Artist Spotlight: Samantha Flucht

Samantha Flucht, a 2023 Kent State alumna, is the owner and creator of the brand, Sammy Whammy’s, which focuses on children’s clothing. She described her brand as being “a gender-inclusive, sweatshop free, made to be handed down kid’s clothing company.” 

Additionally, Sam aims to maintain bright and colorful clothing that also adds whimsy and excitement to any child’s wardrobe. She has recently released her new collection, “Buggin’ Out.”

Q: What is Buggin’ Out?

A: Buggin’ Out is an autumn/winter collection based on four different bugs that hopes to inspire kids to explore.

Q: Can you talk a bit about the inspiration behind Buggin’ Out?

A: All of my clothing uses quilting techniques- appliqué, visible stitching and color-blocking/patchworking, so my collections always start with those ideas in mind. 

I wanted to choose a broad theme that I could do a lot with and that felt like a child would want to wear it. I figured that every child has a big bug phase where they are interested in the worms on the ground after it rains and collecting bugs into Tupperware containers to look at. I was hoping that they might see their favorite bug in my collection or discover a new one. 

Connecting back to my style of subtle quilting that I incorporate into my garments, I knew I could make really nice appliqués of bugs interacting. I pictured the idea of decorative stitching tracing out lines to represent where bugs had just flown from. 

Q: Why did you design a gender-neutral clothing line for kids?

A: I think gender-neutral kids clothing is important. I don’t think that kids should be pressured into gender normalities, and clothing is their first large pressure. 

As I’ve started this business and worked with different kids, it seems that those societal pressures start around age 5 or 6. It seems then they know what they “should or shouldn’t” be wearing, silhouette and color wise. 

I want to be so clear that I’m not blaming the parents here. All the parents I’ve worked with have been wonderfully open, it really is things like media, other adults and other children teaching them these things.

 At two years old, separate boys and girls sections start making kids’ clothing differently. Girl’s t-shirts are two inches shorter than boys’ shirts, girls’ shorts are shorter and colors are separated for everyone. 

Gender-neutral clothing eliminates those differences. A gender-neutral shopping experience eliminates gendered sections, instead sorting by silhouette. I do want to say that while garment sorted shopping is great, I do aim for gender-neutral design. I create clothing that combines traditionally gendered elements together- if I use a pink, I use a blue, if I use a butterfly, I use a beetle as well.

Since I feel that clothing is the first way kids are told about gendered norms, eliminating gendered clothing would remove the pressure to identify on a binary, never wear or do anything that is off of that binary and a fear to explore. 

When I worked in store for another children’s clothing company, a woman came in asking if we had anything purple because that’s her daughter’s favorite color. We didn’t. The designs were very blue for boys, pink for girls. 

When I started my photoshoots a four year old girl named Evie came in and, when picking out her outfit, told me that she wanted this specific one because it was green and that was her favorite color. When clothing is in traditional gender norms, not a lot of little girls whose favorite color is green get to wear it. 

Q: Can you explain more about the bugs and why you chose them?

A: I wanted the bugs to be based off of real bugs and different from the ones traditionally used in kidswear. I’m very color minded so I wanted ones that worked well together as a color palette. 

I wanted kids to either find their favorite bug on the clothing or discover a new favorite. I landed on the blue Morpho butterfly, the garden tiger moth, the spotted flower chafer beetle and the leaf beetle. 

My main color palette ended up being blue, green, orange and brown with a hot pink because I felt it needed another warm color. I sell these little sticker packs as well that have a sticker of the bug, as well as a fun fact trading card, with the idea that kids can actually learn while wearing their clothing.

Check out this collection and any of her other new and upcoming work on her instagram or website.

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