Mom x Wyfe is the lifestyle brand and brainchild of multi-talented artist Kleo and SKETCH Associate Artist Jane Doe Smith. They combine their love of fashion and music to revamp clothing using their own designs. They’ll be performing their first major show at The MOD Club as part of the RAW Artist Showcase and just released their first music video, Call of the Void. We talked to them about their personal style and how SKETCH helped them bring their brand to life.
Left to right: Mom x Wyfe duo Kleo and Jane Doe Smith
SKETCH: What is Mom x Wyfe?
Jane Doe: Mom x Wyfe is a lifestyle brand. We started off making some music and we noticed that our presence in what we are wearing and how we carry ourselves holds a lot of weight and people are always watching that so that’s when we decided to combine fashion with music.
Kleo: We noticed that mothers really like us but it also evolved into what it is now and like there are certain characteristics that make a mom and there are certain characteristics that make a wife that we each carry within us even though you can look at us and not think that “Oh that’s someone’s mom or someone’s wife or that’s someone’s mother!” But you’re still carrying the traits of being supportive, taking care of people, feeding people, making sure that your friend’s nails are clean, you know? There’s certain traits of these personas that people enjoy within us whether in fashion or in music.
SKETCH: So what kind of things do you make in terms of fashion?
JD: We do patches, straps which are like accessories that wrap around your legs and your arm. Tattoos, pigments…
K: We also make T-shirts, sweaters, jackets….
JD: Pretty much anything. The whole idea of it is revamping and recycling materials that you know go to waste or revamping people’s clothing that has been sitting in your closet for a couple years, you’re like “I really like the way this fits but it’s just out of date” and then you know revamping that so it’s a different style.
K: We inspire the masses! We’re trying to make love and friendship cool again. It’s concepts, it’s not just music and fashion, those are the physical things that we create. There’s also the persona and the inspiration we create and the leadership that comes along with all of that.
JD: We’ve been able to put our clothes in the store, we’ve done fashion shows, we’ve got shows coming up, we’ve got a video release coming up and those are all things that we’ve made within the resources here and also the skills we’ve learned here taking it outside and trying to maximize off that…
K: And even through the community that we meet here and the people that connected us to the store, people who connected us to certain resources.
SKETCH: So Mom x Wyfe is one of the things that you’re proud of in terms of your experience at SKETCH?
JD: We’re very proud of it. It took a long time to build up to this point but after we’ve learned all these skills…like I’ve been here for like five years now going on six now…but it started from being a participant who didn’t know where you fit, not knowing what you could do to now the options are endless!
SKETCH: How do you think SKETCH has helped you shaped some of the goals you just mentioned now?
JD: With physical tools, physical materials, support and backing from staff to individuals that inspire. It’s the fact that people see the value in a product is like one of the things for me…like people hype me up more than I even know how hype it is. I would just be like “Yeah I just made that” and people will be like “Yo that’s cool, did you just come up with that?” Oh yeah that is cool, I knew that all along!
SKETCH: How has art transformed your life?
K: I’ve always been an artist, I’ve been on stages since I was five years old but it’s has always been the catalyst of my social growth and my personal growth. It has always put me in the right place to meet the right people that are like-minded and I’ve always figured that out through the type of art that we both create. So it’s pushed me to meet people, socially expand and self-reflect enough to learn that okay now we connect in a certain way and we’re both alike in terms of identity and personality.
JD: Yeah it’s breaking down barriers and realizing that it’s bigger than just the clothes on my body. It’s also that people are looking and hoping to be that cool.
SKETCH: What’s next for Mom x Wyfe?
JD: We released our first video on November 11 called Call of The Void….
K: Which by the way was fully funded by the money that we made the last holiday market at SKETCH!
JD: Yeah so all the money that we made off the clothes we put it into a video.
SKETCH: Wow, that’s amazing!
JD: It funded our first video and many other opportunities. We got material out of that, we made the video and then we’re going to be at the MOD Club on November 13th for the RAW Artists Showcase.
SKETCH: What are your goals for the future?
JD: We want to give back to the community, put on bigger events, bigger stages. We want to sell more product, make better quality music, travel, resources….
SKETCH: Is there any last thing you want to say before we wrap this up?
K: I look around at all the things I’m doing in my life right now and probably 85% of them would not have been possible if it wasn’t for this place [SKETCH].
JD: Mom x Wyfe means a lot to us. We’re best friends because of being able to create together in the space. As humans outside of the space, it’s made us dream bigger.
SKETCH studios at 180 Shaw Street will remain closed to public access until further notice. We are forced in this time of pandemic to rework and consider our sustainability given public health priorities and resources. We will keep you posted on new designs in September.
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Black activists and communities everywhere are working hard to lead all society to call out and authentically address the violent impacts of White Supremacy in policing, justice, education, health, community and in all systems and infrastructures across Turtle Island (North America). Anti-Black racism is deeply embedded in every fabric of our society. This, as well as our violent colonial legacy of Indigenous erasure, constant gender discrimination and violence, and the violence and mistreatment of those in the disability community, are pervasive pressing truths that we need to face and address, daily, to make change in real ways. We need boldness, energy, honesty, deep listening and accountability, to generate sustained action and inversions of power in the immediate, medium and long term.
What can a community-engaged arts organization in Toronto like us do, to take up its role in this critical renaissance of justice? Join us in learning together with us, what this means.
SKETCH is deeply committed to supporting, learning from and amplifying the brave and creative leadership of young Black Artists and Activists. Check out Art in Pandemic and be inspired by the incredible work of young artists creating during this time.
We call on the Arts Councils to create a Black Artists Fund to support Black Artists and Black Arts and Culture Organizations, recognizing and investing in their leadership in arts and culture, and in building fair and inclusive communities.
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Please support us to be a just, accountable and vibrant arts platform for young people on the margins! We need your help now more than ever!
Dear Friends and Investors,
Greetings from the SKETCH Project Home Team! We hope that you and your family are keeping well and safe during this time.
UPDATE: SKETCH is placing the capital campaign to purchase our studios on brief hiatus until the fall.
Our campaign has been a great success so far, with over $370,000 raised in funds and Community Bonds! However, in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, SKETCH is taking action to suspend the campaign to allow the time needed for those excited about our campaign to be in a more secure position to participate.
If you have already donated to the campaign, or purchased SKETCH Community Bonds, we deeply appreciate your commitment to Project Home. If you've just recently submitted your bond-purchase documents, we will still process your investment.
Have any questions about your donations or bond purchase? Please do not hesitate to contact SKETCH Executive Director, Rudy Ruttimann at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This summer, we'll be working with our campaign partners and SKETCH community to determine exactly when we relaunch in the Fall. We'll be sure to keep you posted over the summer.
You can still inquire about SKETCH, our capital campaign, and its progress at email@example.com or by following us at @SKETCHToronto.
Thank you for your time, and we wish all the best for you and your family.
-The SKETCH Team & Campaign Advisory