Exploring ‘Hands’ by Nylo B.M.

When I first came across ‘Hands’, I was staring at a beautifully put together Vimeo of Nylo displaying her own hands as a symbol of life, there was routine and familiarity in the actions within the short visual, lit vibrantly with colour. It was reflective of the symbolism within the book. “Daily practice and daily routines, that’s what the book is for me” - the concept for the video fed directly as inspiration for the title of the book, Nylo’s very first to be published. The pieces are a timeline of Nylo’s thoughts over the past couple of years, giving a painfully honest insight into the mind of a young women just like me or you, struggling with mental health, love, loss, self worth, and all that life brings you as you grow. 

As a child living in North London, Nylo found writing through therapy after her father’s death, she was told to write down her emotions to try and unravel the anger she so often felt. “I guess it was easier to talk about boys, so at first it was like ooo I think this guy is so cute haha, but I was very observant, so I wrote about the feelings and situations I would see but wouldn’t feel and then I started writing music because I did music for a bit in school, so I was writing songs, then I just thought fuck that and started writing a diary.” Perhaps there was something instinctively connective for Nylo in the form of a diary as she knew her mother kept one and her father was somewhat of a writer, which she gathered through all the cards her Mum had kept from him. Whatever it was, writing a diary became a part of Nylo’s life and a healthy way for her to unravel her thoughts. “It was just a hobby, like if I don’t write after a week I feel really congested and then once I get it all down it’s like woo, I can breathe, […] I wouldn’t even realise how I felt until I wrote it down and then it’s like ahh, okay, now I can articulate myself in such a different way by writing and if you don’t have anyone to talk to and don’t have any vices it’s another way of getting that out, like I had stopped writing music and I wasn’t painting so it worked”.

Nylo B.M. shot by thursday.
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What inspired you to create ‘Hands’? 

“I went from showing one person who knows me in a very intimate way, to having an exhibition. After the exhibition, I deliberated another show but I decided on a book, holding nothing back and to pour myself into that.”

How would you describe the book to someone about to read it? 

“It’s a personal journey of lifting myself up, love - learning to love, be in love and loving myself. It’s very raw and real. It’s a process and I’m still learning.”

You speak of love almost as a saviour. What is it about that emotion that has us so obsessed do you think, as it is one of the most famous topics within art? 

“I chose to throw myself into love, it was a dangerous decision but I’m so grateful because I learned to love and accept love. It’s a very sacred and special thing to experience.”

Hands is very personal. Was there anything you felt hesitant to include? How important was it for you to be transparent? 

“Of course! I didn’t want to include a lot of my sadness because I go to a really dark place, it’s not easy for me to read some of those words back. There was a lot of stuff about my personal relationships that I didn’t want to include but I got reminded that if I do this I have to be completely honest because someone else may feel the same way. I can’t include my highs and not my lows. Even my highs were quite hard for me to include because I didn’t know how hard I loved till I wrote it. That’s when I was like shiiiit haha.”

I can only imagine how scary it must be to lay yourself bare the way that Nylo does in ‘Hands’, which is why the pieces are so pivotal - none of it was ever written in order to be read, they were just her way of getting things down, so to open a door into your true thoughts and feelings is an insight into humanity that we rarely get. We all colour our thoughts, even to people who know us best, so imagine opening up transparently to complete strangers. It’s a needed revolutionary way to discuss mental health to give others comfort and relatability. “It’s live and direct, this is my day to day, […] I have to put it out there for people to find comfort in that these are my extremes, it might not be yours but it might give you something to relate to. I think as a society we highlight our highs so much, but we also need to highlight our lows.”

The topics reflect a lot on women and mental health, and how men, creation of life, loss, and depression, effect us. I particularly felt this in ‘Monday 7th September 2015’. What do you want women to take from reading this? 

“I don’t know what any woman could take from this or even if I want them to take anything from this. I just think if a woman finds herself in that situation, there’s so many conflicting feelings and they aren’t alone in feeling that way.”

What has helped your personal journey with mental health? What advice would you give in dealing with it? 

“Personally, I was so hung up on trying to ‘figure out’ how I felt or the idea of happiness and chasing that. I just had to ride out how I was feeling. To know and understand that it’s not a forever feeling. I learnt that after so many trials and I’m still learning. Also understanding myself and any other components.”

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There were pieces which I felt demonstrated how much we put our emotions on the back of how other people make us feel. Which can be unhealthy but is the reality of how a lot of us seek happiness. What is your definition of a healthy relationship, whether that be with yourself or others? 

“I threw myself into love very hard, at a time where I was still learning who I was, but I saw something in him that I wanted in my future. I was starting to surround myself with people that I wanted to contribute to my life, so from that I guess a healthy relationship is one of self-exploration and acceptance. Surrounding yourself with energy that motivates, inspires, and adds to you as a person, is also hugely beneficial and inspiring.”

It seems that writing is a release for you, as you include so much of yourself in there. What else is in your self-love/growth routine in daily life? 

“Maintaining a balance can be hard especially at a time like this, where I’m working and sometimes finishing late - life is picking up its rhythm. I try to stretch some evenings, check emails, write, listen to music, have a long bath, cook. Take care of myself in little ways.”

A lot of your writing includes imagery that relates a female’s emotions to nature, words like flowers, air, breath, ivy, crawling, flood ect. why do you think this is? 

“I noticed when I started to write more about nature, I started looking after myself a little more. There’s something healing and so alive in nature, and I started to bounce off being happy and relating it to that.”

What is next? 

“I have so many exciting things in the works however I won’t elaborate, I guess you’ll have to be there or bear witness for that journey. I’m really focusing on myself and all elements that contribute to me, at the moment. I owe it to myself at this point in my life.”

Purchase ‘Hands’ here and keep up with Nylo to catch her next thought provoking projects through Instagram @nylo_bm.

Fenty Beauty has arrived

Here’s everything you need to know about Rihanna’s latest venture, Fenty Beauty. The bad gal superstar has released an ever inclusive range of beauty products for all of her fans to enjoy, featuring a gang of diverse models to display the beautiful brand. There’s been faces like Duckie Thot, Slick Woods, Selena Forrest, and Halima Aden, involved in the promo that sparked huge excitement. The much anticipated beauty campaign was teased back in 2016 when it was announced that she had signed a deal with Kendo, the very same team that produces Marc Jacobs beauty and Kat Von D’s huge range of products. Then the first sneak peak of what was to come was a preview of her gorgeous holographic lip gloss, used at her very own Fenty x Puma runway show, and today we were finally getting Fenty beauty in full here in the UK!

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The range consists of a whopping 40 shades of matte long-wear foundation made to match every skin tone you can think of, which is super hard to come by in an industry that lacks diversity when it comes to all shades of beauty. The great thing about the high end formulas is that they come in various undertones too, so each shade has a cool and warm version to help you find the perfect match. You can also purchase some popping shimmers, colour and contours in the form of ‘match stixs’ and powdered highlights and rouge too, as well as some cleverly shaped applicator brushes, primer and blotting paper. 

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I’m in love with the packaging which is sleek and modern, boasting thought out elements to help application as well as organisation - they easily click together with a hidden magnet making your beauty supply a whole lot easier to arrange and keep track of. The names are as cool as Rihanna too, with shimmery duo ‘Killawatt Highlight', a partnership of ‘Ginger Binge’ and ‘Moscow’ in a neat FB embossed compact and versatile shimmer stixs in shades such as ‘Confetti’, ‘Sinamon’ and ‘Ridiiic’. 

You can purchase all the products exclusive to Harvey Nichols in the UK both in store and online, or head over to FentyBeauty.com to splurge too. I’ve already got my basket full and ready.

Pulling & Parting by Erin Corrian-Alexis

Meet London born and raised Aquarius, Erin Corrian-Alexis. Recently graduating from University with a first in Footwear Design and Innovation, Erin is set to make her mark in the fashion world as a designer and all around creative. As part of her end of year project, Erin created a footwear collection ‘Pulling & Parting’, celebrating her ethnic background and her personal journey embracing natural hair. Erin and director, Otis Dominique, filmed a short together to accompany her collection, filled with beautifully hued scenes and soundtracked to Jamilah Barry’s delicate and sublime vocals, the short perfectly fits the feeling presented by Erin’s unique approach to footwear. Erin’s collection ties in her appreciation for natural hair and passion for creation. You can stream the visual below.

How did ‘Pulling & Parting’ come about? 

“I had always been aware that final year was my chance to create something I really felt connected to. Throughout my 5 year uni course, the way I was speaking and thinking and what I cared about changed, and I wanted to explore that through design, my best outlet of communication. I began with a focus on the African diaspora which led me to look at Black Britishness and then more closely at Black British Styling.”

What does embracing natural hair mean to you? 

“Embracing my natural hair means confidence, necessity too - when I decided to stop chemically straightening it, it was because I just couldn’t go on watching my hair become thinner and more lifeless every time I applied heat.”

What made you think about your natural hair journey that lead you towards the inspiration behind your collection?  

“I had thought about my final project a lot during my placement year in Rotterdam. It's a super multicultural place but I was surprised by how prevalent the natural hair movement was in a city where every advertisement showed a blonde white girl. I was also pretty lonely there and experimenting with hair styles because of how much time I had. I was designing a lot too. One thing led to another and I put similar styles onto a shoe and realised I was on to something in terms of function and changeability.”

How do you reflect your identity through fashion and in particular your footwear? 

“Fashion has everything to do with identity. What you are wearing is the first thing you person tell a person about yourself. I enjoy observing what fashion can do for the confidence a person presents. People will even treat you differently depending on what you’re wearing, which is shitty.

Through my footwear I want to show innovation and newness, and create beautiful pieces that reflect a time but are timeless.”

Where do you draw inspiration from as an artist? 

“Conversations with friends. I’m inspired by what people are willing to share and what they are not.”

What would you like your audience to take away from your short film? 

“Hmmm.. Firstly, I want the audience to get the project and understand why it deserves a second look - the shoes are functional and change in each scene, they also come with a care kit and instructions for styling. So many parts of the film tie into my research too, the shoot set was literally built in the studio with an old photograph by Dennis Morris as the inspiration. 

The film’s special to me for so many reasons. I am so thankful for the Director, Otis Dominique, and our D.O.P, Joel Honeywell, for going above and beyond to beautifully communicate the project.”

We’re only just getting a peak into Erin’s career as a footwear designer and artist, so there’s a lot to unravel throughout time, you can follow Erin on Twitter and Insta’ @ErinCAlexis to keep up with everything to come.

The Life and Times of Jean-Michel Basquiat

Words by Celiya Köster

On the 12th, August 1988, Jean Michel Basquiat was found unconscious in his Manhattan loft, after overdosing on heroin. In this post, we look back at his artistic beginnings and his role as a Black artist in the white fine art worlds.

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In 1985, Jean-Michel Basquiat appeared on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, under the headline ‘New Art, New Money: The Marketing of An American Artist.’ This is seen by many as the climax of his fame, sparking a public interest in the complex and talented artist that is still prevalent today. A cultural icon and esteemed painter Basquiat had come a long way by 1985, he left home at just 17 to Manhattan starting as a coach-surfing, graffiti artist. His artistic journey begun within duo SAMO, which stands for ‘Same Old Shit’. SAMO tagged the metropolitan streets of New York City with ironic and political phrases. His distinctive painting style, influenced by his graffiti background, was one of the first bridges from street art into the world of fine art. Today, Basquiat has seemingly achieved more fame and wealth than any other Black painter in art history, his work recently selling for a record £85m at an auction in New York. The painting named ‘Untitled’ was the first piece created after 1980 to sell at a price over £70 million.

Untitled (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Untitled (1982) by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Haitian native father and Puerto Rican mother, his father an accountant, would bring home piles of paper for the children to scribble on. It is important to note that Basquiat was precocious and articulate. He was known for having the television on while playing music and surrounding himself with open books when creating his paintings. He drew information from outside sources, like Warhol he used remix culture, taking information from history books, academia, television shows and aesthetics from pop-culture to explore a range of social issues and thoughts. Remixing forces engagement as it uses social conations and places them in unfamiliar places to emote reactions from viewers. Basquiat himself was very interested in personhood, identity, culture, ancestry and anatomy, these themes appearing heavily in his work. He seemed very aware of the dualities and tensions that surrounded him as a young Black man in 80s white American art world.

In the 70’s all things Hip-Hop was on the rise in New York, graffiti artists were very much a part of this. However, discrimination was spreading, especially within the police force, the blossoming revolution of Hip-Hop culture was met with animosity and aversion by authorities. For instance, until 1972, graffiti was not considered an act punishable by law, then in 1983, Basquiat’s friend, Michel Stewart, a graffiti artist, was stopped by the police one night and was so brutally mistreated he had to be rushed to hospital, where he was announced dead shortly after. The treatment of Black men and women by the NYPD is still the cause of much trauma and protest in New York City, allowing his art to be appreciated again by a whole new generation dealing with similar issues. Basquiat knew that despite his fame and success in the art world that this could have easily been him. After the news, Basquiat went to Keith Haring’s studio and scrawled his reaction directly onto the wall, it was later named by Keith Haring - ‘Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart)’.

Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart) by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart) by Jean-Michel Basquiat

It is often noted that Basquiat’s work didn’t fit comfortably into the categories that were created for American art in the early 80’s, I would say Basquiat’s place of status as a Black man in the 80’s was also an uncomfortable fit for many. There has been much debate since the artist’s death about whether his wild behaviour, outlandish style and graffiti inspired art is a representation of a performance of ‘blackness.’ Did Basquiat play into and in some ways milk the 1980’s arty liberals craving for a more diverse and exotic flavouring to their white cube art world? 80’s New York was a different world to the New York of today, even though today it isn’t great. Basquiat was more casually humiliated and patronised as a Black artist in the 80’s. Art critic Steven Kaplan for example mocked him as the “piccaninny of SoHo”. The fine art world is one of the most inaccessible areas of the creative industries, it has been resistant to recognising and authorising minority artists throughout its history, often seeing Black bodies as the raw materials and inspiration to visual art but not as the producers of it. Basquiat knew this, he often tried to honour Black historical and cultural icons in his work, he drew on stereotypical images of Black culture in order to comment on and locate others casual racism.

Jean-Michel ran away many times as a teenager, his father recalls picking him up from the park, not much older than 15 and his son saying, “Papa, I will be very famous one day,” and he certainly was. But importantly, he was more than that, he was revolutionary, his soft masculinity, graffiti inspired fine art, and original public persona all helped young Black men understand the limitless options available for them to achieve and express their individuality for generations to come.

A Day Of Self-Love

We’ve put together a little list of artists, bloggers, and musicians, to get you started on your self-love journey, whether it’s just for a day of pampering or a lifetime of habits. Have a look below. 

Dionne Elizabeth is ‘a creative coach, yoga and meditation teacher, DJ, writer, spacemaking event maker, but above all, a human being that loves life, good vibes and feelings.’ Her very own lifestyle blog promotes acts of self love, a healthy balanced lifestyle and is full of great Yoga tips, so she seems like one of the best people to talk to for this special day of you looking after you! Her recent post on her summer self care rituals tells us of her daily routines including the benefits of oil pulling, yoga, skin care routines, tea, and more. Read through and copy for a day of self-love that you can continue on. Head to Dionne.space to read it!


Solange Knowles’ release of ‘A Seat At The Table’ felt like a monumental sigh of relief for Black women who finally had a voice in 2017, expressing so many close to home emotions. Sit back and listen to the album in full again and bask in your own magic. Perfect soundtrack for a day of self appreciation. 


Watch Eartha Kitt express her views on compromise and love. This famous interview serves as a great reminder for those to love themselves first without sacrificing it for others. Her comical and passionate reaction is a classic. Go girl!


If your relaxing in bed or the tub, scroll through Sophie Rose Brampton’s Instagram @sophierosebrampton for relatable art/illustrations that’ll have you feeling badass. Some of my personal fav’s are below. 


Photo by thursday.

Photo by thursday.

London born singer Cherée @chereeofficial has released her latest single focusing on the topics of mental health, in particular her experience with depression. The metaphors in the song relate to feelings of struggle and battling through the dark to come out better on the other side. Listen for a bit of uplifting through your stresses. 


Shop clothes that’ll not only make you feel good but that treat the world good too. PANSY makes ethical underwear, lounge and sportswear in California, where all the cotton used is US grown and the models actually have bodies that resemble you. The underwear uses some recycled materials and comes in a variety of colours and styles, so have a little retail therapy and shop through the collection www.pansy.co.

Girls Don't Cry by Sirius Film

Sirius Film shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Sirius Film shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

If you’re not familiar with her work yet, you’re playing yourself, meet Danika Magdelena a.k.a Sirius Film. She’s been about, Sirius has shot London’s who’s who, from musicians and artists, to models, and the all-around creatives. Her way with film is something worth mentioning, it’s almost ethereal. You remember that construction worker? You know, the cute one… his pic went viral… became a model? Yea, that one. If you didn’t know, Sirius Film was behind that lens, that’s the power of Sirius. You never know, she might just put you on one day.

In regards to your background or childhood, can you tell me anything relevant that pushed you towards art?

“I would say my family, we’ve always taken a lot of pictures growing up and if I look through the photo albums that we have there’s so many photographs of how my Mum used to dress and my Dad, they were very fashion focused. So I think seeing their styles, […] the photos being in film as well, I loved the effect that it created, so it made me have an interest in film straight away”

Sirius Film was the evolution of Danika’s begins as a fashion blogger under the alias Sirius Mode, “I started off as a fashion blogger, so my name was actually Sirius Mode, I kinda got that from Sirius being one of the brightest stars in the sky and then mode was fashion in French, cause my Mum spoke French, so I was like oooh sounds a bit more cooler than Sirius Fashion” . After some time, Sirius slowly strayed away from fashion and fell into the world of photography, “I kinda stopped being a fashion blogger and started leaning towards photography, so it was like film and digital, and then I was like I’m not really shooting digital, so Sirius Film kinda became the name”.

Sirius Film has grown into one of London’s sought after photographers, shooting for Nike, Hunger, the cover of Pigeons & Peacocks, and some noteworthy artists, making a name for herself in photography. For many ‘photographers’, shooting on film has become a trend, but for Sirius, film photography is much more than that, “It just looks so much nicer to me, film, the effect it gives is really timeless, it’s like its own natural filter and with digital, if I have to shoot in digital I will because sometimes it’s more practical but film is just nicer, I like the surprise of going to get your negatives back from the shop”

Earlier this year, Sirius released her short film ‘Girls Don’t Cry’, inspired by her own personal experiences, Girls Don’t Cry was the conclusion to overcoming heartbreak, “It was mostly focused around my ex, it wasn’t a very good break up and then I used to write for a long time after that, […] I had all these pieces of writing and I was like I would love to do something with this one day”. 

Director: Sirius Film. Cinematographer: Sabb Adams. Music and Voice-over: Nigar Kanawati.

Girls Don’t Cry is simplistic in its approach to speaking on human connection yet it effectively reminds us that heartbreak is a natural part of life, emphasising that it’s ok to feel the emotions that comes with the pain of losing love, “I feel like people do kinda look down on girls for being sad about a guy breaking your heart but it is a big thing for us, and I just wanted to show with [Girls Don’t Cry] that you’re not alone, sometimes I’ll be like ‘ahh the is the worst thing that could happen to me’ but I’ve met so many girls who’ve been in even worst situations than me, and we just gotta stick together as girls and just push through, through the heartbreak and just remember when you love yourself even more you’ll feel less effected by stuff like that, you’ll heal faster, it’s better”.

Girls Don’t Cry has become more than a short film and has evolved into a movement founded by Sirius Film, through creative art pieces Sirius wants GDC to promote female empowerment, mental health awareness and self-expression. Gender norms aren’t necessarily changing a great deal but we’re at a point where it’s becoming more apparent that gender roles no longer have strict guidelines. We’re slowly normalising a world where girls can have body hair and boys can cry. Sirius’s Girls Don’t Cry in some ways represents this, providing a space for women to demonstrate all they are without the rigid restrictions of stereo-typical norms. 

There’s a lot of discussion lately about mental health, self-care and recognising unhealthy human relationships, why do you think that is? 

“I feel like, before being depressed was seen as a sign of weakness and I think people are starting to open their minds a bit more and are becoming less ignorant, and seeing that depression is a real thing, sometimes it’s very uncontrollable, you don’t need to have been seriously hurt to feel it sometimes, it’s just a feeling. I think so many artists are depressed, or have anxiety, or maybe another mental health issue and […] as people are coming forward about it more, everyone feels more comfortable to admit they have issues they may think are wrong with them, […] loving yourself is really a big thing now, life is too short”

Sirius’s GDC project recently collaborated with crochet fashion brand Knots & Vibes for Hunger, which was shot between Brixton and Jamaica. The aim of the feature is to raise awareness on sexual abuse in Jamaica, an issue that has been affecting a myriad of girls and women. - “It was very important for us to talk about something that people don’t really know about Jamaica”. You can read the feature here on hungertv.com. GDC aims to continue to collaborate with different women on important issues that may have effected them.

Looking back to when you started out, how does it feel to be in the position you are in now? 

“You know what, it’s funny because you can always feel like you can do better, I do feel like sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for how far I’ve come […], I never knew I would get to this point where so many people would love and support my work, or that I would be good enough, I would be sending out emails and getting no’s from everyone for everything and I’ve always said to myself I will never ignore anyone’s email […] and now I’m at a point where I can’t even reply to people because I get so busy. I always try to remain humble and I’ll never forget my journey, I just wanna help other girls for sure, with GDC it’s not about talking to the popular girls, it’s about reaching out to all girls and maybe when I get to a bigger place, I’ll even start working on stuff with guys too, because guys get heartbroken, but for now I’ll try remain focus and keep at that”

To end it off, here’s a couple quick fire questions:

Your entrance track for the club? 

“Probably GoldLink - Spectrum”

Favourite film? 

“Harry Potter” 

The best photo you have taken? 

“I’d say my Nike BTS photos, I couldn’t really chose which one but those were my proudest set of photos” 

Dream person to shoot? 

“Adwoa Aboah, for sure”

The song you’ve listened to the most this week? 

“Something Tells Me by Bryson Tiller”

Best artistic break through you’ve had so far? 

“I’d say being able to shoot for Nike, that was cool”

With Sirius having a great start to the year, I’m sure she has a couple more surprises up her sleeve for the rest of 2017, so keep an eye out for what’s to come. You can follow Sirius Film on Insta’ @sirius.film and Twitter @MaddoLuu. You can also keep up with Girls Don’t Cry on Insta’ @thegdcproject and on thegdcproject.tumblr.com.

Skepta launches MAINS

London’s very own Skepta has released the first collection for his highly anticipated brand MAINS, now available for purchase exclusively at Selfridges online and in-store. The line is made up of tracksuits and tees, designed to be worn anywhere on which ever occasion, for comfort and style in the true fashion of Skepta, who’s taste in garms for years has been displayed through his love for a good tracksuit. 

Most noticeably, the designs are absent of branding, straying away from your typical everyday tracksuit - “I’m tired of logos. The whole thing was about the ability to wear a tracksuit anywhere. I wanted a tracksuit that I could wear without feeling less entitled than anyone else.”

The unisex collection exhibits Skepta’s desire to break boundaries within fashion with simplistic pieces that are accessible to all. MAINS displays classic designs and colour-ways, with pieces available in khaki green, navy, and white for now, with hopes to stand the test of time and build a brand that ties in with Skepta’s wishes. “I want this to be for life and with all that instant hype stuff as soon as something goes up its just as quick to come down. I want to build it up with a great integrity.” (Skepta speaking with Vogue.)

After 2 years of designing and production, the first MAINS collection is now ready, premiered with a Marrakech themed launch party and a lookbook shoot to match, the new line is perfect for your chilled summer wardrobe with a hint of royalty through it’s detailed embroidery. Get shopping.

Shop MAINS online now.

Enlightenment and Denim ByMelianJ

At the young age of 15 MelianJ became a free-lance model after having a taste of the fashion world when scouted as a child and since then she’s been booking shoots with names like Nike and Nakid Magazine. Now just 20 years young, she’s the creator of her own fashion line, ByMelianJ, designing and hand crafting insanely detailed denim pieces portraying her edgy and forward-thinking fashion mind. Check out our quick talk with the young LA native with an old soul, who’s adoration and understanding for spirituality and nature is nothing short of refreshing. 

MelianJ wearing one of her own denim designs.

MelianJ wearing one of her own denim designs.

When did you first start designing and creating clothes? 

“I’ve been planning and preparing since practically middle school with ideas, I developed the skills to actually bring my creations to life in 2015/16.”

Pieces from the first collection from ByMelianJ

Pieces from the first collection from ByMelianJ

Jeans 1.0 looks

Jeans 1.0 looks

What’s your process, how do you put your pieces together? 

“My process is different a lot of the time. My favourite way is to pile a stack of fabric… sit in my room and visualise/channel through meditation, then listen to music/binaural beats & crank out pieces. I’m getting into sketching more but I’ve been going straight from brain to hands on *lol*.”

Where do you draw inspiration from? 

“I mostly if not always channel inspiration from the infinite energy source in meditative states & God; otherwise I’m inspired from art, nature/the universe, movies, music, architecture, etc.”

Describe your ideal girl to style, what is she like?

“Ideally, I’m interested in styling like minded individuals, female/male/trans artists with elevated frequencies, who aspire to influence positive change in the world.”

Describe your brand in a short sentence.

“ByMelianJ is an expression of my perspectives on fashion, art, life, & the universe.

To be the source, enlightenment. To inspire, and motivate individuals to create themselves, their realities, and the human experience through awareness. Influencing ownership of individuality, and reinventing a community through living in love, support, and acceptance.”

Where would you like to see your brand in the future? 

“Haute Couture on every major runway & magazines, modelled by the best & Artistically included.”

You started your own collection ‘Jeanz by MelianJ’, what inspired your denim collection? 

“God, my early life struggles, & desire to reconstruct my mind/self as an artist to better express my vision.. testing my creativity.”

You were scouted as a model at a young age, was modelling a part of your plan? 

“Yes always, I love being in front of the camera. I don’t limit myself as an artist, I love expressing through different mediums.”

MelianJ for 3PeatLa

MelianJ for 3PeatLa

Your collection is very D.I.Y. as you sew all your garments yourself, is this an aesthetic you’d like to keep in the future as your brand expands? 

“Yes & No. I love sewing myself with total DIY vibes but also enjoy getting into higher end Haute Couture design.”

How would you describe your personal style? 

“Eclectic art, an expression of my “selves”.”

Name your top designers and stylists?

“Best of best: Mother Earth, God/Infinite Creator of life.”

Who’s dress sense do you admire and why?

“The more spiritual I have become the less I idolise or look up to anyone other then God; however as a young girl I loved Ultraviolet, Spice Girls, Brittany Spears, Rihanna, Aaliyah, Prince, & the list goes onnn  *haha*.”

Any up and coming projects?

“I’m not one to spoil a surprise, I love working in silence but there’s definitely a few projects coming up that may change the dynamic of how I’m perceived as an artist/designer which I’m extremely excited about. My blood boils enthusiastically to push my boundaries and continue the journey of self expression.”

Have a look through some sneak previews of the next ByMelianJ collection dropping in just a few days time. The new collection seems softer and lighter than the last, with frilled detailing on sleeve cuffs and a mixture of textiles, yet it still holds the badass edge of her first release where frayed edges and slashes of denim dominate - perfect expressive looks for the summer.

Jeanz 2.0

Jeanz 2.0

Set to release her second collection on July 1st you’ll be able to see her hand created designs based off reconstructed denim. The 2.0 collection shows her growth and passion for individuality as each piece is one of a kind, with no other being cut from the same denim. Grab your self a fashion exclusive on July 1st when the full collection is released. 

Shop it all here on Melianj.com and follow her on instagram @bymelianj for outfit envy.

Take My Shmoney: 3 Must Haves

Makeup, Heels and Trainers. What else is there to spend your hard earned payday reward on? Check out these 3 things you’ll want to be spending those coins on real soon if you haven’t already.

Rihanna X Manolo Blahnik

Rihanna will be blessing us real soon with her third and final Manolo Blahnik collection, BadGal Riri has teased us this week with images of the bejewelled open toe collection. There are four exclusive limited edition pairs that’ll be up for sale in July, a mid-heeled mule, high-heeled mule, strappy high heel and heeled gladiator - so you’ll be ready for the summer. If you weren’t hypnotised enough watching Rihanna’s performance in her latest DJ Khaled collab, you might’ve noticed she was flexing the ‘Poison Ivy’ pair in the visual. The ‘So Stoned’ collection seems to play on Riri’s love for the herb, and is fitting for those who adore a bit of shoe drama, with pairs in green, pink, blue and red, bold Swarovski crystals that’ll make your shoes the centre of your fit.

ManoloBlahnik.com

KKW Beauty

Whether you love or hate Kim Kardashian-West it’s safe to say she would have some of the best make-up tips in the game, she’s always seen out with a flawless finish whether in full glam or a barely-there glow. Much to the excitement of her fans, Kim’s followed in the steps of little sis Kylie to put out an affordable beauty range. On Wednesday morning, June 21st, she dropped KKW Beauty, selling her signature natural beauty look in the form of highlighters and contouring sticks, sold with the perfect applicator brushes for easy use. The range covers a wide variety of skin shades, scoping from ‘light’ to ‘deep dark’ selling out completely in less than 3 hours. The KKW Beauty team have said there will be a re-stock so keep an eye out for those if you missed out on the rush. 

KKWBeauty.com

Yeezy Boost 350 V2

Slated to be released tomorrow morning, June 24th, is Kanye West’s restock of the Yeezy Boost 350 V2 in his popularised ‘Zebra’ print, black and white colour way. If it’s anything like his past releases it’ll sell out instantly, so have your laptops and credit cards at the ready, nice and early for the drop if you’re tryna get a pair as only a few Adidas retailers will be selling the signature trainer.

Adidas.com

Anna Sudit - Metal, Illustration and New York

Anna Sudit is a New York based artist and woman of the world, who is currently working for the awesome femme forward Refinery29. Born in Russia, her parents then moved to Israel when Anna was only 1 years old and 14 years later they closed up shop once again to make New York home, where Anna’s creative career was birthed. “I barely finished High School. I dunno, I guess when you’re 15 and move to a new country you’re just not happy and want your parents to suffer, so I barely finished High School and never went to class, but we had a lot of art classes in my school and I’ve always been creative in my own ways. I started drawing before I did anything else, even as a baby, so I started doing a lot of painting, hand drawing, still life, real life kind of things. In school I was taking painting classes, where I first learnt how to paint practically and I liked painting even more. Then in my senior year most of my friends had already left and then everything happened so fast because I kept skipping High School and then suddenly it was ‘where are you going for College?’ and it’s just like, oh yeah College!? So I was telling my teachers how I just want to paint, and just be an old lady living alone, painting and just making enough money to live, and they were saying ‘no you should go for Graphic Design, that’s the next step, it’s gonna go really well. Everyone who’s good in these classes goes for graphic design, you’d do really well” and so then begun Anna’s journey into finding her own artistic passage. 

Anna Sudit shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Anna Sudit shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

“Because I did bad in School and barely graduated I didn’t even try to apply for the normal art colleges, so I actually went to a private institute, The Art Institute of New York, which is definitely a really great school. Went. Didn’t know anything about graphic design. Didn’t know how to even use Photoshop, so first it was kind of hands on, which were the classes I liked, more practical and then in the computer ones I was like I have no idea what I’m doing, so it was very challenging and also very confusing because I still wasn’t sure if this was definitely what I wanted to do and then only in my last year - I think it all comes down to your professors, once they become your mentors it’s like, cool, I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, I had a really really great Professor, and one of the last classes was to create posters and do whatever you wanted. I did mixed media, I illustrated a couple things by hand, did some collaging, typography, and made this poster for a fake event in a College ad - it won an award and I was like great, maybe this is working.”

After a couple years at a company that was stifling Anna’s creativity despite the support of a lovely manager, she decided it was time to move on to pastures new and search for a company she could work for where her creativity could flourish a little more, somewhere “inspiring and where I can actually contribute ideas”. Anna found Refinery29 after following them online not knowing how they were yet to grow and was offered the job on the spot. Three years on she’s still there and building her own name outside of the company. 

“Refinery definitely is what put me out there too, they have such a large social media following as well as on the site, and once I started producing so much work and once I got out there, the things I started to create for them didn’t exist before I got there, so people started seeing it and within the company they started using it more and more. It just hit a wave, people started emailing saying ‘hey, I saw your work on refinery’, and it was very little known companies but I was so excited because that’s never happened before, and then it was places like Vice, Harper’s Bazaar, to now a TV show on TNT has asked me to do stuff for them and it’s all from Refinery29.”

Do you think the different Countries you lived in or the scenery influenced your art?

“I don’t really know. Moving from Russia I was a baby so I have no idea and then moving from Israel all I remember was being confused, but I was a teenager so I would’ve been confused regardless, but since I was about 12 I got really into Punk and Metal so I had a very rebellious character to begin with so I’m pretty sure that has influenced my influences, my taste, and my creative process in my life in general up to today. I think moving effected my life because I travel all the time and I can’t see myself not travelling, and I think that has a lot to do with it. When I travel I feel very inspired and refreshed and come back with all these ideas.”

What do you think pushed you towards illustration rather than another medium?

“I only started actually illustrating at Refinery, I think one day I tried to do something by hand and scan it in and switch the colours, and they were like that’s great, but it’s not on brand for us so don’t do that, try something else. So I tried something completely new and different and nothing like I had done before, which was also difficult because I didn’t know what my identity was or what my stye was and I was going through different stages, like, my work looks too much like this person, I want to make it different, and I just didn’t know how to do it differently. I think in illustration the world is large but so small and there’s only a few different very specific styles […] So I really pushed myself to have a voice and a style, and I found my colour palette, and found a way to push all my general interests into my illustration, and also still have it not fully out on the table if that makes any sense, but now when people see my work they’re like, that’s you, those are your colours, that’s a shiny illustration. It’s a really good place, but now I’m like, shit who’s gonna start doing that next.”

Anna’s work is definitely unique, her ability to tie in flat illustration but bring them to life with the added effect of texture - particularly her glossy trademark, brings them to life. The soft colours against subject matters that include her love for punk, metal, bondage, hands, and lips, in my opinion creates an almost femme fatal genre of illustration. 

Where do you draw inspiration from, other artists or eras?

“Generally I take inspiration from living in New York, like New York is so trashy and diverse and yet honestly the best city in the word, and so glamorous and amazing. And then I’m really into fashion and the connect and disconnect between subcultures, sexuality, and fashion, they all tie together so well yet they’re all so separate and for some people they don’t tie in together at all, so I use a lot of sex toys in my illustration but usually I get asked to do that, so I guess that’s not really by choice, but I specifically really like isolating things, specially hands and nails, and mouths, I focus on details like bright colours and making them look shiny and stand out, because I feel like with illustration, typically, it is very flat or very 3D and I don’t want to be either, I very much like to be in the middle, I think it’s still very flat but all the tiny details like the shiny look, makes it more. I’ve had a lot of people say it’s very sexy and I’m like ‘ooo that’s great’ and this one person told me it was too sexy and that’s not my intention but I think it’s cool that someone can have that reaction, I’m just sitting at a computer drawing and it can do that. I think with art it’s better that people can feel something, because that’s it, then you’re done, right.”

In which way does fashions influence you?

“I think fashion and design go hand in hand, fashion also comes into my life back when I was younger and very influenced by certain music and that scene, and that goes back into my personal fashion, for years and even today it’s interesting, I see it going back into very high end designers like, Alexander McQueen, even Dior, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent for sure even. I think what they’re making now for thousands of dollars is like what I used to buy in Hot Topic for like 10 dollars and get made fun of. Now I see this is great, because now it’s all connected […] I think it’s the connection of sexuality subculture and sexuality together that influence my work, rather than them separate, so like patent leather, metal, studs, those kind of things I love in reality, the texture and try to bring that into the illustration world. I really like Issey Miyake, who’s very design oriented and she uses computer design to create clothing instead of pattern making, which just blows my mind, it’s really cool.”

Favourite artists?

“I really like Tillmans, a lot of artists I like or that I think influence me are not illustrators, I love photography, so yeah, Tillmans. There’s a designer, Walter Van Beirendonck, back in the 70s or 80s he was creating these crazy clothes that were very tied into like fetish and fashion, all these leather masks, dressing people like popsicles, things that didn’t look like anything anyone would wear outside of a runway. He somewhere became like very involved in rave culture, he’s a big name in rave all over Europe, a big name all over fetish, fashion and rave. They as artist, at least at this moment have influenced my creative life over the last say, two years.”

What do you listen to while illustrating? Does music influence you?

“I listen to music at all times, definitely while illustrating, I think mostly I listen to Marilyn Manson, I started listen to Marilyn Manson while I was still living in Israel so I was very young. I started kind of straying away from Punk and going into this not necessarily Metal, but more that scene. I also think he’s very poetic. I was really into his look. When I was in High School I was shaving my eyebrows, dying my hair black, I wanted to be Marilyn Manson, I thought he was so cool, and the whole attitude of not giving a fuck and doing whatever you want, because you’re doing whatever you want, people respond to it. It’s like that happened to me in my career, because I didn’t know what I wanted to do I just thought I’ll do it for the man, but then it became, I have all these interests so I'm just gonna do that, and people responded really well. I don’t know if actually the music was an influence but definitely more artistically, as a person, till this day.”

One of my favourite pieces of Anna’s is of two phones, adorned with lips, pictured below. The image was created for a poetry book cover and feels exclusively feminine while I still think having a very inclusive way of being relatable for women, which seems to be one of Anna’s specialities. 

“That’s one of my favourite pieces I’ve done too actually. This woman reached out to me, it’s so cool because most people that reach out to me since being with Refinery, are digital, so they basically want the same thing. So this lady reached out and said she’s putting out a poetry book, she’s a lesbian and it’s about her long distance relationship. I thought it was so cool that this older gay woman, was reaching out to me and she just said she really liked my stuff online, I don’t think she even knew what Refinery was and she actually sent me a specific example of what she wanted, and it was more of a full body image of two women in a room, but she said I could read some of the poems if that helped too. I decided I didn’t wanna go that way and wanted it in the same direction as what I’ve been doing, so I thought about long distance and how a lot of the relationship ends up being on the phone and I wanted it to be sexual because a lot of the poems are very sexual, and so I thought of the lips and the hands. The lady is white and her partner black, and that’s how I ended up with the two different ladies. It was a lot of fun.”

What’s your creative process? 

“I guess now, knowing the things that I can do well, like the safe routes, I always try to think about how I can use that and then incorporate something new into it to make to challenging and interesting. How can I apply this to my style and push it even further to make something newer and fresher than something I’ve ever done before, that’s usually it.”

Sexuality seems to be a coherent theme, I’m not sure if that’s conscious or not, but why do you think it’s important to create art around those themes?

“So I do think it’s important to create art around sexuality, I think for a very long time and even still today, sexuality is quite taboo and especially for women. Women are not as sexually open as they should be and although things are changing all the time and times are different now, even I have friends who know me and know what my work is like and I still can’t openly talk to them about sex, its like ‘errr great, let’s talk about something else, what shall we eat’. I think with art, creating that connection or feeling that isn’t so direct, as maybe talking about it or watching porn or engaging in sex, I think it still has a separation for people, and I think that with my art it’s sort of safe, where you can look at it and not feel uncomfortable, but it’s still sexy. I think that’s important for women, to look and think ooo this is sexy, I can find this sexy and go put on lip gloss, and maybe go and sext someone now, why not [….] I remember the first really scary story I had to illustrate for refinery was a masturbation challenge. We used to have a sex writer who I was very close with, and we talked about it and decided that there was no way to really illustrate the story well without showing a full on vagina masturbating and she just said go for it, and I was like are you sure we don’t need this approved, and she was just like ‘approved, they’re into it, go for it’. The feedback was insane, I think it performed better than most sex related stories ever on Refinery29, and I think the reason is - and it was either gonna be photos or illustration - and I think that if it were photos people would have felt uncomfortable whereas with the illustration women feel safe, and it’s a bit more abstract and not so real. It was a crazy time when that story went live.”

Anna Sudit illustration for Refinery29 30 day masturbation challenge. 

Anna Sudit illustration for Refinery29 30 day masturbation challenge. 

I want to ask you about the ‘Yes Mistress’ Zine you did a while ago, is that something you’d do again or are thinking about now?

“Totally, so I made that zine, a little over a year ago, it came from wanting to illustrate specific things and not having a place to do it, also I wanted to do a personal project because I felt like I was doing too much work and nothing outside of it, and also I really wanted to do something printed, because I do everything digital. I don’t remember how it came about, but knew I wanted to illustrate all these accessories and I had a colour palette in mind, maybe I was in a bookshop and there was a sex section and there was some fetish books but no guides, and this was a time where I was exploring the fetish world and I thought there’s no guide, no where I can go and just read what each toy is and how to use it. I learnt about the roles of top and bottom, and slave master, I was so intrigued by it and wanted to make that accessible to other people who might be intrigued by it. So I partnered up with this girl who I actually never met, Madison Stevens, my friend set me up with her, because she’s a writer […] and I think because I’ve only been in America like 13 years, I don’t think my vocabulary is rich enough to write something like that, so I was looking for someone, and my friend said this girl Madison is great, we connected, it worked out very fast, very very well and it was cool, people really liked it and the same with the poetry book, actually holding that printed copy and flicking through the pages was one of tho most amazing feelings ever. I would totally do another zine again, I haven’t thought about it for a while, but the process was super easy, so I would do it again.”

Would you ever make a series?

“Yeah I’ve actually been asked that before, I totally would. I think for me coming from the illustration persecutive, it’s about thinking on what could be illustrated in an attractive way, so it’s more about deciding in that series, what could be illustrated well, once I decide that then there will be another zine.”

You can check out Anna’a work online on her site here and follow her on Instagram to be regularly in awe of her illustrations. 

Paloma Elsesser Body Positivity with i-D

Growing up in our generation as a child, beauty was presented through runway models who fit a certain size and shape. Fast forward to now, we moved into a period where women are becoming unafraid to voice there own beauty standards and stand by their own ideals, despite much of the world still pushing forward a mould for us to fit in. Paloma Elsesser is one of the ladies using her voice and model skills to show young women how to respect their own worth and value. See her thoughts and background on Body positivity with i-D.

“Growing up without role models who reflected who she was, Paloma Elsesser knows the importance of showing young women that there are so many different ways to be beautiful. With her doe eyes and radiant skin, plus size model Paloma Elsesser is at the forefront of the body positivity movement, winning over the industry simply by being her radiant self. She was plucked from obscurity for legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath’s Golden Makeover series, and since then has been desired by editorial spreads and ads - not only because she looks amazing, but also because she’s seriously smart.

In this episode of i-D Meets, we get to know Paloma in London before visiting a group of teenagers at a school to talk about how important it is as girls to surround yourself with strong female friends. Then we'll head to Brixton Village with Paloma
’s fellow International Girl Crew member Madeline Poole, to talk about the uplifting power of sisterhood and body confidence.” - i-D.

GARMS: Kendrick Lamar 'Kung Fu Kenny' Merch.

Young Kung Fu Kenny a.k.a Kendrick Lamar just dropped off a new line of merch based on his ‘Rush Hour 2’ inspired Kung Fu Kenny character. Following the initial drop of his DAMN. merch, Kendrick has blessed us again with a new line - a black hoodie and gold long-sleeved tee featuring a multicoloured mandela design, and a black long-sleeved tee displaying a martial arts inspired graphic.

You can pick up some pieces from Kenny’s latest drop at txdxe.com

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Jasmin Sehra, Bringing Life to Colour.

I first was introduced to Jasmin’s unique approach to imagery with colours and patterns when she premiered her captivating art collection “The Bolly-Hood Series” at the 140 BPM Exhibition - I’ve since been a fan of Jasmin’s vividly hued pieces. We recently caught up with Jasmin to find out more about her world of colour and how music plays a part in her inspiration - read her interview below.

Jasmin Sehra shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Jasmin Sehra shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Where did you grow up? Has your childhood influenced your artistic style? 

“I grew up in Wembley, North West London. My childhood consisted of music and the visual arts. It’s in the Sehra blood, my whole family has been blessed with the creative and musical gene. However I’m the only one to have studied the arts from school to university level.

My Dad used to draw back in the day, his artwork is wicked; I definitely drew inspiration from his pieces. My childhood definitely influenced my path but it was during sixth form where my brother introduced me to the music I listen to today. He’s a music producer and the man behind Jidenna’s Classic Man! That introduction to his playlist is what planted the seed which continues to blossom.”

When did art become an interest of yours? 

“Growing up with the arts around me it has always been an interest, it’s in my blood. My parents both encouraged the arts with me and my siblings, both visually and musically through instruments in and out of school. I remember my parents buying us different art materials, we had a box full of it!”

Hip-Hop and Grime influences a lot of your work, what do those genres mean to you?

“I would say Hip-Hop is the predominant genre that influences my work alongside Bollywood and Indian culture that I grew up with. It was actually Big Pun’s Capital Punishment that really set my interest in Hip-Hop, his lyricism was astounding. But even artists like Kid Cudi helped me through anxiety and depression during university. There’s something for everyone in Hip-Hop; its base is about the knowledge, art and musicality through sound and words. You find that relationship by connecting to its various pillars and for me it was just that.”

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What’s your favourite era of the genre [Hip-Hop]?

I sway more towards Hip-Hop from the 90s. I can’t say that I do have a solid favourite era. To me it’s all about musicality and lyricism, how I connect to a song at that moment, there’s something for everything and everyone. There are songs and artists from the golden era to now whose production is crazy from lyrics to sound. I think there’s definitely beauty in all because it’s so diverse. I find myself listening to Bahamadia, to CYNE, to Common then Kanye and artists like Casey Veggies. It’s not just about Hip-Hop though, Soul, R&B, Reggae, Bollywood music and Ghazals have my heart too.”

You’re putting a project together with Arfa Butt based around Hip-Hop - “London Masalaa”. Tell us about that, what would you like to see the project become?

“Arfa and I both come from musical backgrounds; Hip-Hop and the motherland connected us both and we felt that we needed to create a platform for other South Asian women and girls just like us. The project is an exhibition of story telling through visuals, sound and other art forms. We envision it becoming a touring platform creating a unity and building relationships with female artists all over the world.”

Your work was recently featured at the 140 BPM exhibition - “The Bolly-Hood Series”, what does that collection mean to you? 

“This series is all about two cultures that I grew up with - Punjabi / Indian culture and the music I grew up listening to which was predominantly Hip-Hop. I wanted to highlight features of both cultures and I did this by portraying messages through Bollywood inspired typographical lyrics and words. I am an artist from the diaspora, this is my vision and through art I’m able to pull together areas of my life that are important to me and share it with people who don’t necessarily know much about my culture.”

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What is the relation between visual and music for you? Why is it so important?

“Music and visuals go hand in hand. Visuals tell a story you can see whilst music is a story you can hear pairing them together results in a crazy sensory vision. It’s universal, it’s important because the visuals set lyrical ideas in stone, you can manipulate the words visually and it can tell the story in a completely different way. You can translate it literally or ambiguously ultimately the canvas is your playground. The beauty of both visual and music is that the viewers and listeners of the artwork can interpret the connotations in their mind however they please. It’s crazy because everyone is different.”

You incorporate a lot of colour and imagery within your pieces, where do you draw inspiration from? 

“My love for pattern and colour and incorporating it within my work began during university when I saw my parent’s photographs in Mexico, those photographs changed my life. Not only were the compositions on point, their graphic colourful patterned and graphic clothing from the 80s/90s spoke to me, and my mother wearing her wedding bangles with her outfit had me mind blown. They opened my eyes by linking two cultures together. Even their cassette collection had me amazed- the graphics were mad. Besides this, patterns in nature and traditional pattern work from the motherland, photography and moving image inspire me hugely as well. Theres just so much around us!”

You studied at LCC, do you feel that has impacted your approach to art? 

“I wouldn’t say it did massively. It definitely pushed me and my craft in the right direction. But ultimately it isn’t the university syllabus that’s going to get you anywhere it’s how you apply it. In my opinion I believe that it’s catered for the “traditional” illustrator or designer. It’s all a system, the only impact is yourself.”

Your art work is very portraiture focused, what is it about that form of art that you’re drawn to?

“When I started to merge music within my art, I initially began with hyperreal graphite drawings. I just loved how you were able to portray facial pores, wrinkles and hairs with a pencil. But I wanted to tell more of their story and mine through colour and pattern and that’s when I started painting with acrylics. Portraiture has my heart because I love how you’re able to achieve that realisticness through different mediums. Through paint and skin tones - it’s just like drawing but with a brush.”

How would you describe the creative scene in London? 

“So unique and thriving. There are so many creatives across the board doing their own thing and it’s inspirational to see a lot of them build worldwide too. London has something unique to offer and especially within the last few years it’s been on a rapid rise. Most recently we’ve had Swizz Beatz’s come to London with No Commission and of course music artists like Drake supporting the U.K. Grime scene. There is a lot of integration between the different arts, but when it comes to diversity, I don’t see a lot of South Asian artists on the map. We are rising steadily though.”

You can follow Jasmin Sehra through her various platforms - jasminsehra.comInsta & Twitter @jasminsehra or on her digital journal paradisegirl.co.uk to see her creative thoughts and visions. - “I usually create original artwork or photographs that tie in with what my blog posts are about.” And make sure you keep an eye out as Jasmine’s currently working on her first collection of Paradise Girl clothing.

Fishbowl Zine Podcast 001

“Being a millennial is tougher than its given credit for. We’re out here trying to balance careers, personal lives and survival with an awareness of competition, social media and a pursuit of our passions. Inspired by Simon Sinek’s talk on Millennial’s in the Workplace we took a step back and dissected what it means to have a ‘creative career’ in the current climate – considering the role of social media, its impacts on mental health, increasing pressures to balance different trades, knowing your self-worth and what it really takes before you can call yourself a ‘professional’.

The Fishbowl podcast is the result of a joint collaboration between stylist Alizé, photographer Bardha, artist Yinka, model/writer Simran and businesswoman Yasmin; our conversation was nothing short of fun, insightful and reflective. We wanted to create something that would make you think, so come kick back with us - think cozy conversation with your girls over a glass of wine. Except we’re in the Radar studios and you’ve probably got a cup of tea.”

The ladies sat down to discuss a whole range of issues for young creatives that’ll show you it’s not just you questioning these points, like whether ‘exposure’ is good enough pay, and the benefits and pressures of social media. I thought the back and fourth about sticking to one skill, or learning multiple was interesting. Should artists immerse themselves into one creative area and master that, as opposed to the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ tactic that so many millennial creatives are taking on. Which is more beneficial? I myself struggle with feeling unauthentic when trying to learn and take on new skills as if it’s a problem to want to broaden your creative knowledge. The ladies mentioned that nowadays it’s often true that ‘just doing one skill isn't enough to get you noticed.’ 

Social media is interestingly allowing so many young artists to have a platform and manage to get their work out in order to create a career, using its power to connect to other creatives or big brands who wanna put you on, but then that leads to one of life’s big questions, ‘How do you know your value?’ - brands with power continuously ask creatives to work for free for the sole benefit of apparent exposure, making it difficult to know when you should demand pay and what your work is even worth. If all of these dilemmas run through your mind, you most definitely should have a listen to Fishbowl Zines latest podcast.

GARMS: The Notorious B.I.G. “Hypnotize” Label London Pop-Up Shop

For the First Time Ever, The Notorious B.I.G. estate debuts Biggie’s official “Hypnotize” designer label, launching in London for an exclusive pop-up shop this Friday March 10th – Sunday 12th March 11am-7pm with product available at varying price points to satisfy fans, fashion enthusiasts and all alike.

The exclusive pop-up retail installation launches this weekend at the historic Provender Building located within Camden Market. This event commemorates Biggie’s iconic legacy and the 20th anniversary of his passing. It also marks the release of his exceptional limited collection of premium apparel and accessories in the UK. 

Pop-Up Address: Camden Market, Provender, Stables Yard Entrance, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH.

The limited “Hypnotize” collection locks in a fresh, coming-of-age take on Biggie’s unmatched influence and prominent impact on not only Hip-Hop, but also popular culture. The designer label offers one-of-a-kind t-shirts, hoodies, bomber jackets, snapbacks, bags and other accessories. To further cement “Hypnotize” status as a designer label, the line collaborates with the much sought after, Homage Tees. The joint action fashions a unique range of original printed tees only available at the Camden Market pop-up installation.

The event offers the chance to recreate and capture the iconic “The Notorious B.I.G.” throne with other fun and impressive moments, only available inside the transformed space and outfitted as an inspired by “New York streets” atmospheric event. The pop-up brings a little bit of Brooklyn to Camden Market with music supplied by London’s Hip Hop crew, Livin’ Proof.

In just a few short years, The Notorious B.I.G. went from Brooklyn hustler to the savior of East Coast Hip-Hop. His all-too-brief career almost immediately took on mythic proportions following his passing, resulting in the legendary status he has today. The Notorious B.I.G. has not only influenced the current music scene, but also had a major impact on fashion and art as well, his legacy will forever live on!

Believe, this pop-up is something you don’t want to miss! If you're really bout that Biggie life, you’ll stop by to grab yourself some pieces. Below you can view some rare shots of Biggie.

Lights and Windows Breaking by Shyanne Benjamin

More often than not we see eye to eye. Mostly on things that don’t matter to the world. But they matter there. In our corner, in our section, in this spot; and it’s not world peace; but it’s peace in our home and that’s enough to get us both through the night. Through the tossing, through the slicing of wrist and the jumping off cliffs. Through the bulleting of brown folks, and students, and babies. Through the turning. There is a revolution beginning, we can see it’s shadow dancing on our walls, from our window, it’ll be loud baby. It may break up all our shit. It may put our peace off kilter. It’s calling our names, and they need us. — but can we stay in bed any way. Just for today… tomorrow we can go back to being the change. Tomorrow we can go back to being the difference. Tonight can you just pluck these picket sign splinters out of my fingers with your teeth, that way you do. I’ll rub your head, and only tell you good things baby. Righting their wrongs is apparently our duty, our job, but I need a break. And I need you to give it me. I need you to drown out the backfire. I need you to remember that we are part of the same world that they are; and sometimes they stay home too baby. Sometimes, every blue moon, guns do stay in there holsters and if we pray, loud enough maybe that’ll be today.  I see it forming in your eyes, that militant storm, that mind of Martin and Malcom. I know that mouth be booming voice on street corners, “We Shall Overcome” again and again, it’s in our blood… 

Can the marching start in the morning baby? Can we take the night to honor the fact that we are not graves yet. That we have beat the odds that we live to fight another day. Because we spend every day being afraid, petrified that this skin has marked us mistake, marked us problem, marked us target: and I know you know that I’m afraid. I know that you are too. So let’s nail the door shut tonight and not pull them out till we see the sun again. Can we celebrate baby? They haven’t got us… And in the morning, if we march loud enough, maybe they never will. More often than not we see eye to eye, mostly on things that don’t matter to the world, but they matter here. We matter here.

00's Galore - Leah Abbott Interview

Leah Abbott shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Leah Abbott shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Walking in with fishnets, patent boots and a Von Dutch purse, Leah Abbott was every bit of the Tastemaker that we thought she was. At the end of last year, we at 94Five had the pleasure of meeting up with the stylist who’s looks have been posted across Instagram time and time again giving us major throwback realness. Leah came across our radar when Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ video blew up upon it’s release, but since then she’s been using her stand out fashion taste to create a styling career, leading her into modelling jobs with Nike, Styling for Rae Sremmurd, and a whole lot more.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in bristol actually, with my Mum and sister, I moved here like 3 and a half years ago to go to Uni, I went to Kings College and studied English, I'm a bit of a nerd really.

Growing up did you think you were gonna go into fashion?

It wasn’t really something I thought of, I would always drag my Mum shopping for like 5 hours on my birthday, I’d always say can we go London for a shopping trip, so its always been something that was naturally in me but in school I was very… English, Maths… I've always been a bit nerdy to be honest.

How did it all start then?

I guess I moved here [to London] and there’s so much more options, like all these vintage shops and stuff, and then I’d be on Instagram just taking pictures, so I guess from that people would say ‘you’ve got kind of a cool style’ and it just naturally made me get to work in it. Now I’m interning.

Scrolling through Leah’s Instagram it’s 00’s and 90’s galore, early last year I tracked down her page and fell in love with her Spice-Girl meets boujee-girl fashion pieces, and it clearly got the attention of the right people with the major moves she’s been making. It’s dope to see a curvy girl owning her body and easily fleeing between a baggy bomber jacket with a pair of Nike’s or a nipple bearing halter top, not caring for the looks or associations, and truly expressing herself through fashion in the way that it should be done - unapologetically. 

What’s your opinion on women in fashion, sexualisation and the idea that it’s often to please the male gaze?

I don’t necessarily think its a bad thing, I might take pictures and they can be a bit sexy but I’m doing it for me. There’s a Drake lyric ‘do it for yourself men never notice’ - if they wanna see it in that way you can’t stop them, people’s minds are sometimes very small. So it’s more about taking ownership of your sexuality and how you present yourself. If you’re in a room full of guys, present yourself in a respectable manner and that’s how they’ll perceive you. It’s just all presentation, I can take a picture in underwear but if I own it, and I’m saying I’m not a hoe then no one can tell me differently.

Whats your definition of femininity?

I would say loving yourself as a woman and being comfortable in your own skin. To me that’s very feminine, I dress often in baggy clothes but will still feel girly.

A2’s latest video release for the turnt track ‘X2 (DBLE)’ shows the effortlessly sultry aesthetic that Leah seamlessly is able to put together, making for a visually futuristic, femme fatal filled visual. Check it out. 

When picking clothes out for yourself what do you base it on?

I don’t base it on much, like today I have an interview with you but I didn’t really base it on that, I guess I wake up and just look at what I’ve got and think what haven’t I worn in a while, base it on normal stuff, decide on normal things, like what’s the weather like.

Where do you shop?

I work in Brick Lane so I get a lot of my stuff from there, so vintage shops or even car boot sales, you can get an amazing top for like £2. In Victoria there’s a triangle of charity shops where people chuck away their designer stuff or even online as well, I can be on eBay shopping for hours.

Why do you think theres a lot more curvier models now?

I think people get bored of seeing the same thing, I think there’s a lot of great styles that can even look better on curvier figures. I think you can get a variety of fashion out if there’s a variety of models too, I think it’s cool and the Internet has definitely helped that, it allows people to see their clothes on real people.

Do you have any favourite models?

Not really but there’s a girl I know called Paloma (@palomija) she’s from New York and I’ve always thought she was so sick […] I don’t know if she’d call herself a professional model but she does a lot of modelling.

With a modelling campaign for the NikeXRoundell collab plastered all over the Underground and across stores, Leah’s modelling is taking off. Catching up with her in the New Year, she also mentioned her campaign with Illustrated people - stocked in TopShop if your feeling for a lil shopping trip. We’re all here for the popularity of curvier models and are hoping to see Leah’s face more often if that means promoting women of colour and women with ‘real’ figures. 

NikeXRoundell

NikeXRoundell

Illustrated People campaign

Illustrated People campaign

3 people whos style you admire and why?

Rihanna is a boring obvious one but of course her. Not really many celebrities, I’d say my friends, I got a friend called Rhiannon who brings it every, single, time, and probably a boy I know called Conor. People around me. I think the best fashion school going on right now is the working class people. 

Your own fashion choices are really nostalgic, so what are your favourite eras?

I would say 90s, early 2000s, but I do like to mix it with punk from the 80s or 70s bell bottoms - but early 2000’s - very R&B, lip gloss popping. 

What kind of music do you like?

Definitely Grime, R&B, I like a lot of Jazz, especially if it’s live, more instrumental stuff, ‘BadBadNotGood’ is great, there’s a guy called Terence Martin who’s released some really good songs recently, everyone always says ‘Leah you listen to such slow music!’ but I’m happy, the slow jam to me is not because I’m sad, haha. 

What’s your favourite music to listen to when styling?

If I’m getting ready to go out then Garage, I just let my iTunes run so definitely some rap too. 

Would you say the fashion work your doing is linked to music?

I would say so, I guess a lot of the time when I post on Instagram I’ll use a song lyric as a caption. If I see the image and it reminds me of a music video or a song then I use that. If I could sing I’d be out there for sure!

How would you describe the creative scene right now?

Ever-changing. People often say style right now has a short expiry date so very fast paced. 

Nearing the end of 2016 Mura Masa released the video for the A$AP Rocky collaboration Love$ick, which Leah had the pleasure of styling and even getting a cameo in, showcasing the real essence of being young and free as a kid in London. 

How did the Love$ick video come about?

I work for a woman called Lucy and we done a few videos for the Director Yoni before and he got Lucy on board and I work for her, so she asked me to help with it because it was a big job, so I worked as her assistant, it was 2 days, we went along together to style it and I managed to even be in with a little cameo at the end there.

How do you pick out the clothes for a shoot?

Sometimes we’ll ask people to bring there own stuff, so these young boys in the video we asked them to bing something because it was about being young and streetstyle, but often it’s going to PR companies or shopping around.

Do you have a favourite brand?

Not really but I love Gucci, I’m not on the full time Gucci budget yet but I have a few vintage pieces from them.

A little time has passed since sitting with Leah but since then her own individual stylist work has been put to the test with her styling the latest video for 808ink, coming out this year. With street-style that often mixes the clothing for Men and Women in her own wardrobe, Leah’s excited about the recognition, ‘particularly as a woman being recognised and appreciated by males as well as females, it was a great feeling when the boys reached out to me personally to be involved’.  She even put together clothes for Rae Sremmurd during their time in London and has also styled singer Jorja Smith. The farms just keep flowing.

What is generation 94five to you?

Our generation is beautiful, were very open minded and a lot more tolerant of each other, of course there’s not nice people in every generation but generally were more accepting of everyone. My group of friends is 10 times more diverse than my mum’s friends or dad’s, because theres a lot more opportunity to be around different people. I’ve seen stuff that happened in history and what hate can do to the world so it’s such a good thing to be in this generation. 

Follow Leah Abbott on Instagram (@leahabbott_) if you’re looking for a lil throwback fashion inspiration mixed with Grime vixen vibes. What’s not to love. If you keep an eye out, she just might be styling one of your fav's very soon. 

This Gal's a Riot - Sophia Tassew

Sophia Tassew, born in Holland, raised in Peckham, is a 19-year-old creative finding and defining herself in London’s creative world. Her most recent project 140 BPM, a fine art exhibition themed around Grime and Hip-Hop, was a huge success showcasing pieces of Sophia’s artwork - a series of film posters inspired by classic R&B, Hip-Hop and Grime albums, her pieces were also featured on BuzzFeed, the Fader, and Saint Heron. Pairing film and music, Sophia’s minimalist movie posters are a result of many passions, “When I listen to music I paint a picture in my head or a film […] being interested in visual art in general and being a big music head it just comes natural to me.” Sophia is not just an artist, she is a gallerist, she loves giving other interesting and expressive artists a platform to showcase their work, her 140 BPM exhibition showcased other visual artists alongside herself and this was just the start for Sophia Tassew, who is already thinking up a “bigger and better” project for this March.

Like many artists, Sophia’s creativity sparked during her childhood - “at a very young age, all I was into was art, TV, and film. I was basically into everything that the teachers hated and everything that my Mum wasn’t really down with.” Growing up, Sophia’s environment played a large roll in influencing her creativity, “With my own work I always try to relate it back to my culture, where I come from, being a teenager from South East London […] I was born in Holland and moved to London when I was about 3, I grew up around Peckham for most of my life. South East London’s had a lot of impact on my creativity, just the environment, the people, the clothes, the way people speak, it’s the little things, which in my eyes is beautiful, but to other people, maybe not.” Peckham has changed a lot over recent years, and Sophia admits recently, “It’s gentrified as fuck, it’s just like, so different”, there has been a host of little cafes and warehouse club nights starting up in the area, this of course has its drawbacks and benefits, we’ve all been hearing good things about the nightlife in Peckham - “you know what, I don’t wanna sound like a hypocrite, I went to one of the clubs, one of the local clubs, it was quite good” but what Sophia loves most about Peckham is the old community, “my favourite thing was the people, the culture, I think there was a proper sense of family. I knew literally every shopkeeper, I knew the people who would sit across the roads […], you know what I mean?”.

Sophia Tassew shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Sophia Tassew shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Last year, Sophia decided to leave University, although she understands education is important - “there are so many courses that might be super helpful, but for me personally, I don’t think University is essential, I’d rather go out and get the work, get the portfolio”. There are many reasons Sophia decided to leave her studies in Media and Communications, she admits “I just felt like I wasn’t gaining or learning anything, I was feeling uninspired […] maybe I expected too much from Uni, like in the movies or something, but I found it creatively draining”. After leaving University Sophia had landed herself a full-time job as the youngest Junior Art Director at FCB Inferno. Although she says she doesn’t feel 19 sometimes, she enjoys being apart of the creative department - “the project managers set you briefs […] they then brief us, we are the creatives […] the art director looks at visuals, how do we go about a campaign? aesthetics, things like that”. 

We began talking about diversity in the creative industries, a topic I can tell Sophia has thought about - “I can say that it’s not diverse at all. Me being the youngest and being Black feels good because I am contributing something new. Organic insight. Something authentic and not just what they think young people would like. But it is disappointing. It is disappointing”. At least we can see that at some levels, barriers are being broken, however, it is slow. When I ask Sophia about being so young at Inferno she acknowledges, “I think they doubted me at first because I had never worked in an advertising agency before and hadn’t really worked in a creative professional environment and being 19 I think they kind of thought what does she know about campaigns […] what do we give her to do?”

sophia-tassew-1.jpg

In October 2016, Sophia curated and exhibited at her first show, 140 BPM. At 19 she got to check off one of her life ambitions pretty early, “I have always wanted to have my own art exhibition, always, it’s been a dream […] the idea kind of stemmed from the posters I made, only mine was a small body of work, so I thought why not to turn it into something bigger […] I wanted to bring other people on board. So I hand-picked the artists.” After that, the idea became a reality rather quickly after she spoke with a friend who put her in touch with a marketing agency - “Converse bought the idea and it just kind of flourished from there”. There is a lack of fine art exhibitions in London where young minorities can view art relating to their personal experiences and I think this accounted the exhibitions success. “It was so overwhelming seeing the reception, I heard there was a line around the corner, that was so lovely to hear […] I feel like a lot of us aren’t exposed to fine art so it’s really sick to have a fine art exhibition, for us.”

If you could turn any 3 albums into a documentary or film?

“Boy In Da Corner - Dizzy Rascal, Telefone - Noname, good kid, m.A.A.d city - Kendrick Lamar”

Favourite movie soundtrack?

“Boyz n the Hood”

Who or what inspires you?

“Aesthetically Missy Elliot, mostly her work in the 90s, the make up and music videos.”

“My environment, people, culture, I am very passionate about young people and our culture, just being super unapologetic, expressive, and proud of where I come from.”

Favourite visual artists?

“Frida Kahlo, Anish Kapoor”

Describe London’s creative scene?

“Booming!”

What is generation 94/5 to you?

“We are just on a completely different wave. There’s a difference in what we appreciate. I would say we are nostalgic.”

To know all things Sophia you can follow her on Twitter @SophiaTassew and Insta @Manlikesophia.

Thea Gajic: Creating Her Own Work With Words

Thea Gajic is an Actress, Film Maker, and Spoken Word Artist who seems to string words together in brilliant detail, highlighting the very humane part of our emotions and pin- pointing the details of every day life that we can relate to. The busy creative is set to release her next short film “Guilt” soon, so we caught up with Thea to explore her world of film and have a moment to discuss her inspirations before it all kicks off for her this year.

Thea Gajic shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Thea Gajic shot by 94Five - More at 94Five.tumblr

Where did you grow up? How old are you? 

“I’m 22, I grew up on an estate in Brixton Hill called Roupell Park estate, I lived there 15 years and moved to Crystal Palace a couple years ago.” 

I first came across Thea’s way with words on A2’s “Jasmine Tea” and fell in love with her spoken word piece that introduces the track, so much so that I had it on replay for weeks to follow. With the magic she brought to A2’s track it’s no surprise she’s embedding her poetry in music once again, with Jorja Smith’s “Carry me home” ft. Maverick Sabre.

Is music something you'd ever want to pursue yourself? 

“A lot of people first heard of me because of music but I always started with acting, music kind of just kind of came and... happened. Pane & Yardz from back in the day, they were my close close friends, they were doing their rap thing and everyone knew them in the area, so I was always with them in their studio, so I was always around music, they used to go to a producers studio, called Dice, that’s how I met Bonkaz, just mutual friends and such. I used to write short stories and obviously I acted. Then one of my friends, back when George the Poet started out, he wanted to start his own spoken word platform, and because he’d read my stories and watched me act he said you’d be good at that [...] one day I tried and then people liked it and that was kind of it. So then the first [poem] I did music wise was with Bonkaz and my friend Jords called ‘Nala’s pride’, then ‘Jasmine Tea’ with A2 and now with Jorja [...] Music’s never been something I wanted to do it just kind of came about.” 

“With all of these creative things you have to be whole heartedly into it, because I’m whole heartedly into film and acting I can’t be whole heartedly in music and songwriting [...] maybe eventually if I can, when I build my name up, but I’m not trying to build a career like that from the start it would be a bit difficult, but I definitely would” 

How did you get into acting? 

“I always did it as a child, then with Pane & Yardz again I acted in their music video as the set up chick, they shot in my house and all that, then from there I kind of took it more seriously and it just helped me to build upon that, because I always had some sort of following from there.” 

Even though Thea’s poems always seem to be magic it’s interesting to find out that she never really saw poetry as a conscious creative direction, it all stemmed from that opportunity with a friend and the rest was history. “I was writing stuff to be heard, but now I write them to be read. Like with the Jorja Smith track, I stopped thinking of them as pieces of spoken word that’ll be heard and just approach them as pieces on their own. A lot of spoken word artists I hate their flow, they get into this false rhythm. I’d rather them just let them be pieces of writing. When I’m recording and they put the metronome on I’m like I can’t deal with this!” and it’s this attention to the poetry in it’s entirety that seems to make Thea’s pieces the perfect additions to music made for the soul.

Photography by @stfndocs

Photography by @stfndocs

“I literally started film making so I can act, I got fed up of waiting for stuff, auditions, and agents [...] I was hesitant with script writing because as an actress I know how good they have to be in order to act them out well, with how much training I’ve had to dissect scripts. So to do it yourself, you’re thinking is this good enough for someone else to be able to tell the story. It put me off for a long time. I wrote my first film in 2014 [...] got free kit from a company I’m close with, just got random people to help me who wanted to get into it and some friends to act in it for me and that was it. Since then, I realised this was a way for me to create my own work and put it out there.” 

This do it yourself mentality is something that I think is driving the new age creative industry forward and it sparks excitement and inspiration. It’s something that can’t be manufactured. When the creativity is honest and direct from a source that is working for passion rather than profit, it creates art that feels real and Thea’s film work is just that. 

“I met Olan [Collardy], the guy that shot “Run” and shot my new film “Guilt” which isn’t out yet. I met him a handful of years ago at Latimer, I’m close with them and they always have networking events [...] exchanged details, followed each other randomly on twitter and ended up acting for him in something that he did. From then on we created a working relationship and now we’re a strong duo [...] I’m lucky to have him on board, I trust him and it works, he just makes things look good, you know?” 

What was the concept behind “Run”? 

“Originally the poem, it was just like going through things with guys. Just thinking know what you want. I think actors are very observant and understanding of people because we have to be but it gets to a point where your like, bro!? I think women are very nurturing and we give a lot and then still... but I didn’t want it to be a man bashing thing because I love men, so I was conscious of that. Which is why in the film it was the girl who said ‘you’re beautiful by the way’” 

A line that made me fall in love with Thea’s film work. We spoke a little more about the vision behind the upcoming film “Guilt” which will be released in January. “I’m tryna create films that are about more working class people, and like the people I grew up around, as opposed to always middle class, middle aged. I’m trying to create stories that are usually told by older, richer people and bring it to a younger audience and community. “Guilt” is about young parents who’s child goes missing, these things happen in every community, but you never see it [...] like how do 22-year-olds deal with that? I’m tryna go down that road more, like I said, I grew up in a council estate in Brixton Hill, I was around so many different types of people and you don’t even see Black families on TV. [...] London is one of the most multi-cultural places and you don’t see any other people, not even just Black, but Turkish, Asian, whatever, any people [...] I’m trying to use my voice to tell those different stories. Which is why “Guilt” is about that” 

What does the title mean? 

“As the story unfolds you learn that both parents could’ve done something to prevent it. It’s very much like “Run” in a sense where nothing really happens up until a certain point. I like that, taking a moment in life. life is like that you know, nothing really happens in life, people walk and have a conversation, or sit and talk, and then... something happens. People will probably leave after “Guilt” thinking ‘oh my God so what’s happened’, I like leaving things like that.” 

As simple as it sounds I think Thea’s description is a perfect depiction of “Run” and observantly reflective of life - Young guys and girls just talking about nothing at all really, until something happens, something that stays with you, or makes you feel something a little more and then it passes and we just do nothing again. If “Guilt” is as humane as “Run” it’ll be a refreshing watch and one I’m sure will also be touching. Check out “Run” below, which was screened at BFI’s Black Star, which Thea not only wrote and starred in, but she also worked as Director and Producer for the short film too.

Do you think there’s a core aim in all your work as you’re creating film, poetry, and acting? 

“With poetry I usually just write how I feel at that time and if I’m happy with it I’ll release it, but with film it’s a little more conscious. The only one I think about to that extent is film because I’m trying to promote that idea of realistic communities, but you can’t think about it too much as well and make art entirely for the purpose of other people too much or it changes your reason for doing it and feels like work - I try not to think too much about it but I obviously am aware of it to an extent because it’s important to use that voice to create change along the line, and as an actress I’m trying to choose roles that actually have substance and mean something.” 

As time went on it was easy talking to Thea and understanding her passion for film as an actress. There was an attention to detail that was clear as she spoke about her interests and it made you acutely aware of how there can be such loveliness in the details of our lives because of how she focuses on it within film. I asked a few questions so you could all get to know Thea a little bit more along with us. 

What’s your favourite film? 

“A French film called ‘La Haine’ [1995], I was like 13 or 14 with my Dad and he just said, we’re watching this. I remember it being black and white and thinking what is this but then he put it on and I just thought oh my God. It kind of sparked my love for foreign film, I think French films in particular, they have a way of capturing subtleties and just, rawness. That film has always stayed with me. I have loads of favourites but that film always comes to mind.” 

Is there an actor/actress who inspires you? 

“Going back to the French again, but I like a French actress called Marion Cotillard, she’s just aways doing really good work and a variety.” 

What kind of music do you listen to? 

“Now I listen to pretty much everything, I guess not Rock but everything else. I grew up on like R&B, Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul so that’s my favourite but as you get older you listen to more. My Dad used to play harmonica, he’s Serbian, so he has a lot of world music, he introduced me to Fela Kuti, Jazz musicians [...] so now I listen to world music too.” 

Do you have a favourite song lyric? 

“I don’t know about just one lyric but at the moment it’s one of the songs from Jorja’s EP called ‘So Lonely’ it’s my favourite. It changes all the time though, sometimes it’s an A2 song... it’s nice having friends who also make music that I love.” 

How would you describe generation 94Five? 

“I think we waver from extreme confidence to extreme none communication. I think our sense of fear and none fear is always up and down. Generations before us had to get things in other ways and suddenly we’re presented with the Internet [...] when we were little it wasn’t a big thing and we’ve just jumped onto it fully at 16, 17, 18 [...] I think it’s good because we can create work ourself and put things out there, but I think because it occurred at an age where we’re meant to be communicating more effectively, it made it difficult for a lot of people to communicate face to face [...] but hey at least we had like 15 years without it.”

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Next year Thea will be exploring the States with her invitation to Sundance Film Festival and releasing “Guilt” for us lucky viewers, so keep your eyes peeled for the project. We may even get a full feature film from Thea and her film partner Olan Collardy, continuing on from her work Directing, Producing, Writing, and Featuring in all of her short films herself. (What doesn’t she do?!) 

Is there one area you want to focus on in future? 

“I’ll never drop acting so everything else is up for grabs. I think acting and writing I’ll always do both. I’ll definitely do a variety of different writing and always incorporate that.” 

You can check out her work on TheaGajic.com and explore her Instagram and Twitter to keep up with the actress. The future seems to be exciting for Thea and we’re eager to see what will become of her work next.

GARMS: Kill Babe Interview

Like a lot of us growing up in some of London’s more economically ‘deprived’ areas, the hustle mentality becomes a part of you, and becoming creative with her resources, Tinomi, founder of Kill Babe, birthed a brand that is made to uplift and strengthen women of colour - it’s made for the baddest - a way to really showcase the individual taste of its wearer and embody the beauty of a London girl setting trends. “It’s interesting having grown up in inner London seeing fashions little Black girls wore and styled becoming trends, cheap accessories that we used to buy in Black hair shops now being sold in Urban Outfitters for £20+, or white girls with intricately shaped ‘baby hair’ on high fashion runways.” The 24-year-old Nigerian born designer is using Kill Babe to take back ownership of the fashion statements that young Black girls so proudly sport, and take that to a level that can be accessible for any girl, without theft or appropriation - we can all have an essence of bad ass with Kill Babe.

What does Kill Babe mean to you?

“Kill Babe is a name I mulled over for a while. Women - particularly women of colour - are not told their worth, we’re taught we’re more desirable when we’re meek and self-deprecating. Kill Babe rejects that and encourages unapologetic self love. It’s essentially a statement of empowerment and, in a sense, encouragement for those that need it.”

What inspired you to create your brand?

“I felt like I had a statement to make, and needed a way to convey it. Kill Babe seemed like the perfect outlet as some of the most powerful statements have been made through fashion.”

Describe the girl that wears Kill Babe, who is she?

“I’m not sure why, when, or how drunk I was, but I think I once said the line ‘make mixtapes for pretty brown girls that won’t look at you’ - I initially imagined that being the Kill Babe girl. She’s obsessed over and emotionally aloof. She’s also obsessed with herself, she puts herself first. Ultimately, I’d like Kill Babe to represent all women and femmes of colour - that’s very important to me.”

The fashion forward designer is completely self-taught and is actually quite the intellectual, studying Biomedical Science at University and then moving on to Law. The perfect example of a Boss Chick who can do it all and I think when I first came across Kill Babe on Instagram it’s that energy that drew me to make a purchase. The witty captions on the photos that spoke on female empowerment or mental health made it clear to me that this was a brand I wanted to be associated with. It’s for the girls who know themselves, what they want, are unapologetic with who they are, and the “BADGAL” tee is now one of my wardrobe go to’s. The attention to detail is dope, with labels that read sassy quotes like, “I am a work of art, I am in awe of myself” or “when you look better than everyone who hates you” - it’s easy to fall in love with the culture relevant, comfortable clothing.

We see Rihanna is inspo for your ‘Gram and also some clothing items. What is it about her you like so much?

“Honestly I think I’m drawn to her because she’s an embodiment of so much of what Kill Babe is about. Apart from that, I like the fact that she’s pretty unfiltered and remained true to herself and her roots - which can be near impossible as a prominent Black woman in an industry run by white men. In terms of fashion, all her outfits bang. Everything just works.”

Many of your pieces are slogan or text based, how do you go about choosing or creating the fonts?

“Sometimes I just have an image in my mind of exactly what I want and I search until I find it, but sometimes I have to play around for so long with size, shape, composition, colour before I’m satisfied. I’m very particular about things, which is good, but it’s also awful. I know the font and design are right when I have absolutely no compulsion to go back to it for probably the fiftieth time.”

Your clothing feels quite DIY and we’ve seen pieces that are made-to-order, would you like to keep it like this as you grow?

“Yeah, for the most part it’s super DIY. Kill Babe started off with me just experimenting with transfer prints on T-Shirts and the experimental element stuck. I think DIY and made-to-order pieces are what have worked best for me as I currently work alone and still have limited resources, and the DIY aspect also aids my creativity. Doing everything yourself has become a lot more difficult as the brand has gotten such unexpected interest and increase in demand so quick. I feel like I’ve been doing this for so long but it’s crazy to think I only started a few months ago. I would love to expand Kill Babe as a brand, at which point I would consider changing around a few things, partly for my own sanity, but also to be able to get items and orders completed much quicker. I'm always looking for more efficient ways to work.”

Who’s style do you admire?

“I love my Mum’s style, she always looks good! She’s an icon, I aspire to be her.”

What drew you towards fashion design?

“My Mum sparked my interest in fashion design - my Grandma was a successful and well loved seamstress in Apapa, Lagos. she’d make clothes for my Mum, which I feel moulded her style and creativity. She picked up technical skills from my Grandma and although I have nowhere near the same skill, she encouraged me to sketch outfits and designs from an early age.”

Does music influence your creativity? If so what kind of music do you listen to when you work?

“I listen to music while I work more so because it increases my productivity. Grime is my go-to genre for all situations. Tempa T’s voice is particularly motivating. But at the moment I’m listening to Section constantly, and 67.”

“I’m actually working on some pieces influenced by Grime and London youth, which I can’t wait to get done.”


How would you describe your own personal style?

“My style is hard to describe. I’ve been very lazy with fashion lately. I literally throw things together and somehow make them work - it’s very mix and matched. I’m not trendy lol”

You speak about empowerment of women of colour. What do you hope your creativity will do for these women?

“As I said, I really hope the message Kill Babe conveys is that it’s okay to love yourself without reservation, it’s okay to be ‘bossy’ and assertive, it’s okay to acknowledge your self-worth. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and issues with my image, it’s a message I wish I’d absorbed so long ago(!)”

What do you see next for Kill Babe?

“At the moment I don’t know (honestly). Kill Babe has already surpassed my expectations so I hope for big things. Currently working on a very cool collab that I can’t wait to get done. And I’m hoping to expand on the basics and eventually create ‘serious’ fashion pieces. Bossy things.”

Shop KillBabe online for garms, accessories, and their latest thigh high boots. Follow the Tumblr and Instagram page to keep up to date with newly released items and giveaways.