It's not every day that a high school student launches a clothing line as a way to make a positive impact, not profit. The student is Brampton's Youssef Eid, and his company is called Phil Anth — a social enterprise that ACCESS is pleased to be supporting. Fuse Brampton provided Youssef with support and startup funds. ACCESS connected Phil Anth with initial custom orders including Impact Tomorrow and Redwood Studio. Now, Phil Anth will be focusing on growing a unique line of their own.
— ACCESS innovation (@accesscharity) March 22, 2015
The full inspiration behind Phil Anth
As told by founder Youssef Eid
"A couple years ago I went on vacation with my Dad to Aruba. We thought it'd be great to rent a car and explore the country. The trip started off amazing, the scenery, palm trees, happy tourists. Then we got lost and winded up in a small impoverished village. The images I have tucked away in my memory are so vivid: red dirt roads, broken homes, donkeys as transportation, it was exactly what you would see in poverty commercials for charities. The houses were beaten down, made of rock, without windows, no electricity. I couldn't believe it when I saw families, mothers, and their children living inside these homes. Like most when they see poverty, I tried my best to look away, but no matter where I looked in this village, I saw the same conditions.
The rest of my vacation was fine as I tried my best not to think of what I saw. I didn't want it to ruin my vacation but no matter how hard I tried my mental images kept creeping back. So on our flight home from Aruba, the plane started to shake, it felt like nothing at first. Then it happened, the plane fell through the sky for 10 seconds in severe turbulence. I remember VERY clearly passengers floating in the air, their cellphones, I-Pods...all floating. If you've ever watched an episode of Mayday on Discovery channel, the experience was exactly the same. The man sitting beside me held his wife's hand and yelled "we're going to be okay honey" as I sat in my seat, calm. There wasn't time to panic, my thoughts started racing through my mind. All I've accomplished thus far, and then a mental image of the village popped up and stuck. The plane landed with several injured: sprained necks, broken arms, etc. Paramedics were in the airport ready for when the plane landed. I knew I needed to do something about the poverty I saw. For months I thought: what if that plane were to crash? I've always wanted to create impact, but I had no clue what type and how. But after that day in the back of my mind, I knew what I needed to do. It took a couple of months to get over the experience. Then in the summer I contacted the Brampton Entrepreneur Centre and connected with Lisa Rosetti. We sat down a few times and developed the idea together. That was over 6 months ago. Ever since, I've been developing the idea, the products, and the process. That way it's something I can be proud of, and highly effective in terms of impact.
Most ask me why I chose clothing, the truth is, I didn't choose to sell clothing because I love fashion, I chose it because it's visual, and a way to show art on a moving poster: our bodies. I wanted something people could talk about, and putting a story behind it through youth designs with Eclypse, and our concept gives more reason to. I realized we're not in the business of selling shirts, we're in the business of selling stories. At the end of the day I'm not a fashion designer. I've never cared about what I wear. I see this as the start, it's the model of giving through day to day purchases that I'd like to exploit. Imagine going to the supermarket to purchase groceries at the same price, knowing you're changing the world."
Phil Anth is now participating in the City of Brampton's Summer Company program, with funding from the Ontario government.