The latest designs call back to his ‘Roll Against Cancer’ initiative, a 12-hour Jiu Jitsu roll that brought together the local community to raise funds for cancer research.
With a little bit of coordination, it’s amazing what we can achieve when we come together. For Torquay local Ryan Gibson, the ability to inspire a community and get them behind a good cause is something that comes naturally.
Earlier this year, Ryan hosted the first annual Roll Against Cancer (RAC) event at DC Jiu Jitsu academy in South Geelong. Inspired by his late grandfather, Djohan Effendi, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the 12-hour Jiu Jitsu roll brought together the local community to share knowledge and raise funds for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation (ACRF).
“My Grandpa was such an influential person, and I wanted to be able to pay an homage to him and help as many people as possible.” He says.
The event was supported by two local businesses, Rex & Ross Barbershop and Geelong West Social Club (GWSC), whom Ryan visits frequently for “the best coffee and bagels in town”. He describes their support as a “full-circle moment” and is grateful for their symbiotic relationship.
“They continuously supported me, got the word out there on their socials and went above and beyond to help make [RAC] larger and more special than I ever could have imagined.”
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As a follow-up to the success of the first RAC, Ryan is building on his vision by bringing together two of his biggest passions; Jiu Jitsu and fashion.
A new line of clothing influenced by RAC is set to be released under Ryan’s independent fashion label ‘CAULIFLOWER’, which he started back in March of 2020. After its first drop landed in September, Ryan has been eager to expand the collection, and this collaboration is the natural next step in the brand’s journey.
“I knew very early on with Cauliflower I would always give back to charities/foundations of some sort.” He says. “The RAC merch is a way to highlight local creatives, showcasing their talent and artistry whilst raising funds for the ACRF.”
The collection is a collaborative effort between the team at Cauliflower and three local designers from across Victoria. There are four new designs in total, each contributing to an overall theme of togetherness, unity and the importance of community in overcoming hardship.
“Each design is special and unique, with their own personal flavour and creative presence. The four designs showcase the results of uniting and coming together for a great cause.”
The idea for Cauliflower stemmed from Ryan’s experiences travelling overseas, particularly across Japan and New York. Over the course of his travels, he developed his own taste in fashion and streetwear, as well as an appreciation for high-quality garments that are built to last.
“My mind acted like a sponge. It opened my eyes to design and the process which is required to create.”
Ryan draws parallels between the tatami mat used in Jiu Jitsu and the textiles used in Cauliflower – both are a canvas upon which he can pay homage to his passions.
“Cauliflower originally came to fruition when my love for fashion; particularly streetwear, and Jiu Jitsu collided. Infusing my own personal taste with high-quality garments resulted in the creation of my own take on streetwear.”
The team at Cauliflower is small, consisting of just two people: Ryan as founder and creative director, and Georgie Favaloro as the sole designer. While the first drop took a more minimalist approach, Ryan and Georgie are keen to include more complex designs moving forward.
“The business is still relatively young… we’re rookies in a sense! However, we are eager to make changes around us and produce original and meaningful work.”
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100% of proceeds from the new collection will go towards the ACRF, a charity that Ryan dedicated a lot of thought to including. He wanted to make sure the charity he picked was as open and transparent as possible, and on top of that, he wanted something local so that the difference he made hit closer to home.
“The biggest part of this whole event preparation was choosing a charity that I connected with.” He says. “I love that the ACRF really focuses on not just providing short-term solutions, but on investing in themselves to develop and further benefit our community and those affected.”
Giving back is something that defines Ryan as a proud Australian, Indonesian, and Muslim. Growing up in a traditional Indonesian and Muslim household, he has always understood the importance of providing for those who are less fortunate and being grateful for what you have.
“I live by two mottos; these two mantras work as underlying themes and are always at the core of Cauliflower in all capacities.
The first is an Indonesian motto ‘Bhinekka Tunggal Ika’ or ‘Unity in Diversity’. This is something that I keep in mind and carry with me through everything that I do, especially creatively with Cauliflower. The second, ‘Local & Proud’, comes down to seeing the importance in utilising those around you, closer to home rather than neglecting the amazing individuals around us.”
Ryan’s efforts have so far raised over $4000, with an end goal of $5000 within reach. As driven as he is to help others, he wants to influence as many people as possible to do what they can to give back.
“We would love to continue to raise more funds and I feel that the tees are the best way to do so. You get an amazing tee that has been locally created and locally printed and you will also be raising money for cancer research.”
He hopes the collection shows that no matter who you are, you can make a difference – the most important thing is making a conscious effort to do good at any given opportunity.
“Small changes only feel small when you act alone. But when the community manoeuvres as one, these small changes all shape up to make a larger impact.”
Be a part of the final push to hit the $5000 goal!