#AFROPUNKWESEEYOU: THE BOHEMIAN BRANDS
October 10, 2019
AFROPUNK caught up with the modern creative entrepreneurs The Bohemian Brand as they prepare to open their Souk Bohemian shop at the SpinThrift Market at AP ATL this weekend.
What was your inspiration for creating The Bohemian Brands?
The word bohemian in, “modern use” usually speaks to a style of clothing or aesthetic. We wanted to highlight the use of the word outside of the way you dress, or where you’re from. Our goal was to provide a platform that collectively honors our creative spirits and endeavors.
The Brown and Black community are the MOST creative, resourceful, imaginative, and influential group of people with the LEAST amount of recognition. We hope the stories we tell and the art we create are a small, but meaningful piece of pouring back into our community.
Souk Bohemian – is our lifestyle brand of apparel, accessories and home goods. Through our online shop we partner with global artisans to bring a collection of pieces to those of our tribe who may not have the time to travel to Morocco for a Berber rug, or to Mexico City for leather bags.
Brown Bohemians – is a coffee table book that captures the essence and stories of an otherwise underrepresented demographic. Pushing past the stereotypical ideals of clothing, or a particular form of artistry. This book is about bringing a vital, and virtual movement on social media into a tangible format. The projected release date for the Brown Bohemians photo book is December 2019.
Bohemian Eats – Is a social media platform that showcases curated restaurant design and decor.
Once you had the idea, how did you develop The Bohemian Brands movement on your social media platform?
We really made sure that each brand had a story and that visually you could weave all of them together. We wanted the palette to be clean and minimal, but also tell create a visual language we could share with our Tribe. We are definitely known for our black skin, black panties, white sheets, and palm plants. LOL!
We wanted our brands to always feel welcoming and accessible, yet leave a touch of aspiration in some ways. From the sayings we choose to create shirts out of like “Call for a good time” or our “Morning Masturbation” tee.
We like for our pieces to start a conversation, and allow for ownership around topics that can feel “taboo”. You can absolutely “Call for a good time”, with the idea that maybe sex is the “good time”, or maybe the good time is protesting the abortion laws, breaking down gender biases, ending generational traumas, or discussing why PornHub has so many fucking pop ups?
Who knows… BUT you have every single right to let it be ANY one of those mentioned above without judgment. You have the right to wear a shirt that talks about masturbation; that helps end the ridiculous shame that it puts on women who touch themselves, the audacity right… to love on my own damn body?
We just hope that through our messaging, our apparel, our photos, and our short films that you find even more comfort in being your authentic self.
You love fashion, design, film, travel, art, and culture. How did you engage a community of creatives in your vision to support and collaborate with The Bohemian Brands’ lifestyle and movement?
My business partner, Morgan and I are both from California, but living in Atlanta has really brought our creative pursuits forward. We are surrounded by some of the MOST creative, inspiring, passionate women you could ever come across, and that really has ignited our brands.
If we needed a painter, a DJ, a chef, a graphic designer, an influencer, a wig maker, a model, literally anything… we didn’t have to look outside of our circle. We were always putting each other onto other opportunities, collaborating, or supporting one another on this journey.
There is not a SINGLE area of our brands that we have not collaborated with a POC on. Collaboration will always be a foundation of our brand, its growth, and its values. We inspire each other to take risks, try new ideas, and push ourselves, and our brand into new spaces.
Why is it important for creative people of the African Diaspora to own our narratives, traditions, and history in a world filled with colonization and cultural appropriation?
Often times the stories, images, and ideas of our community are stripped from us or watered down. There are not enough spaces that allow for us to be authentic, so we have been actively, and adamantly create them for ourselves. Representation really was the MOST important factor when working on the Brown Bohemians Coffee Table Book. We wanted to make sure the stories and images were not touched or edited by the publisher. We wanted to make sure the language stayed intact…that images weren’t picked apart to fit into “their” idea of what black people “are” or “should” be.
It took almost 3 years of conceptualizing, and another year just in negotiations with the publisher to have FULL creative control over the project, but there was no way to move forward if we couldn’t. It means too much to our community to let anything slip through the cracks, or send the book off to printing and hope it keeps its integrity.
How does it feel to have The Bohemian Brands to be a part of the AFROPUNK festival, community, and marketplace?
For starters it is always incredible being in a space that is filled to the brim with POC living in their highest light! We have been part of the AFROPUNK family since it came to Atlanta; Morgan and I hosted a stage during its first year! Although we have a history with the brand, it feels so amazing to have this be the first experience that our tribe will have to shop with Souk Bohemian in person. We get so many DM’s about our tribe wanting a space to visit, so we’re excited to offer a piece of that at the festival. We will do our best to make sure it represents all the elements of our individual brands that make up this collective.
What do you want the AFROPUNK community to experience when they come to your shop at the AFROPUNK Atlanta marketplace?
A sense of home…and sense of wander…
What does We See You mean to you?
This means that we are protected, and safe in a space that is by us and for us. It means you see our highs… you see our lows, and that you are on this imperfectly perfect journey with us.