Fighting bullies with fashion

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MIDDLETOWN - There are many programs ways to raise awareness about bullying, this one is different.

NOBUL Apparel is a site for purchasing snap back hats, hoodies, tee shirts and other items popular with the teen set.  The clothes are emblazoned with a bull’s head, bold lettering, and as company creator Elizabeth Bianco explains, “Nobul is a pun.  It stands for no bullying and nobility,”

Bianco and her partner Frank Longo, both of Middletown, have launched Nobul apparel to fight bullying with fashion.  The young entrepreneurs, who are also girlfriend and boyfriend, shared their personal stories about bullying and talked about how they hope their line of clothes can make a difference:

For Bianco, bullying was a part of her life in middle school, when she was occasionally teased about being butch and about her physical appearance—she identified with more athletic girls, and that came with some mean-spiritedness from the “girly girls.”

Years later, a classmate who was a few years behind Bianco committed suicide because of bullying.  “That’s when it really hit home,” Bianco says, “So we want to equip kids with what they need to face struggles all through their lives.”

Longo says bullying didn’t bother him very much, when he was teased he brushed it off and stayed true to himself, but he had to move from school to school during his childhood, and he quickly learned, “when you’re the new kid, it’s one of two things…you’re either the new cool kid or the not so cool kid.”

On that point, Nobul apparel encourages the so-called “cool kids” to stick up for those being bullied.

Actress and cover girl Carmen Electra gave some of her star-power to the brand when she was photographed in Nobul gear because she believes in the message the clothes stand for.

It goes without saying, bullying isn’t just something that happens in the locker room anymore, it’s happening online on Facebook and kids being mean on their I-Phones and mobile devices, but Nobul apparel also recognizes the internet is a way to fight bullies by allowing victims of bullying to share their stories and find strength in numbers.

“Life is short and the world is so interconnected now,” Longo says, “we need to embrace that interconnectedness.”

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