What strikes you first when visiting the Royal Nation website is the vivid storytelling elements.
The children’s clothing brand immediately immerses us into a mythical world complete with a magic kingdom, knights, a queen, king and epic battles. The characters in the story are protected by their “shields” emblazoned on their hoodies. And the best part? This enchanted land is completely run by kids.
“I focused these young characters on what my children have connected with over the years,” said Lauren Hayes, Royal Nation’s founder and CEO. “Growing up, they watched these really interesting heroes in cartoons and the like, so I aimed to pull through those themes, while ensuring they saw themselves in the kids that drive the brand narrative.”
Superhero comics have long been driven by white male characters, and have struggled to represent other groups. Royal Nation says they are looking to close that gap through their epic saga full of tales that are woven into thoughtfully designed apparel. Don’t believe it? Watch the short film to see for yourself.
Hayes, an HBCU grad, said she wanted to ensure the brand encapsulated the layered Black experience, and was intentional about offering a wide spectrum of backgrounds for the characters. For example, one of the brand’s “knights” is described as a scrappy warrior with a heart of gold that sharpened his fighting skills from growing up in a crowded foster home.
“I wanted them to come from different walks of life,” Hayes shared with Essence. “I didn’t want every Black child’s experience to be represented in a monolithic way because we’re incredibly diverse.”
The apparel line is made up of gender-inclusive premium athleisure wear and outerwear. All pieces that even adults will want to wear. That wasn’t by accident.
“When I became a mom, I really thought it would be easier to find elevated clothing for my children but I quickly found that wasn’t the case,’ Hayes said. “A real motivator for launching the line was to ensure my children had something available to them that left them feeling good, while still authentically identifying with the brand. I need them to know they are kings and queens, no matter what the world tells them. ”