Posts in Mixed heritage
When Creativity Comes from Within
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Maintaining focus on the new collection whilst writing and reflecting here is more important than documenting my own development regarding understanding digital marketing here I think? You may disagree?

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Creating the ‘We Are Here’ collection was exciting because I was experimenting with my creative expression whilst keeping to the core concept of the brand about the visibility of women of colour.

Coupling the artistic element with my own experiences was cathartic because it is an ongoing internal dialogue for me especially regarding my own identity and perceptions of self.

This design, ‘Where Are you From? You Look Like You’re From…’ Is a direct response to my own experiences growing up and still to this day.

When you have mixed heritage, sometimes it may be obvious what you ethnic background is sometimes not, as is the case for my mum and I.

Most people are intrigued and can sense that we are not ‘fully English’, so it becomes a guessing game of sorts and more fun, particularly for me when the answers vary significantly.

Speaking with other mixed heritage, mostly women, about this they tell very similar stories. Especially if their heritage is of Indian descent, like my mums. They find that the most common guess is Spanish or South American too, which of course is not a problem. But again interesting as we also hear that we do not look typically Indian, whatever that is.

Either way, we are white passing which enables us to live a much more privileged life than many other people of colour. So it is important to maintain perspective on this aspect.

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This design, ‘Where Are you From? You Look Like You’re From…’ Is a direct response to my own experiences growing up and still to this day.

When you have mixed heritage, sometimes it may be obvious what you ethnic background is sometimes not, as is the case for my mum and I.

Most people are intrigued and can sense that we are not ‘fully English’, so it becomes a guessing game of sorts and more fun, particularly for me when the answers vary significantly.

Speaking with other mixed heritage, mostly women, about this they tell very similar stories. Especially if their heritage is of Indian descent, like my mums. They find that the most common guess is Spanish or South American too, which of course is not a problem. But again interesting as we also hear that we do not look typically Indian, whatever that is.

Either way, we are white passing which enables us to live a much more privileged life than many other people of colour. So it is important to maintain perspective on this aspect.

This design ‘What’s Up’ came from a linear drawing of two Indian Model from Vogue India. They were styled in traditional sari’s but had so much sass, they really captured my imagination and I knew I wanted to include them as a design.

I felt they embodied the way in which women are feeling much more empowered with not only their bodies but also their voice. Being unapologetic for their opinions and being authentically them and this is what I want to remember when I wear and look at this t-shirt. I hope others do too.

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Identity, Representation and the Self - Myself

There are many miles stones in peoples lives that leave an impression, influences who you are, along with your upbringing and heritage. 

At a fancy dress party - theme? Old ladies?

At a fancy dress party - theme? Old ladies?

The confusion of mine (growing up with my mums duel heritage and adoption) coupled with going to university, meeting people from different ethnic backgrounds and moving to Tokyo and being submerged in a completely different culture, has helped me think about my identity and process many aspects of how I view myself. And still do. Which has played out in my art work. Art is therapy as they say, as unintentional as it has been. 

The exploration has helped and given me a space in which to experiment, not only my expressive side but what it means to me on an emotional level.

Identity and viewing representations of yourself within the world in which you grow up is so important. Hence the beginning of the clothing brand. A space to bring together many concepts. 

I love my expression in this photo, so many possible captions.  

I love my expression in this photo, so many possible captions.  

The truth is at this juncture in my life I do wonder if the questions I still have about my identity and how I self identify will ever be resolved. Will I ever be at one with myself? What I do know is that I am not going to press for any immediate answers but let various processes occur and see where this journey takes me.   

For the brand I envisage it becoming more streamlined with Indian identity and representation. I would like to explore this side more and meet women who are also Indian and from a similar background to myself, to hear and share their narrative. 

This would truly be about exploring representation and identity, which is an exciting avenue, open enough for the creative path to take which ever direction it chooses and in turn be played out though my art work and subsequently the brand. 

Back to the Beginning

As the title of this story suggests, reflecting on my history is important to create a meaningful brand.

This is my story.

My mother was born to an Indian mother and an English father. She was adopted due to interracial relationships not being accepted at the time. Ironic as the 1960’s is heralded as the start of female emancipation - only for some I guess? 

Her adoption, by a German mother and English father, who had also adopted a boy from Singapore and another girl of African or Caribbean mixed heritage, were very progressive for their time. The United Colours of Benneton a friend of mine coined some time ago. 

However sadly due to the time there was no celebration of cultural diversity. You were made to fit in the white mould and suffer racial discrimination as and when it came. It came. 

We have spoken about tracing her background but it is fraught with many bureaucratic hurdles that I do not want to enforce as it is her journey, her emotions. 

The brand is mine.  

Exploring identity, embracing identity and seeking role models who I can align my self with. Feeling empowered. 

Thinking about my childhood made me delve into the archives and find images that made me reminisce and smile for one reason or another.  

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I love this photo as I remember the experience of wearing Indian clothing and celebrating Divali by dancing in front of the school. It really was such an exciting experience and one that was given to me by my teacher. I thank her for that as I was able to celebrate Indian culture that was part of my heritage but not within my home growing up due to my mums adoption. It was a celebration of the festival but internally it was my own celebration. 

I recall loving the colour of the clothes and the embellishment, sequins galore, it looked and felt so luxurious. And practising the dance routine was so much fun. I remember we had batons to use and make them click, the sound was electric. 

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This photo makes me laugh. I wanted to wear trousers so badly. I was quite tom boyish when I was younger and liked the freedom they brought and was very much insistent on wearing them. I was aware of what I wanted from a young age I think that is why my teacher put me in certain roles, to channel my energy and determination. 

This emotive energy is what I want to remember and channel in to this work, this business, the brand and ethos. 

There are many stories about there. So much variation, diversity, that needs to be recognised and given a space in which to be celebrated.  

I hope to contribute to this narrative.