S05 Episode 257 | Farai Simoyi of The Narativ on the need for safe spaces where global designers can be seen, valued, and heard & educating the next generation of fashion's leaders


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By Kestrel Jenkins. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In episode 257, Kestrel welcomes fashion entrepreneur, Farai Simoyi, to the show. Having designed and consulted for many notable names — including Beyonce, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake — you may also recognize Farai from Netflix’s “Next In Fashion”. Since that appearance, she has continued to promote her design work while elevating global artisans and designers through her company, The Narativ House.

“Fashion is going in a space where it’s like — how does it feel? I think fashion is going into more of a feeling space. Like does this feel good? Yes or no? Does this design make sense? Am I just creating to create or am I creating with a purpose?” -Farai

This week’s guest is a designer, an educator, an entrepreneur … and you may recognize her from Netflix’s “Next In Fashion”. When she spoke up on stage during the judging of episode 4, AKA the streetwear competition, it resonated far and wide.

So a little backstory: her partner in the competition, Kiki, helped launch FUBU’s womenswear line in the ‘90s, so they were instrumental in the history of streetwear. Farai and Kiki were criticized pretty harshly on this episode by the judges, but guest judge Kerby of Pyer Moss stood up for them and wouldn’t agree to vote them off the show.

In the end, the judges didn’t send anyone home after the streetwear competition, but then, the following week, they were sent home in the lingerie challenge.

For those who haven’t seen it — this is what Farai said on stage:

“The thing that I’ve noticed in the fashion industry — it’s mostly one voice that’s heard. The high end brands and designers are taking ideas from us every single day.”

And mic drop. These words were heard far and wide, and as many young people told Farai, they finally felt SEEN and HEARD.

That continues to inspire Farai’s work today — as an educator and through her brand, The Narativ.

Quotes & links from the conversation:

  • “Once people saw the show, it blew up — my DMs were flooded with young people who were crying saying — ‘Farai, I feel the same way right now, but I don’t know how to be seen; nobody sees me’.’ -Farai

  • “Go where you’re celebrated.” -Farai

  • “If you’re gonna use me, I’m gonna use you too. If you wanna blast my face on this because it’s making your company look good — how can I use that to leverage myself at the same time … it’s hard to decipher who’s being real and who’s not, but if the opportunity presents itself, yeah I’m gonna use it — to leverage myself so that I can also leverage my COMMUNITY.” -Farai

  • Conscious Chatter episode with Akilah Stewart that Kestrel mentions — listen here >

  • “I’m really big about human-centered design, and how objects or items feel on your body or in your space, and I just always have felt good having things from home to fill my house, as opposed to going to IKEA or Crate and Barrel to fill my house.” -Farai

  • “I think handmade items travel more — they travel amongst friends, amongst family members, amongst households, and they continue to have a good connection.” -Farai

  • Conscious Chatter episode with Julia Perez that Kestrel mentions — listen here >

  • Dr. Dawnn Karen, fashion psychologist that Farai mentions

  • Fashion Design Program Director at Thomas Jefferson University

  • “The people that are currently in the industry — they say diversity and inclusivity, they say sustainability but they don’t really know what it is, so for me — let me catch the kids when they’re younger, right? So that when they get into the industry, they’re not cultural appropriating, they are thinking about hiring diversity within their teams, they are thinking about, you know, what are some systems that I can put into place to make sure that this brand that I’m working for is ethical, has a corporate social responsibility, and is sustainable all at the same time.” -Farai

  • “I want them to create voices for themselves.” -Farai

  • "Don't be afraid to go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because there’s beauty in all that. Some of the best creations and innovations in the world came from somebody’s mistake. Don’t worry about doing things right or doing things a certain way.” -Farai

  • “You learn more from your failures than you do from your successes … sometimes when you learn, you fail forward.” -Farai

  • The Narativ Website >

  • Follow Farai on Instagram >

  • Follow The Narativ on Instagram >

This week's episode is brought to you by Wisdom, a new Black-owned app that’s being called a mix between Clubhouse and MasterClass. It's a space to chat with experts and listen to live or playback recordings. Join me for a little hang session on their platform on Friday, December 10th at 10am PST. You can find me by searching my username @CONSCIOUSCHATTER :)

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