Asha +

SaimahSays: How would you describe your work?
Asha: I would describe my work for the most as kind of melancholy but I sort of balance that out by using bright vibrant colours. So like the meaning behind the drawing is sad, but the bright colours make it appear positive on the surface. My favourite colour is orange and I use it a lot in my work. My work is also kinda naive in the sense like the illustration style isn’t super polished; the proportions of the people I draw aren’t perfect and I don’t aim for the lines and the colouring to be super neat so I guess it gives off a laid back vibe.
 Asha’s work is available for purchase via Depop – Asha_fo

ashateru_

Insta: @ashateru_

House of Balloons

TheWeeknd_RollingStone

The Weeknd’s ‘House of Balloons’ celebrates its 7 year anniversary and of course for any fan this means that the mixtape gets reintroduced to your current playlist. Abel Tesfaye introduced himself to the world back in 2011, well, I say introduced but really he never really made himself public for years, which in some aspect was an addition to the persona of The Weeknd.

Whilst all we really got were a few Tumblr and Twitter pics, it seemed to add enough emphasis to how Abel illustrated himself, ‘sex, drugs and beautiful melodies’. Critics would be left stumped as to what genre to place him in, as his sombre tones wouldn’t strictly fit into RnB, whilst his voice emits so much soul and various elements showed a resemblance with indie tones – he is truly a unique artist. This could be considered as a debut for the prevailing sound of todays’ RnB, which is far from what it once was. This drug infused type of sound has managed to pave a way for new artists,  moving on from the baby oiled, crying in the rain, on your knees for a second chance with you a girl you cheated on kind of  vibe, that was once the perception on RnB (so to speak!).

Re-listening to ‘House of Balloons’ is only a reminder that this is a mixtape that really depicts art. For me personally, with this mixtape I could pin point the exact moment I heard it and the feeling I got from the first song I listened to… which was ‘Loft Music’. So you can imagine my 17 year old self going crazy for an artist who I felt was essentially singing directly to a hidden persona. He made the dark, depressed and drug fuelled mood a trend and though The Weeknd himself was (high-key) probably on drugs throughout this period… and probably depressed.. but he was able to produce something that felt relatable, it almost made you feel as though you wanted to be in a similar state of mind to completely understand his reality.

The Weeknd tells a story through each of his songs, talking us through his experiences with drugs and of course women. Whilst engaging in his… activities… The Weeknd still manages to whisper sweet nothings into our ears as he explains the transition from the start of the night as it starts to draw dark and fortuitous. The women, drugs and parties all play apart in where his weaknesses lie, and though he is aware of his addictions and the risks, he continues to fall short on leaving these fixations alone.

One element I enjoy the most about this mixtape, is that Abel makes it easy to relate to his feelings. Picturing the scene for a song could compare to reading a book, the visuals appear in almost second nature to what you hear. Musically, the production on the album can only be described as beautiful. There are frequent moments throughout this album where all we hear are just melodies, and for those moments, the sounds tell the story.

‘House of Balloons’ was given to us at no cost, whilst the level of content could match some of the best sold music of today. Following this, The Weeknd then blessed us with another two free mixtapes, which evidently worked in his favour as the three in total became what we can see today as The Weeknd’s debut album entitled Trilogy. This album presented us with remastered versions of what we heard on the mixtapes, with a few additions.

The ‘House of Balloons’ is undoubtedly The Weeknds’ best album thus far. Don’t @ me.

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TIME IS MONEY

Tannika Taylor, an individual who has featured on my blog a number of times with regards to her fashion brand, Unique Boutique London. For anyone who anyone who isn’t familiar with the young entrepreneur, Tannika amongst all her creative talents is also an author of a trio of books.

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Time is Money, which is self motivational book provides us with an insight in regards to getting the balance right with the various elements within your life. What’s great about this motivational book, is that Tannika dedicates a vast portion of the content to other creatives; shining light on the variety of talents that she has encountered. In addition, for anyone who wouldn’t consider themselves a big reader, the book is short and sweet! From dealing with mental health, to managing your finances, managing your time and so on… there is no doubt that there is something for every creative/business person to take away from this insightful read.

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to interview Tannika, discussing Time is Money as well as surrounding topics. So be sure to give it a watch!

Time is Money is available to purchase here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Money-T-K-Williams-Nelson/dp/1524666483/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

ACIA

acia

[ah-cee-ah]

Latin: thread; line; yarn

acia – a newly found fashion brand created by an individual who is looking to break the boundaries in the fashion world. Suril built acia as a brand with individuality and self expression being key elements. There’s no doubt it sets out to be one of the most highly anticipated, up and coming fashion labels to emerge out of 2017. 

With its roots set in the UK, acia encourages us to not follow the path that society dictates! Based off the underground culture that surrounds us – fashion, music, art, raves, festivals and lifestyle are all key in unapologetically expressing yourself. This is one aspect that continues to keep new ideas developing and consistently helps break down the boundaries conforming society. 

The essence of acia is to “Conform against the masses” – a contradictory term that tells you not to conform to social norms and to live how you want to, from fashion to music to lifestyle”. Unisex clothing today allows more freedom to experiment with our own style with limited restrictions; this also falls into acia’s belief of  “Wear what you want to, be who you want to be”.

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Saimahsays: How/Why did you decide on the name acia? 

Suril: So acia means thread in Latin – I liked the look and the sound of it (I pronounce it ah-she-uh). Obviously there’s thread used in garments however, It runs deeper than this as acia acts as the ‘thread’ running through these different aspects of underground culture and connecting them such as the fashion, the music, the art, the parties, the raves. it’s like an umbrella term holding these areas together.

Saimahsays: What 3 things give you the most influence?

Suril: Of course the culture, I like it’s an ambiguous term – there’s so many
possibilities

2. Everyday life – I like exploring new places and learning about cultures

3. Emotion – this is a creative outlet

Saimahsays: Why did you decide to keep you clothing unisex? and why do you feel as though it is an important direction to head towards? 

Suril: ‘acia’ brand values are centred around eliminating labels and stereotypes from society and being yourself. By maintaining a unisex brand it is one step closer to achieving that. Further I think fashion is moving in this direction anyway and I want to help speed up the process and change people’s perceptions. I’ve seen so many people change their opinion on a garment once they realise it is labelled as the opposite sex to them – even if it fits. I hate the fact that a simple label/title can have such an effect, its so fake. Unfortunately this is a reflection on society and how people are judged based on certain aspects of their lives and not as a person. I

Saimahsays: What made you want to pursue fashion design?

Suril: It’s where my interest has always been and I sort of gravitated towards it naturally. It was also from wanting to wear things which I couldn’t afford.

Saimahsays: What does the future look like for ‘acia’?

Suril: I’m working on my first collection and expanding as a viable business. The business side is draining but I’m trying to get all the logistics in order now to then keep producing dope stuff.

Saimahsays: Do you think you’ve met your vision for acia as a brand?

Suril: I think I’m on the right track, it’s still early days and I’m finding new ways to bring across the brand values and finding the people the brand resonates with. ‘acia’ is all for the underground culture so I’m going to be working with more music artists and creatives in related fields to bring that across and build the culture around the brand too. There’s so many ideas in the works but practically it’s not possible for everything yet – mainly due to funding.

Saimahsays: Who or what is your biggest inspiration to keep on creating? 

SurilMan, avoiding that 9-5 life to be honest. I’m happy if I can get up and do what I love every day you know?
But really I want to give that sense of belonging for those people that feel they’re weird or don’t fit in with their immediate surroundings. Growing up all I wanted to do was fit in so I changed who I was as a person. As I’ve grown I’ve learnt to embrace your differences. The world would be boring if everyone was the same.

Saimahsays:  This field of work is a difficult one to get into and become established. What pushes you to want to succeed within this field in particular, rather then settling for an easier job?

Suril: Like I said, just doing what I enjoy daily. I’ve met so many sick people in the industry and just creatives in general. There is definitely a struggle for now and it’s hard work but I’d rather be investing that time and work into myself than for next man. This field of work allows me to create without boundaries and that’s what I want to keep doing.

@aciastudio

@Suril_

http://www.aciastudio.com

TIME’S UP

75th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press Room, Beverly Hills, USA - 07 Jan 2018

The Golden Globes have just passed us, and to anyone who was able to see the highlights, you will understand why this year was probably the most important year thus far.

2017 was a year of change. The flood gates were opened and out poured what seems like an ongoing downpour of accusations from women on the abuse and harassment that they have faced throughout their careers at the hands of men. 2017 was the year for ‘#MeToo’ – to let women across the world know that they could speak their truth and they would be heard. For many women, it seemed to be having a power hungry men dominating the working hierarchy, meaning it was difficult to speak out openly without unfair repercussions.

My blog seems to have a re-occurring pattern. I speak often about powerful women and the personal, negative experiences that I myself have unfortunately found myself in due to the stereotypes of men and women’s roles in society. I even considered refraining from writing on the subject matter somewhat as I was told it might appear as though “I hate men”. Can’t help but laugh at that! I honestly don’t. Honestly! But with the injustices that women are still facing today in the working world, who else besides strong women will be the ones to speak their truths, honestly and openly… which brings me here today.

Oprah is now the first black woman to have received a Cecil B. de Mille Award. And with such grace did she accept that award.

“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.”

What can we take from this? Well, firstly, listen to the speech. I mean really listen to it. Man or Woman – you should be able to take something away from what was said. Regardless if your have been lucky enough to have not found yourself having to say “MeToo”, you should be inspired and indignant for the numerous women who have come forward, as well as the countless women who haven’t. Man or woman, you should want to be apart of that change. The world is full of strong characters; full of strong women who should continue to stay strong, and who should have more belief in themselves in order to understand that our time is NOW more then ever to fight back. It is NOW that we should want to see other women doing incredibly well and encouraging them to push the boundaries that we have been boxed in to. Us women are not defined by how we may have been mistreated, when we are capable of achieving the upmost in life.
“And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me Too’ again.”
OPRAH FOR PRESIDENT!
2020

Unique Boutique London x 2018

Black Widow Edited (16)Tannika Taylor; I last wrote about this young entrepreneur in 2016. For those of you aren’t familiar with Tannika and her work, let me give you a brief introduction. Tannika is both the business and creative mind of fashion brand Unique Boutique London. I feel it important to highlight here that Tannika hand stitches and sews all her own stock. She is also a self-published writer, with her latest book being titled Time is Money. She has been given the opportunity to discuss her latest self-development book at a community event celebrating Black Excellence in London.

Staying focused on Unique Boutique London; Tannika has got a lot in store for the brand and giving her customers a whole lot of customisation with her products.

Get ready for the summer season with Unique Boutique London’s crochet collection under Tannika’s Gemini Designs sub-brand. Black Widow is what you need to be on the look out for, if you are wanting some personalised designs. This will be the latest addition to the collection and is the definition of “Handmade Art with Sparkle”. The pieces will feature rhinestone detailing – which are all finished by none other then Tannika. These are available customisable in various colours! 2018 is the year for you to get your customised goods, and Tannika is not holding back in providing you with exactly what you want. The custom crochets will be available from the new year.
Now, now gentlemen! Don’t sweat it, you have also been taken into consideration too! The Urban Underground collection will be featuring some fresh, new pieces to keep you cozy. Tannika’s brand proposition for this clothing is to redefine streetwear for both men and women.
It is needless to say that these designs are being made with us customers in mind. I appreciate the efforts put into ones brand and it’s evident that Tannika is physically putting in all of hers to provide us with unique pieces.
Be sure to check out www.uniqueboutiquelondon.co.uk

NATIONAL ANTI-SLAVERY MARCH x LDN

On the 9th December 2017, a peaceful protest will be taking place in London, starting at Belgrave Square, leading to The Libyan Embassy in Knightsbridge.

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It is absolutely shit, to an uncompromisable level, that I’m having to write a post about this. And truth being told, I’m not really sure what the right approach to this is, but here goes anyway…

It would be naive to say “it’s 2017 and slavery does not exist?!”. The naivety stems from the fact that we have allowed ourselves to believe that discrimination and slavery was allegedly put behind us when the British empire passed the bill in the House of Commons and House of Lords in 1833. Not only this, but throughout our childhood, in our history books we are shown and taught a world in which slavery ceases to exist in the modern world. We have been led to believe that it genuinely had been abolished. Now, for me personally, the fact that legislations were put into practice doesn’t mean that slavery actually met its end… and evidentially, the world, as we know it has shown this to be a fact. I am sure that Libya is not the only country guilty of these inhumane acts, but have recently made it very clear as to what is taking place outside the western world.

Living in a first world country has given us the privilege to live in ignorance when believing that this has been left in the past, when in the present people of colour are still being treated and perceived as inferior to whites, they are still being used as slaves by those with these beliefs and ideologies. We are currently in a time and place in society, where information sharing lies at our finger tips. With a constant reminder through the various social media platforms as to what is taking place across the globe, it forces the public to wake up to what is happening around us. 

This isn’t the post for me to discuss why said acts are still taking place, but ultimately to say that it is time that we put an end to this our way, the world needs to come together to make a difference to the future. Humans are being still being enslaved. MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE BEING FORCED AND SOLD AGAINST THEIR WIL INTO BARBARIC SITUATIONS ACROSS THE WORLD.

Libya is not the only country criminal of human trafficking in the 21st century, but for the sake of the upcoming protest it is best to focus on the facts we have been presented. Human beings are being sold and stripped of their rights to live free.. These individuals “are at high risk of multiple grave violations of their human rights, such as slavery, forced labour, trafficking, arbitrary and indefinite detention, exploitation and extortion, rape, torture and even being killed”. According to the UN, 700,000 migrants are in Libya. Now tell me how many of these humans will be forced into being exploited? How many men, women and children have to be raped, tortured, extorted or even die from lack of food and water for people to start understanding the severity of what is happening in our world? It is easy to switch off when it is not on our doorstep or does not impact us directly, we are all guilty of this, but there comes a time when we need to use our voices to make a difference. History as we know it has presented us numerous events and public figures that we should be looking to for inspiration to act on the changes that need to take place NOW!

Every person who is able to attend will be a message to these individuals that we will not stand for what is currently happening. Each person who is able to attend is a reminder to those who are facing these acts that they have our support. It’s not enough to talk about how bad the world is, but being righteous for the people in the world who aren’t able to live life freely. 

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