New clothing line from local student brings attention to mental health

New clothing line from local student brings attention to mental health

Olivia Marcantonio, of North Smithfield, and Kate Silvestri, of Cleveland, Ohio, model sweatshirts and sweatpants from their new clothing line, Radiate Positivity.

NORTH SMITHFIELD – For Olivia Marcantonio of North Smithfield, mental health wasn’t something to keep quiet about.

The junior at Nichols College said she struggled with mental health her whole life and has dealt with anxiety and depression in the past. She and her friend and business partner, Kate Silvestri of Cleveland, Ohio, wanted to find a way to promote positivity and tell others it was OK to focus on taking care of themselves.

So they decided to put it on a sweatshirt.

The two women are the founders of Radiate Positivity, a new clothing line that aims to raise awareness about mental health issues. Their signature pastel-toned loungewear features positive messages, and 10 percent of proceeds are donated to a different mental health-focused organization every month.

“To us, it’s more than a business. It’s more of a lifestyle. It’s helped us grow as people,” said Marcantonio.

They first had the idea when Silvestri, a student at Boston University, was considering applying to an entrepreneurship program. Her plans for the program fell through, but the two friends took the business model she developed and decided to launch it online. They sketched out a logo on a napkin – a bright sun with rays reaching skyward – and Radiate Positivity was born.

Three months later, the company offers a selection of sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts and beanies in their online store. Each color corresponds with a different mental health issue, ranging from depression and eating disorders to suicide prevention. Silvestri said the message has connected with customers, many of whom are dealing with their own struggles.

“I’d say the most rewarding part of it is to see that it means a lot to people. The reviews really hit home for me,” she said.

While founding a business might not seem like the most natural reaction to 2020, Marcantonio and Silvestri said they felt now was the right time. The two friends have kept in touch remotely as they navigate returning to classes and running a business during a pandemic, using Marcantonio’s apartment as their “warehouse” to fill orders.

“With our message, we felt it was something that needed to be out in the world. Because it’s all about radiating that positive energy and getting through those hard times,” said Marcantonio.

The two women hope to continue to grow their business and are working on an athletic line next. The company, they said, is not just a business, but a message they’re trying to get across. To learn more about Radiate Positivity, visit www.radiatepositivity.net .