The good shades, painstakingly positioned plumage, ornate and personalised insignias—the beaded and feathered fits of Mardi Gras Indians are as dynamic because the performances members who put on them. The artwork of “masking” and the costume fabrication that accompanies it determine prominently in lifetime of Cherice “Queen Reesie” Harrison-Nelson. As a third-generation participant within the custom and queen of the Guardians of the Flame Maroon Society, Harrison-Nelson has cultivated a wealthy aesthetic sensibility that she’s articulated in a West African-themed style line debuted in April 2021.
Dubbed the Queen Reesie Assortment, the road marks Harrison-Nelson’s first “official” foray into style in addition to her first collaboration with Nigerian designer Ese Johnson whose London retailer, Tufafi Ng, boasts a world clientele. Regal and expressive, the gathering eschews the ready-made, one-size-fits-all pattern that afflicts style at present. It as an alternative options personalized attire favoring fuller figured girls—with every one simply as distinct as its buyer. Even with its fuller focus, Harrison-Nelson assures up that her assortment is supposed to accommodate all sizes “[from the] curvaceous, [to the] not so curvaceous.”
The debut design holds each an aesthetic and religious significance for Harrison-Nelson. The piece, a full, darkish blue gown, pays homage to Olokun, a Yoruba spirit mentioned to are inclined to the souls misplaced within the oceans of the Center Passage. Moreover, every garment will embrace an identical gélé, which features a complimentary tutorial for tying the standard West African headwrap.
Although the Queen Reesie Assortment stays a piece in progress with solely its inaugural piece accessible, Harrison-Nelson and Johnson are onerous at work on new outfits, all of which is able to draw inspiration from Harrison-Nelson’s artwork and, after all, her subsequent Carnival go well with. “Proper now, we’re growing a pageant outfit…a gown and a jacket [with] just a little play to it.”
Whereas the items could also be meticulously deliberate, the road itself arose from a second of pure windfall. Harrison-Nelson’s son had stumbled upon Johnson’s creations whereas shopping Etsy, a preferred digital market for handcrafted items. Regardless of the happenstance of the collaboration’s conception, style itself felt like a pure development from stitching fits for Carnival. Very like her Carnival costumes, the designs with Johnson replicate a need to transcend mere aesthetic magnificence to search out which means and in the end herself.
“I’m an American African. Due to the atrocities that had been perpetuated towards us, we’re so disconnected…This custom for me is a manner for me to attach myself to my ancestral homeland—one bead, one sew at a time.”
The Queen Reesie Assortment by Tufafi Ng is offered solely on Ese Johnson’s Etsy store here, beginning at $150.