Friends of Extra Butter: To celebrate Black History Month, EB caught up with local Black creatives that are friends of the brand to discuss their personal experiences in the industries they work in and motivation for other Black creatives out there.
We wanted to highlight what it takes being a Black creative today, but also show what is possible for all young professionals that have a dream.
Meet Jamal Braimah - Creative & Owner of Western Elders
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
The inspiration in becoming a designer really came from necessity. At that time everything was that “slim euro” style, which was trash and I felt like no brands really were making anything that gave a feeling I was looking for. So I knew I had to do it for myself.
Where did the inspiration stem from behind Western Elders and how do you channel this inspiration in all of your collections?
My inspiration is my family, my people, our elders and ancestors. Growing up between Lefrak and Ghana I got to experience 2 different sides of the diaspora. The beauty that I found there was something I wanted everyone to feel when they think of our people and our culture.
What is one project you’ve done that you’re most proud of and why?
I would have to say my views from a park bench pop up. Being able to actually bring people to a simulated version of my neighborhood was amazing. Those are the types of immersive experiences that I’m looking forward to doing more of.
"... My inspiration is my family, my people, our elders and ancestors. Growing up between Lefrak and Ghana I got to experience 2 different sides of the diaspora."
Being a young Black designer from Queens, how do you hope your story will inspire the next generation of young Black designers?
I hope I can clear some path for them the same way those before me did. This industry isn’t as much of a community as our actual culture is, so for those after me I hope to be not only a resource but an example that this can be done.
What advice would you give to young future artists?
I would advise them to be true to themselves. Speak to what moves you and try to bring that feeling to your work. That’s been my approach and so far it’s been pretty fulfilling.
What do you hope for in the next generation of young Black creatives?
I hope for us to have more of our own shit. This industry finds a lot of ways to use us and I’m happy we’re on track to really just be respected for telling our stories and speaking for us.
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