Let Love Shine Through: ShockT and Courtney Graham
My friend Courtney Graham is a pretty awesome lady.
Not only is she a lovely yoga instructor.
But she’s also an amazing FASHION designer and the brains and talent behind ShockT.
Her clothes bring yoga and art together, creating fashion that comes straight from her heart.
She’s an inspiration to me. It’s hard to go after what you love and make it into a career and Courtney does just that…without ever losing the very thing that brought her to art and yoga in the first place: connection with others and a desire to make the world a more loving place.
I chatted with Courtney about how she combines her interests and her path to self-expression.
Art has always played a role in Courtney’s life. “Three years ago I moved to China to teach English, and the displacement was a catalyst for a flood of artwork: I began documenting my emotions and experiences through intricate line drawings, not just on paper, but also on walls and on fabric. The *pop!* of the drawings on the plain white fabric really struck me. A friend said to me, ‘You should make lots of shirts like these! Start your own clothing line.’ And I was like, ‘Hmm…'”
|Courtney–wearing her ShockT line and practicing Triangle pose|
Yoga remained an intricate part of Courtney’s art. As she sought for a name, the Hindu Goddess “Shakti” came to her mind. In the Hindu religion and ancient yoga texts, Shakti represents creative power–specifically female creative power. Courtney decided her fashion would be named “ShockT”–a homophone for “Shakti.” She adds, “I changed the spelling so it also implies an element of surprise (‘shock’) that you might experience as you look closer at the hand-drawn designs and discover details in the artwork that you may have overlooked upon first glance; then of course the “T” represents the tanks and tshirts–although I’m pretty sure when I expand my line beyond women’s tops, the name won’t be changing to ‘ShockClothes.’ No, definitely not.
Shakti also symbolizes change, something that Courtney aims to create on a daily basis. Her line is eco-friendly, it is made in the US, and it is regularly shared on the local level. Although you can buy the clothes online (check out http://getshockt.com), Courtney is regularly found spending her time at local Tampa Bay markets, shows/local events, and, of course, teaching yoga. Courtney believes that relationships and community are essential to her brand. In creating a fashion line, Courtney finds she can “reach more people than…with large, solitary pieces of expensive artwork. And its way more fun!” Courtney is especially amazed by all the inspirational people she has met “from yogis to mothers to artists” who all own and wear her clothing.
|Courtney at one of the local Tampa Bay markets|
The yoga. The fashion. At the end of the day, these things are not what make Courtney so inspiring. Courtney aims to use her ShockT clothes to better the world. She believes her clothes “reveal..the interconnectedness of us all, and the power we have to touch others’ lives–good or bad.”
Courtney aims to emphasize the good. The wonder. The love.
Courtney’s clothing line, therefore, takes on a higher call. It becomes more than fabric and artwork stitched together. It becomes fashion that stitches lives together and, perhaps, little by little, helps to stitch the world together and make this place a little brighter.
Courtney says “this ‘power’ to spread a message, which we all possess, should not be taken lightly, and we should use it to spread only the best of what we have within us–which in essence, as yoga as taught me, is Love. I try to infuse my designs, from fabric to style to artwork, with curiosity, playfulness, humor, joy, and fearlessness–all the qualities that let Love shine through.”
Now, more than ever, is it important that we have individuals following their passion, following their self-expression, and going after their dreams to make the world a better place. To share love in a time when it is more common to share hate, to bring lightness to a community–and through the Internet extend that community out into the greater world.
I’m not getting anything for sharing Courtney’s story. This is not a “sponsored” post. I think she is just an amazing and inspirational woman–who also happens to make some pretty fantastic shirts.
I hope that more people take the brave step and go after their dreams–and figure out how to take their dreams and make the world a better place.
As Courtney says, the most important thing is that we all remember to “let Love shine through.”
Love on and share the “ShockT” with your friends!
P.S. I love them all, but I think this is my favorite ShockT shirt 😉 Just in case you were curious… I wear it all the time! 😀