Flexin’ In My Complexion Clothing Combats Bullying

Meet 12-year-old Kheris Rogers: an extraordinary girl who, with the help of her sister, created her own fashion label at just 10 years old after being bullied for her skin colour.

Kheris Rogers. Photo Credit: Twitter

From 10-year-old school girl to 12-year-old fashion star and CEO, Kheris Rogers debuted her clothing label ­ whose namesake and phrase origin “Flexin’ in my complexion” comes from her grandmother Bettie Pollard – in April 2017. It has since amassed a viral onslaught of enthusiasts in support of its message.

The idea came to fruition after Rogers dealt with a tirade of bullying. Her sister Taylor Pollard, 23, has commented on those hard times by sharing a memory of the words from a then very young Kheris, who wanted to stay in the bath a little while longer in hopes of lightening her skin colour.

The bullying began early in grade school. With just four other African Americans in a predominately white school, a series of racial discrimination incidents began to occur against Rogers. Not just by students but Rogers’ teacher too. That’s when Kheris’ mother, Erika Pollard, realised the toll that was being taken on by Rogers. She decided to move her daughter to a different school in 2013, but the bullying continued. This time colourism was taking place.

As a way of dealing with it all, both the girls used a phrase their grandmother used growing up to lift their spirits when the bullying got them down. With this, the sisters decided to act. In early 2017, Taylor tweeted the first photo of her sister sporting the hashtag “#FlexinInHerComplexion”. It received viral praise and support.

Following that tweet, the idea, born out of the effects of bullying, eventually came about and together the sisters used $100 from their mother to set up a website. They also paid foster child Gabriel, who they knew from their mother’s work, to show them how to screen print the euphemistic saying their grandmother used onto a t-shirt.

Flexin’ In My Complexion Kheris Rogers, Lupita Nyong’o and Lena Waithe. Photo Credit: Roadshowja

The story and design have even made its way to celebrities. Actress Lupita Nyong’o posted a photo to her Instagram account sporting one of the designs and Snoop Dogg wrote a post dedicated to Rogers on his Instagram. She even became New York Harlem Fashion Week’s youngest designer participant ever, and was featured in a Nike ad.

“If someone tells you you’re too young to do what you want to do, I would say not to listen to them. Basically, just go for it because no one can say you can’t do this.”

Not to end it there, Rogers was even host to her own series on SoulPancake “Beyond Bullied”. She used the show to encourage confidence in those affected and instil a strong stance on anti-bullying. No doubt she’ll continue to positively impact people globally in the years to come.

Let us know, in the comments, of any other young person you know who is going out of their way to create positive change.