burn bright" and "you are enough." I think that we can all agree on how desperately we and the collection did not disappoint.
Daniel himself was not in the best place when he started working with Sparkle Apparel and sharing this with his audience was initially challenging. But, with time, it made him feel more satisfied with himself, helped him grow and, thankfully, he's doing much better.
With more than 950,000 on TikTok and close to 90,000 on Instagram, it's fair to say that Daniel has amassed quiet the following on social media. These figures may seem impressive but they come with a toll. Luckily, fame hasn't affected Daniel's mental health a lot. You'd think that hate comments would take dent his mental health but instead, they've helped him gain confidence. Daniel is smart enough to not let the haters that hide behind a screen affect him. If you're familiar with his account, you'll know how confident he is when he's dancing and the amazing way he deals with internet trolls. He uses his account to persuade others to remain authentic to themselves and not care about what people say about them. One of Daniel's biggest pet peeves is when influencers change their personality after gaining fame. According to him, influencers should show the world who they are not be what the others want them to be. "Of course, people are going to see your life," he says. "But most of the time, as an influencer, you shouldn't change who you are."
I love the black hoodies and how touching the collection is. I especially like how they have incorporated animals, sunflowers and fire in all the pieces from the collection. By the time you're reading this, the collection won't be available anymore but please check out what else Sparkle Apparel has to offer and do support them.
Sparkle Apparel Store's website: https://www.sparkleapparelstore.com
Check out Sparkle Apparel Store on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sparkleapparelstore/
Huge thank you to Sparkle Apparel Store and Daniel De Aguiar for their help.
-by Rayansh Singh