Rocky Barnes, a 35-year-old model, influencer and entrepreneur, has launched a unisex adult line and baby collection called The Bright Side.
Barnes, who has 2.1 million followers on Instagram, worked with Hilda Batayneh, executive creative director of Reunited Clothing, to create this direct-to-consumer collection.
The line consists of coordinated unisex separates geared to women, men and babies and was created for holiday gifting. Casual luxe knits and soft drapy loungewear feature in the collection, as well as matching pants and shorts, socks, hats and bathrobes, with coordinating sweaters and bloomers for babies.
The collection is being offered exclusively at thebrightsidebyrockybarnes.com and on Instagram @shopthebrightside.
In an interview with WWD, Barnes said she became acquainted with Reunited over two years ago when she was doing a capsule with them and Express, and that she loved working with Batayneh and her team. In the two years after that, Barnes and her husband had been on the lookout for business partners and met with close to 50 potentials for a collection.
“I’m not a designer, but I have a very clear vision,” said Barnes. In all the meetings, the couple kept going back to how much they loved working with Reunited. “We finally sat down with Hilda and said, ‘why aren’t I doing this with you?'”
This collection marks Barnes’ first time dipping her feet into her own line.
“It’s scary enough to partner with a brand and put your name on something. It’s even scarier to really take that first step out on your own with no one to fall back on,” she said. “Right now we’re starting small and want to try and perfect everything. It’s a total learning process. We’re starting with two seasons this year, and I’m not in any rush to push stuff out, just to push stuff out. I really want to believe in what I’m doing and refine the pieces.”
The Bright Side will do two seasons, the next of which will be in May. Products in the collection are manufactured in China.
“This line is really personal to me,” Barnes said. “Obviously being an influencer, I’m trying and wearing everyone’s stuff. I just really want to wear the stuff that I’m making.”
Barnes started working on this collection at the beginning of the year and had a whole different collection designed. It was more dresses, vintage-inspired, classic and timeless designs. “Obviously with the environment this year, it didn’t feel right to put out that collection. It just felt wrong. I still wanted to move along and get this line going,” she said. So she created an ath-leisure, unisex and loungewear collection.
“That’s all people are wearing right now, and I wanted to do it with my spin on it,” she said. The loungewear pieces have mushroom and bug prints and can be worn inside or outside. “I wanted things that were quirky and fun.”
“I love mixing masculine and feminine,” Barnes added. “My husband, Matt Cooper, is always stealing my clothes when I order oversized and I tend to steal his, so it seems only natural that this collection would focus on comfortable, leisure apparel that we could both wear. And of course, being a new mom, I couldn’t help but create unisex matching sets for babies, as well.” With a dearth of “mommy and me” items for boys and their moms, Barnes said she was excited to include that offering.
Retail prices for The Bright Side collection range from $36 for unisex socks to $268 for sweater robes. Sizes range from XS to L. The babies’ clothing is offered in sizes 3 to 6 months, 6 to 12 months, and 12 to 18 months.
After studying marketing in college, Barnes was signed to a modeling agency after graduation. She has been represented by agencies including Ford, Wilhelmina and One. While shooting campaigns, Barnes said she would throw on her own outfits and take pictures. She became an influencer 10 years ago.
With her own line now, Barnes said she plans to promote the collection on digital media, and hopes that her friends will promote it, too.
She expects the mushroom prints and the knit jogger sets for babies will be bestsellers and says the oversized knit with puff sleeves will also do well. Hangtags for the line are made of plantable seeds — each tag will grow into a different flower and the string can be used as a friendship/charm bracelet.
Reunited is a New York-based private-label company founded about 10 years ago (it launched the Marled brand in 2017). The Bright Side will include 15 styles, and, with different colorways, there are 48 stockkeeping units.