After our first dinner date, Mario and I weren't ready to part ways. Instead, we decided to leave Noe Valley and head over to this striking view. We left the restaurant and took a car closer to this location. After we got out of our share ride, I climbed up the steep, dirt hill in my booties, while firmly gripping my date's arm. We arrived at the peak and made our way to a picnic bench where the winds were not forgiving. We bonded over deep conversation and extreme winds until we couldn't shiver anymore. Although this location is in our neighborhood, we had not been back since then. We found it appropriate to host our next collaboration there once we learned that the FREE headquarters (a.k.a Sargent Studios) was located in the same hood.
FREE the label was created in 2015 by entrepreneur Tyrice Rashad. The label represents freedom and independence with a heavy concentration on historical references to art, music, and movies. Although the brand romanticizes different time period's such as the 90's, Tyrice believes in innovation and strives to create his own mold. From the surface the brand's overall look and current theme mimics a total institution, which seems ironic when expressing freedom and independence. Instead, the designer uses what appears to be an oppressive theme against itself and in turn brings power to a rebellion, for those who are able to look beyond the surface.
As I head into my major classes this semester, my goal is to incorporate more Humanitarian topics into my website. There is so much more to me than "looking cute" and "shop my look here," and I want to begin to creatively convey these depths into my blog. As a humanities major we focus on a broad range of topics that come full circle. We study art, language, literature, music, philosophy, and religion. Our curriculum strives to give us a well-rounded view on these topics and teaches us to think critically about how they relate to each other, ourselves, and the world.
During my first week of classes I have learned that artists work with and against whatever their "form" may be. In terms of art, form can be described as an acquired set of conventions, structures, and boundaries we assume a piece will adopt. Artists often break traditional "boundaries" within their work to make it their own. Tyrice has created a label that masters this definition. The label is full of "unbasic" basics that instead explore complex topics. Many of the shirts the line carries make reference to musical artists like Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and R.Kelly who faced the law under a magnifying glass. Tyrice uses popular celebrities in order to convey a common message- "FIGHT THE SYSTEM". Fans often feel connected to musicians through their lyrics, and the designer uses these images to spread a liberating message on a larger, more relatable scale.
The Fall/Winter 2016 mood board Mario and I brought to life was inspired by feminist views. Tyrice recognizes that the world is changing and women have more power in our society now, than ever before and wanted to convey this message through photos. Coincidentally, Mario often prefers that I am the dominant person in our photos which aligns perfectly with this theme. He is comfortable enough with his masculinity to let me shine which is a beautiful trait in a patriarchal society. I love that he trusts our dynamic enough to do so without debate. The Home page of FREE---official.com poetically reads, "Women should have the freedom to move through the waking world as if they are at rest. So we designed our pieces to make every day feel like a comfortable dream." The designer believes it is society's responsibility to make women feel safe in their skin and surroundings. Comfort in turn creates confidence which will further allow women to live up to their full potential. In addition, his clothing line physically brings comfort to every day life with soft, breathable fabrics.
Collaborating with FREE was a great fit for several reasons. In many ways, we were on the same page prior to discussion which is always a good sign. From location, to glorifying women in power, standing up for the underdog, and the urge to take our creativity to the next level. Working together opened a door for me to discuss topics I've wanted to expand on, but wasn't sure what approach to take. I hope you enjoyed exploring these complex subjects with me and that you are inspired to stand up for something you believe in.
Shop these tops, jackets, and more by visiting free---official.com
Photos shot by Zavia Ahmed