by Laura Feinstein
Since its humble beginnings in 2004 as a small, free concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcafé in Fort Greene, Brooklyn the AfroPunk Festival has blossomed into a full, two-day cultural juggernaut with thousands of attendees. Held at Commodore Barry Park, this year’s festivities included performances by Bad Brains, D'Angelo, Shabbazz Palaces, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Princess Nokia and many others. Enhancing this eclectic line-up was the AfroPunk Spin Thrift Market, a fully stocked outdoor bazaar featuring everything from handmade head-wraps to Ghanaian textiles to rare records and Misfits T-shirts. Below are four makers from the market that were standouts—and worth keeping an eye on.
Run by the SABA Collective, a group of young creative designers who fuse modern urban fashion with African crafts, and spearheaded by the Kanu Sisters of West Africa, AMYANG Fashun (am-i-young) derives inspiration from incorporating traditional elements into everyday attire. Offering everything from custom clothing to reconstructed vintage, AMYANG offers a unique take on tradition—with nods to punk fashion tastefully integrated.
Run (and modeled here) by brother-and-sister duo Fei and Edward, Fancy Muffin creates the kind of loud, colorful DIY streetwear that New York in the early '90s was once famous for. Though they sell a range of threads—from vintage treasures to their own tie-dyed and screen-printed goods—some of the most popular and eye-catching pieces are the re-purposed, studded and patched jean shorts.
I Am That I Am
Designer, musician, aerobics instructor and self-proclaimed goddess, BAJANALLA is a woman of prodigious talent. Also a musician, she was selling her range of bold and colorful hand-dyed tops, dresses, sarongs and body-wraps at Afropunk this year—many of which can be worn more than one way and are perfect for embracing one's inner-deity.
Named for her Jamaican grandmother, Joan Morgan’s organic line of perfumes and products are meant to conjure the sense memories of youth and adventure. For Jamaica-born, New York City-raised Morgan, scents have always been significant—reminding her of trips home, "Lemongrass teas, Westmoreland’s mountains post-rainfall, a piece of driftwood at dusk and the sweetness of the Caribbean Sea are some of the many inspirations," she says. And, during a jam-packed weekend filled with loud music, the Emily Jayne booth—filled with delectably fragrant body butters, styling cremes and body oils—was like a little breezy island vacation.
While the market was certainly a highlight, there's no denying that Afropunk attendees are worth watching themselves. Check out the slideshow for photos of some of the most striking looks we came across this year.
Images by Jodi Sussman