Ella and Teri Macduff/ Credit: Samantha Yanofsky

In relationships, red flags signal harmful behaviors. But the Needham mother-daughter team of Teri and Ella Macduff is using red flags to give people an opportunity to find personal growth. 

Inspired by their own experiences, they created a clothing line called Chasing Red Flags with the tagline “where being real outshines being perfect,” to alert people to notice behavioral red flags — by wearing them. 

“I’ve had a few pretty bad friend breakups as well as a pretty unhealthy relationship and [Teri’s] mantra to me was always ‘Ella,why are you chasing red flags?’ and I just said, ‘Because everyone has them.’” 

From there the idea took off. Ella, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, recalled spending an eight-hour summer road trip with her mom discussing the brand, its mission statement, and how much they wanted to make an impact on people.

“We are redefining the red flag to empower people to embrace their imperfections and flaws because no one is perfect. We create apparel with the red flag logo on it so people can physically wear their red flags and be OK with their imperfections and be confident in who they are,” said Teri.

For Ella and Teri, Chasing Red Flags is more than just a clothing brand; it’s a movement and community aimed at addressing mental health head-on. 

“I think that there is an epidemic right now in society,” said Teri. “One in three 18-24-year-olds have had a mental health issue. By that it could just be one panic attack, or it could be an anxiety disorder.  … There’s a lot of medication and there’s a lot of treatment, but what Ella and I are trying to do is prevention,” she said. 

To help combat the problem, 10% of CRF’s profits go directly to mental health charities. Their apparel includes T-shirts, hoodies, hats and socks featuring their signature sayings: “How red will you go?,” “Chaser,” and of course, red flags. 

The duo loves working together, explaining how it’s only made them closer. “My mom is my best friend, and with all of the struggles that I’ve been through she’s been the one person that’s been there for me the entire time, and I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else,” said Ella.

Teri agrees. “All in all we are both here to make an impact and make a difference in other people’s lives. For Ella to find her voice right now has been incredible for her, but more incredible for me. I am so proud of her.”

In addition to the clothing for Chasing Red Flags, Ella and Teri plan to launch a podcast this summer featuring real-life stories and struggles with a mother-daughter perspective —red flags and all.

Visit Chasing Red Flags to view products.

Brooke Alessi and Rachel Zhong are Boston University journalism students.

 Save as PDF

Click here to go Home