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Ottawa Catholic School students promote diversity through clothing line launch

Oscar Tango ClothingSeven students from an Ottawa Catholic high school have garnered national attention after launching their own clothing line.

That’s because the seven students have incorporated an inspiring message of diversity and equality into their brand.

Calling the clothing line, Oscar Tango, which is military code for O and T, the St. Joseph High School students have prescribed a message that comes from their original roots from across the world. The students include: Jay Mills, Justin Park, Hassan Hamed, Kristian Toscano, Eric Batali, Melanie Ni-Lan and Kallel Coltess.

Jay said the idea to start their own clothing line started at a friend’s house.

“We’re all into fashion, but realized with the brands we’re wearing, there’s not a special meaning behind it,” he explains. “We wanted to have a clothing line with an inspiring message that represented each of us and show it from our roots and where we’re from.”

That’s when the Oscar Tango brand was born and they adopted the slogan, Diversity Through Design.


Selling hoodies and eventually t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts and hats, the Oscar Tango clothing wear shows the group’s diverse backgrounds as Oscar Tango is written across the back in all their native languages.

The OT acronym stands for both Out of Town and Over Time, and also connects the acronym to their hometown of Ottawa.

“We had to come up with a design. We were inspired by other clothing brands, but their design wasn’t inspiring positivity and diversity,” says Kristian. “We want to show we’re from different roots.”

They worked with a local printer to design the clothing, and since they launched late last year, they’ve received wide support.

“We’ve been getting tons of support as everyone agrees with our idea of diversity,” explains co-founder Hassan. “The school board...has given us opportunities to promote us.”

Oscar Tango Clothing2This includes school principal, Sue Arbour.

“Our principal has been so supportive,” says Hassan. “She’s letting us use the tuck shop where we can sell our products, and she wanted to buy a hoodie. The support has been amazing, and we wouldn’t have these opportunities without everyone else around us.”

Eric adds that their families’ roles are important as well.

“My mom has been a big part of how I’ve been able to get involved in this company. She’s been giving me lots of advice on how to make the company flow better and how to make it work,” Eric says.

The students say they’re learning about the pros and cons of running a business together.

“Our message is about diversity and equality and we have to have that in our business as well. We all respect one another’s opinions,” explains Jay.

The group has been covered by mainstream media and they’re just about to launch their website. To learn more about their line and how to purchase the clothing, you can check them out on Twitter and Instagram or email them at oscar.tango.apparel@gmail.com.  

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