We Chatted With The Birds Papaya About Her Varsity Jacket Collab With Hilary MacMillan

April 12, 2021

We like nothing better, fashion wise, than a collab with a body positive spin! Internationally renowned Canadian designer Hilary MacMillan has teamed up with body confidence digital creator Sarah Nicole Landry, perhaps best known as The Birds Papaya, on a limited-edition capsule consisting of a custom “Not Made to be Subtle” varsity jacket in Papaya pink and jet black that launches exclusively online on April 19. We chatted with the co-creators about their stylish partnership, which we’re sure is going to sell out fast! —Vita Daily

Q&A With Designer Hilary MacMillan

Congrats on your new collab with Sarah Nicole Landry! Why was Sarah the perfect person to partner with on this project?

Thanks! We are really excited and can’t wait to launch it. In my mind, Sarah was the perfect choice for a collaboration as she is so unapologetically herself in a way that’s honest, yet stands up to a realness we all face when meeting daily life. Sarah has worked very hard to build a community that values body positivity and having pride in oneself. I really admire that. Our varsity jackets have always been rooted in sparking dialogue and shedding light on issues that empower others to talk about the what they face. Sarah shares perfectly in that experience. She is an amazing friend of the brand and a fellow Canadian. We are so proud to work with her.

What does the capsule include?

The capsule includes three limited-edition jackets designed by Sarah and myself. Each jacket features the words “Not Made to be Subtle” on the back and is available in three styles. First is our Papaya Pink adult varsity jacket, with light pink block lettering and traditional vegan leather and vegan melton wool. Second is a classic black, full vegan leather adult varsity jacket with white block lettering. Finally and the cutest of all, is a baby/kids jacket in that same Papaya Pink to match the adult jacket. Additionally, we have rounded out the limited-edition Birds Papaya release with fiuve of our own brand-new jackets, whereby we reimagined three of our bestsellers and added two never-before-seen styles. The updated classics feature: “Don’t Tell me to Smile,” “Feminist” and “GRL PWR”. The new styles feature: “Femme Fatale” in burgundy and “Hearts on your Sleeve” in all black with red embroidered hearts on each elbow.

What is the message behind the fashion?

Fashion in my mind has always been personal; it is how you project your image and mood onto the world. Just like anything that has exposure, it can be used to create awareness and spark conversations. The varsity collection was always made with that intention. It is also a vehicle for giving back to two amazing organizations: Up With Women and Black Women In Motion.

What does Not Made to be Subtle mean to you, personally?

To me it means to live out loud. Be outspoken whether it is through social media, your art, your writing or in conversations with family or friends. Follow your passions, live authentically and don’t be subtle about what’s important to you in this life.

Q&A With Sarah Nicole Landry

Why was Hilary the perfect person to partner with on this project?

I found Hilary via social media years ago and fell in love with her jackets. At the time, there wasn’t a lot of push for inclusive sizing like we see today, and I remember thinking how cool it was that a smaller brand could put in that work. Later I met her at a pop-up event and got my first jacket! It feels full circle.

What is the message behind the fashion?

What I love about HM varsity jackets is that they make a statement. My first jacket from her said, “Don’t tell me to smile.” It’s fashion and feminism and, let’s be honest, very Instagram-worthy! The message intertwined with fashion, believe it or not, kind of makes you WEAR the statement, not just physically in a jacket form, but with the version of yourself you bring to the world that day.

What does Not Made to be Subtle mean to you, personally?

This last year (and TBH my whole life) I’ve struggled with my voice, my body, my health and more. I was constantly minimizing myself. I wanted this jacket to reflect what I and so many needed to hear. When one day, I was scrolling along and found this saying, “Not made to be subtle,” I just knew that was it. This was the message I wanted to tell myself. Tell my children. Tell my friends. And let’s make freaking jackets out of it.


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