Queens Matter: A new brand bringing cultural representation to apparel and homeware.

by Louise Akrofi.

The Good Look is excited to announce that we will be the content writing partner for Queens Matter: a new brand bringing cultural representation to apparel and homeware.

Queens Matter is a collaboration between Art by Amulinde and Culture Asylum, which are respectively run by sisters Carolyn Baguma and Corazon (Coco) Baguma.

Corazon “Coco” Baguma – Co-Founder of Culture Asylum

Inspired by her own experiences of racism and colourism, mixed media artist and freelance professional consultant Carolyn Amulinde Baguma is turning negative experiences into positive pieces of representative art and clothing.

In her 10-year career as a freelance professional consultant in development, Carolyn has worked with several reputable businesses and charities including Harvard Business Publishing, D&A [Diversity and Ability], Victim Support and many others. Carolyn was able to take her skills and dynamic experience to East Africa in 2019, where she worked in Tanzania with YAAPHA to deliver a Business workshop for local businesswomen.

The first UK Lockdown saw a slowdown and ultimate halt to most Carolyn’s consultancy work. During this time, she was reminded that the only constant thing in this world is change. As a freelance professional Carolyn was used to the fluctuating nature of self-employed work, but this time she decided to prioritise her first love; art. Art became her solace, it was always there during the hard times and she fell in love with creating again this year. Her mission became to merge her leadership and development skills with the creation of art. While the pandemic raged on around her Carolyn began to adapt in her offering, while bringing art to the forefront of her endeavours.

Carolyn Baguma – Mixed Media Artist and Consultant, Original creator of Queens Matter

As an artist, Carolyn has been majorly inspired by bold artists such as Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt and Sonia Boyce. While admittedly being able to draw inspiration from anything around her, Carolyn’s main influences are from nature and the human form.

Queen Afua – Biodegradable iPhone case £18.99 via Culture Asylum (click image to shop)

The original piece for Queens Matter was created using pieces of fabric which were given to Carolyn as a gift to make her own face masks. Carolyn fell in love with this vibrant, mish-mashed collection of material while simultaneously being inspired by silhouettes. What started off as one portrait of a beautiful Queen, soon became 5; Afua, Yara, Izabella, Jemima and Lauryn. Once her Queens were complete, Carolyn felt inspired to merchandise – something she had never done before. The Queens Matter collection was then born; a range of organic t-shirts, biodegradable phone cases, minimalist backpacks and more. The process was very organic, and Carolyn has fulfilled her dream of being able to share these beautiful women.

Queen Izabella Organic Crop Top £21.99 via Culture Asylum (click image to shop)

As a Black woman, representation is everything to Carolyn; it “confronts the voices and messages that are constantly telling you that you are not enough”. In her facilitation work at schools and workplaces, Carolyn understood that her presence could potentially have an impact on at least one person who may not be able to see a future for themselves. This really shed light on how important representation is. The emergence of contemporary black female portrait artists like Tyra Powers, Reyna Noriega, Donice Bloodworth Jr has also been empowering for Carolyn and her artwork.

The Queens Matter Collection touches on four areas which are key to representation for women of colour:

  • Identity
  • Diversity
  • Hair
  • Skin

Interestingly, everyone could tell that Carolyn’s portraits were all women of colour before she put the Queens Matter title on it, a clear indication that the vibrancy of “Queen Magic” is prevalent even in the absence of skin colour or tone.

Queen Yara Minimalist Backpack £41.99 via Culture Asylum (click image to shop)

With this project, Carolyn aims to connect with organisations and collectives that are run by and serve women, to run workshops and offer skills for the communities. Carolyn also wishes to engage with fellow Queens to share their experiences and vulnerability.

For Queens Matter, Carolyn has teamed up with her sister and close friend Corazon Baguma (aka Coco) who is the Co-founder of Culture Asylum. Culture Asylum is the perfect collaboration partner for this project as a lifestyle and Humanitarian brand which is pro civil rights, pro equal rights, pro human rights, pro Black rights, pro LGBTQ rights and pro animal rights.

The beauty of the project is the fact that Queens Matter began as a recycled piece of art & crafts and has become a stunning representation of women of colour.

To shop the range, visit Carolyn’s online store via this link: Queens Matter Online Store.

Look out for features, the #QueensIdentity challenge, blog posts and more to come!

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