Building a community one person at a time

Building a community one person at a time

Sometimes you have to create what you want to be a part of because nothing else fits the bill. That’s how Allergic Reaction was born.  

Want to hear my story? Let me take you on the journey.  

My name is Akvile. I was born in Lithuania to a half-Lithuanian/half-Russian family. A rather conflicting combo back in the day. If there was ever a don’t sleep with your enemy match, that would have been it. But mum and dad didn’t listen. So here I am – born from rebellion and love.

From the early days, I have been introduced to two different cultures. We spoke Lithuanian as much as we spoke Russian. My mum would read Lithuanian fairytales to me whilst my dad would introduce me to Russian cartoons. We celebrated two Christmases. Sang songs in different languages.

Eastern Europe was a different kind of beast in the 90s. Cold, grey, empty, and poor. My hometown’s greatest achievement back then was the national TV coverage of gangs’ criminal work. You get the vibe. 

Then my parents decided to migrate to Germany. I guess it was the European equivalent to the American Dream. So here we were, trying to integrate into yet another culture. Now we were speaking three languages at home (my friends think we are all mad the way we switch languages mid-conversation) and eating German food for dinner. My parents wanted to fit in, so they told me not to speak Lithuanian outside. I guess they just really badly wanted this to work for us all, but it made little sense to me as a child. I couldn't understand why I couldn't just be myself or why it had to be a secret where I am from.  

Fast forward to 2013, I moved to the UK on my own. Just for some extra spice in my life. 

This chapter has been the hardest one so far, yet also the most rewarding one. It has opened my eyes to the vastness and diversity of our world. So many people, so many cultures, so many perspectives. I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty in our differences and finally accepted that I will always be the odd one out. Not Lithuanian enough for my native country, yet too foreign for my adopted home.  

But I’ve realised that there’s something truly magical about not quite fitting in. It has allowed me to forge my own path, unapologetically celebrate my roots, as tangled as they are, and fully embrace the wonderful blend of culture that has influenced my perspective.  

So, when you see Allergic Reaction, it isn’t just about clothing. This growing community is a celebration of diversity and an invitation to embrace our differences because we are all so damn cool. It is a reminder that each of us has a unique story to tell and your story is worth telling because you never know who might be able to relate to it.  

When I first launched Allergic Reaction, I had my own doubts. What if no one will be able to relate to it? And then messages started coming through. People sharing their own stories and opening up to me – a total stranger they have never met. And in that moment, I felt close to them and their experiences. Even though we went through different journeys, they were also very similar in so many ways. 

So here’s to every person who feels like they don’t really belong anywhere. Now you do because we are building this community one person at a time and you’re part of the family no matter where you come from. 💛🖤 


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