Celebrating Community Through Art

By Destiny Randle | November 15, 2021

Above: Brandon Blackwood’s limited-edition Kuei bag. PHOTO COURTESY OF YOOX

Artists Tschabalala Self, Reginald Sylvester II, and Brandon Blackwood team with YOOX for an exclusive collection that brings their New York City hometown inspirations to life.

New York City’s buzzing lifestyle continues to be a funnel for creativity in the art world, and YOOX’s (yoox.com) new collaboration is the latest to celebrate the city. In October, the luxury online retailer teamed with artist Tschabalala Self (@tschabalalaself) for an exclusive capsule collection. Titled “Our House”, the collaboration also featured fellow creators Reginald Sylvester II (@reginaldsylvester2) and Brandon Blackwood (@brandonblackwoodnyc).

Sylvester II’s limited-edition dual vessel. PHOTO COURTESY OF YOOX
Sylvester II’s limited-edition dual vessel. PHOTO COURTESY OF YOOX

Together, they drew on individual experiences, resilience, and desire to change perceptions of luxury.

Self (known for her depictions of Black woman figures in exhibits like 2017’s Bodega Run and 2020’s Cotton Mouth) took inspiration for Our House from the Harlem Renaissance. The cultural art movement, spanning the 1920s and 1930s, gave Black creatives space to be seen and heard through music, fashion, art, dance, and literature—opportunities that typically would be withheld from the community.

“When creating this capsule collection for YOOX, I wanted to pull from this rich legacy, both aesthetically and conceptually,” says Self, who is a proud Harlem native herself. “That was a time where there was a huge community that fostered talent, supported and uplifted one another. I would like some of the positive parts of that time in history to become something more prominent in this very moment.”

Artists Reginald Sylvester II, Tschabalala Self and Brandon Blackwood. PHOTO COURTESY OF YOOX
Artists Reginald Sylvester II, Tschabalala Self, and Brandon Blackwood. PHOTO COURTESY OF YOOX

She worked closely with fellow NYC-based creators Sylvester II and Blackwood to design an abstract, black charcoal-dyed vessel (primarily used for potting and housing liquids. It also contains a removable stainless-steel candle holder) and a silver limited-edition version of Blackwood’s popular Kuei bag. “I viewed it as a vessel that told a story through repetitive images,” the Brooklyn-born Blackwood says of the collaboration. “I wanted the real metallic leather to almost highlight Tschabalala’s work. The inspiration was definitely centered around storytelling as fashion.”

Self continues, “Brandon and Reginald brought their style, confidence, and grace to the project. They get NYC and they get the importance of community.”

Sylvester II, an artist and sculptor, was inspired by both his own experiences and sensitivity for the candle vessel. His personal belief is that “art is a matter of finding rather than spontaneously generating images, and abstraction in the art can be defined as resilience.”

Blackwood, a fashion designer and close friend of Self, hopes the collaboration will help redefine the word “luxury”: “Luxury is comfort. It’s effortless and it has nothing to do with the price of something. If something gives you an experience or certain feeling, that in itself is luxury.”

Photography by: (Images credited above)