THE CHANGE AMONG US: Barnabas Clothing

Founder Alex Aquino sports Barnabas Clothing wear. (Courtesy of Alex Aquino)
A fashion line offers the challenge of letting what you wear influence how you impact others.

We all wear clothes that make a statement—intentional or not. Whether it be casual, designer, sporty, minimalist, or chic, what we wear conveys a message about who we are.  For Barnabas Clothing that message is “to live a life worth imitating.”

Barnabas clothing started in 2010, when CEO and APU alumnus Alex Aquino recognized the need for positive role models and clothing brands in today’s society.

The literal meaning of the name ‘Barnabas’ is “son of encouragement,” and the company strives to encourage in word, deed and lifestyle. The company lives out its message by encouraging others to be a positive influence and generously giving 10 percent of all sales to people affected by HIV/AIDS in Western Kenya.

“I want this to be more than just having a name or a brand,” said Aquino. “I want the brand to be a lifestyle that encourages other people to really stand for positive choices, role modeling and a good message.”

The emphasis on role modeling may be why high profile clients have recognized them in the retail industry. The company has received attention from celebrities—Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Faith Hill, and Alicia Keys all sport Barnabas’ designs.

Although the celebrity publicity is a plus, Aquino explains that the goal of Barnabas is to be a clothing brand that has an impact rather than just exist as another fashion trend. The inspiration came from working in youth ministries and noticing the role of clothing in today’s culture.

“Seeing students, I realized what they wear impacts and influences their lifestyle and their choices, and a lot of that has to do with what kind of brands they follow, “ Aquino said.

According to Aquino, Barnabas challenges us to ask ourselves what our clothing says about who we are and what we stand for, what message we convey and what we aim to represent.

For Barnabas Clothing it’s about asking, “Do you know what you’re wearing?”  It’s about challenging young people to recognize that even what you wear can exude a positive or negative message.

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