Sunday, June 15, 2014

AfrochicTO 2014 Cultural Arts Exhibit- Part 1

What do you think of when you combine sunny skies, warm weather and a beautiful venue with fashion, poetry, music, dance and art? Sounds like the perfect combination for Afrochic Cultural Arts Exhibit! As one of my favorite events to attend in the summer, the Collabo (TC) team had the chance to catch up with Amoye Henry (AH), founder of Afrochic, to learn what was in store for the 5th annual exhibit. 

TC: What was the inspiration behind the selection of the 80’s and 90’s theme for the 5th
Afrochic Exhibit? 

AH: This year we wanted to pay homage to the 1980's/1990's because the majority of our group members were born during these two decades and also because that era was characterized by the evolution of technological processes and products. Today we are so technologically dependent, we thought it would be creative to re-exist in a time where cell phones, computers and gadgets were just a luxury, unlike today where these appliances are a key component of our livelihood.

TC: How has the theme influenced the direction of the visual, musical, spatial and promotional 
elements within the exhibit? 

AH: This year we are on our Go-Go-Gadget flow, working to evoke a bit of the technology that came alive during the 80's and 90's. We are bringing you brightness, neon tones, acid wash jeans, leather, edgy realness mixed in with a lot of Fresh Prince of Belair and A Different World flavor. We want to take our audience once again, on a colourful journey. Musically, we have asked our artists to perform their current hits with a nostalgic twist and spatially we are going to use the beautiful Skybar space to create a 1990's Melrose Place style- LA patio aesthetic filled with warmth and covered in style.

TC: This year marks a milestone anniversary for Afrochic. How has the exhibit evolved and grown 
over time? What characteristics do you feel make the 5th year unique or special?

AH: The exhibit has turned 5 years old this year! Insane how time flies by. The exhibit has always tried to outdo itself every year. We're constantly trying to do innovative things and think outside of the box. We don't want you to relive the same experience, we want to create a whole new world for you through our showcase, every single year, every second Saturday of June. Evolution is about growth and we could not have grown if we didn't take risks, make mistakes and learn how to pick up and explore.

TC: This year Afrochic is sponsored by Socialites Connecting Network core members and Essence 
Magazine. What factors contributed to solidifying a partnership with these organizations? What 
impact do you foresee it having to Afrochic? 

AH: Amoye, the Founder of AfroChic is a member of the SLC network and she is all about womanhood and connecting like-energies. Months after SLC was formed, Amoye pitched the AfroChic exhibit partnership opportunity to the three core members and it was an undoubtedly perfect fit.

Essence Magazine is a staple in black culture. The fact that a company as internationally known, loved, and respected as Essence is willing to support a small Toronto based company like AfroChic is beyond inspiring and we're so grateful and excited! 
Both these partnerships show us that we have a viable brand and that anything is possible when you are diligent, persistent, passionate and patient. Sometimes when you believe so much in your mission, it leaves others so inspired that they have no other choice but to support you and want to align with you.

TC: What do you hope to convey to patrons who attend Afrochic this year? 

AH: This year we want patrons to feel like they walked into a space that made them grateful to be an 80's or 90's baby.

TC: Through reading the team bios on the Afrochic website, we were able to learn about the individual forces behind this year’s exhibit. To provide us with some insight on how the team and performers were chosen what were some of the underlying characteristics that contributed to their selection? (ie. Their passion, alignment to collective vision and goal, creativity, talent, etc)

AH: This year we were very selective in building our team. We knew this may be the last year of AfroChic, so we had to come strong. Every individual is a force on their own, but together, we are unstoppable. From the super introverted, deep-thinking Dylan who manages the Community Partnerships division of the exhibit to the very creative, energetic vibrant former beauty pageant contestant Narley, to our audio tech beauty Rosemary to the very ambitious and calculated Jade - we all have our different strengths and weaknesses which add layers and textures to this story. We disagree, have moments of uncertainty, but ultimately we are united on our common goal and mission - to empower and bring light to afro culture and representation in Toronto Canada.

TC: If you could describe the 5th annual Afrochic exhibit in one word what would it be?



Stay tuned for Part 2, for more coverage from the exhibit.

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