Photos by Malcolm Johnson | FEATURED FASHIONS #JuaKali #DOPEciety
Jua Kali: Still being founded by artist, pattern enthusiast & patternmaster Mwende “FreeQuency” Katwiwa, Jua Kali is a shapeshifting collection of Kenyan made clothing, jewelry and accessories for people of all genders and gender expressions. It is also one of many entrepreneurial effort to ensure Africans on the continent financially benefit from the recent resurgence of “African & African inspired”, and an effort to train young women in New Orleans in entrepreneurship through gig based employment and mentorship.
Dopeciety: Founded by artist/designer Denisio Truitt in 2013 as a t-shirt and women’s apparel line, DOPEciety now includes items for both men and women, bags, art prints, and occasional collaborations with other artists/designers. We are also an event production and curation team, featuring emerging vocalists, musicians, and visual artists through our flagship show, COUCHES, held intermittently at different locations in New Orleans. www.dopeciety.com
French Quarters:Growing up in Treme, the French Quarters were always apart of my backyard and as I got older always told, that area was for the tourist, and that I shouldn’t spend too much time down there. I did not understand why people were giving that particular area in the city so much restriction. I went to predominantly black school my whole life, so recognizing my blackness wasn’t an issue until I got to college. I attend a PWI and after a few weeks there, I had to take into account of my blackness in many situations. After my experiences in college, I realized why people told me, as a kid, not be hanging around in the quarters too often. As a creator, It’s hard to stay away from something that drives your creativity And the French Quarters are important to me for that reason. It is one of the few places that I can go to and get a creative energy from. The quarters are flowing with vivid colors, funky shapes, and rhythmic melodies all which influence me as a creator. Lately, I’ve been lacking motivation and creativity but with the push of this shoot and visiting the French Quarters with Mwende and Denisio, I got a lot of inspiration for the shoot and for future projects. Even though being a black male in public can be uncomfortable at times, I feel that as a creator, I can always go to the quarters and be comfortable.