Four Standout Makers at 2014 AfroPunk Festival
From fragrant body oils to punk twists on traditional attire, highlights from this year's market
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