Our team is made up of people who share a passion for the outdoors and want to make it accessible to everyone. We want to amplify the voices of those who are underrepresented and support groups which encourage inclusion and participation in outdoor spaces.
We work with groups which focus on widening inclusion for Black, Asian and ethnic minorities, people with low socio-economic backgrounds and people with disabilities.
I was a city girl until a few years ago, but now you can find me paddling the lakes, running mountains or roller skating by the sea. Cities are multicultural and diverse environments, and working in hospitality, both my colleagues and customers come from all walks of life. After moving to a more rural town, and immersing myself into the outdoor community, I was shocked by the lack of diversity. Surrounding yourself with people of all ethnicities, religions, cultures and backgrounds brings an education and expands the silo of your own creation. Being a part of the Kit Collective team, enables me to support those who facilitate change, and those who break down barriers, so the outdoors can be enjoyed by all.
Unlike many who have grown up in the outdoors from young, I was brought up in a traditional Chinese family that prioritised studying hard, going to university and getting a professional job. What I know now is that getting good grades and going outdoors does not need to be mutually exclusive. Culturally, my family didn’t understand that taking part in outdoor activities helped me develop life-long skills.
People from other backgrounds have different barriers to those that I faced. Collectively we all need to be doing our part to address and break down the barriers that make the outdoors accessible to everyone.
Having tried for some time to make a mark in the outdoor industry to highlight issues around the lack of diversity, I quickly found that it’s difficult to work effectively alone. Kit Collective is a collection of like-minded people passionate about making a difference on diversity and representation in the outdoor industry.
Visual storytelling is powerful. There is so much change that a photographer and filmmaker can make, so the question I asked myself when I started out on this path is: do I want to continue only representing the people who are so often represented, telling the same stories again and again? Or do I work to try and represent the outdoor community how it actually exists – which is diverse.
Kit Collective is a platform for just that – groups, initiatives, team leaders from all kinds of backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions have been in the outdoors for a long time. We just haven't seen them in advertising, in magazines, in sports publications. Putting the kit and the other barriers to the outdoors aside; as a storyteller, I love that these different kinds of stories and experiences are being told and shared to a wider audience, using visual and creative platforms. It's one of the ways we can connect and understand each other as an outdoor community.
I have worked with outdoor brands for the last 5 years as an outdoor influencer, working predominantly with premium brands on campaigns and contract work. I love the outdoors but for a long time I had two families, one that felt most at home outdoors and one that felt the countryside wasn't for them. It's this combination that led me to want to help bring Kit Collective to fruition. Through Kit Collective I want people to experience the outdoors with the confidence and comfort that premium quality kit gives you.
Just over six years ago, I saved up and moved halfway across the world by myself. While I’ve never been the most coordinated or outdoorsy person, I decided to challenge myself and take up whitewater kayaking. I loved how it pushed my boundaries and made me focus entirely on each moment, to be present. Soon after, I started raft guiding at my local whitewater centre – it was great being able to share the stoke! I have now worked in the paddlesports industry for almost five years and have been fortunate enough to meet some incredible people from the outdoor community.
Through Kit Collective, I want to create opportunities for those who don’t feel like they belong in the outdoors. By supporting community groups which create safe and welcoming spaces for people who need it, we can start breaking down some of the existing barriers and share the amazing experiences that can be had outdoors.
Having been someone who didn’t grow up being outdoorsy, it took me until I was an adult to really feel comfortable and confident in nature. Through my biology degree I was fortunate enough to go on field trips and be around people who introduced me to hiking and camping.
Being outdoors and having new adventures is now one of my main hobbies. I've become passionate about advocating for increased accessibility of these experiences, particularly for people who haven’t had the opportunities.
In my job at the British Science Association, I've seen the power that grassroot groups have in supporting their audiences to try out new things first-hand, including outdoor activities.
I got involved in Kit Collective to help more people develop their relationship with the outdoors through the provision of quality kit to grassroot groups working to do just that.