AphroChic Magazine: Inside Issue No. 1

Photographer:  Brittany Ambridge
Video Editor: Reid Moss

Welcome to the inaugural issue of AphroChic Magazine. Four years ago we had the honor of being asked to speak at Harvard’s first Black in Design Conference. It was an amazing event gathering hundreds of Black architects, designers, students, professionals and enthusiasts from all over the country. It was a truly inspiring event; yet as it went on, we realized that although so many of us were gathered together, many if not most of us had never heard of each other. It drove home to us the importance of increased representation – not within the so-called “mainstream” – but within our own community. We realized how much we needed to see us, for us, and we decided to do something to help that happen.

When AphroChic began, we were a blog dedicated to highlighting the presence and contributions of people of color in the world of design while providing content for smart, design savvy people of color – an audience we were frequently told did not exist. It was a hobby, something to keep us occupied while we pursued careers in law and the academy, and that was all we expected from it. But things have a way of growing and AphroChic had a mind of its own. Two years after it started our blog became a product line. In six years it became a book and after that an interior design company. Along the way we became product designers, authors, interior designers, photo and video shoot producers and many other things simply because they were what we needed to be at the time.

AphroChic has always been about filling voids. The blog was about filling the void in a growing online conversation that made no room for Black creatives and took no notice of its Black audience. We created products because we saw so few luxury items for the home that were directly connected to our culture or representative of our history. The book addressed an absence African American perspectives in books on interior design that had gone on for ten years. Through it, we developed AphroChic into a complete design philosophy, arguing that design and culture are not only complementary, but inseparable. Because of that, we engage with design as a window on culture and all the processes of history, politics and human imagination that create it.

So why a magazine; and why now? For us it feels like coming home, back to the blogging days when AphroChic was a constant exploration of Black creativity. Moreover, we’ve spent years of describing design as a lens through which to view larger things. Now we want to take our readers through that lens to see what’s on the other side. This isn’t a design magazine or even a lifestyle publication – it’s a quarterly love letter to the cultures of the African Diaspora, the people who fought in the past to see their creation and those who create now to see their evolution. The goal of this publication is mainly two-fold: first to highlight the amazing work and incredible stories of Black creatives across a variety of disciplines, industries and fields; second, to explore the connections between art, design, architecture, food, technology, music, politics and history that fit together to make a culture. Past even that, we want to explore the Diaspora both as a concept and as cultural reality, seeking out and appreciating the myriad pieces within our diversity that connect us and hold us together.

In our inaugural issue you’ll find a stylish Sag Harbor fetê hosted by New York fashion stylists Donnell and Courtney Baldwin in a celebration of history and Black love; an in-depth exploration of the home and amazing creativity of fashion designer Nana-Yaa Asare Boadu; an intriguing intersection of art and fashion in the photography of Gregory Prescott; memories of grandmom’s house and discussions on the state and importance of Black homeownership; meditations on food and fellowship and so much more.

Thank you for taking this first step with us. Welcome to AphroChic Magazine.