Our Founders

Stand Up Speak Up Fashion started as a series of conversations between co-founders Karla Stephens-Tolstoy and her son Zachary Tolstoy.  Zach grew up learning about social advocacy and how important it is to look outside your own bubble to see the struggles that are going on around you.  Together, Karla and Zach's passion for spreading the word about social justice and human rights topics lead to the creation of this design brand.

Stand Up Speak Up is about more than just selling clothes.  Each design is about raising awareness on issues that affect teens and young people today.  Zach and Karla wanted a way to unite young people in a way that would both give strength to help people through their own struggles and inspire people to speak out about things that are happening throughout the world.  

One of the causes close to both Karla and Zach's hearts is mental health awareness and working to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues. They believe that everyone should have access to mental health support and are determined to do all that they can to reduce the number of teens and young people who feel helpless and without the support that they need.

Mental Health Training

As of November 2017, Karla and Zach will have completed their training with Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).  ASIST is an intensive, interactive, and practice-dominated course designed to help caregivers recognize and review risk, and intervene to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. It is by far the most widely used, acclaimed and researched suici
de intervention training workshop in the world.

They also are both certified in Mental Health First Aid. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the initial help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. It is an evidence based program for staff and managers, and a proactive step towards building a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. MHFA trained employees will be equipped to recognize and understand the symptoms of mental health problems, including those related to substance use; increase productivity and reduce absenteeism and the pressure on health benefits costs; reduce the stigma around mental illness and create mental wellness within your workplace and provide preventative help for mental health problems developing into more serious states.