#ArtTransforms November 13, 2019

Mom x Wyfe brings fashion and music to the masses

By Jonsaba Jabbi

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that has been sitting in your closet for a couple years, you’re like “I really like the way this fits but it’s just out of date” and then you know revamping that so it’s a different style.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.

 

Watch their new video here! For more updates on Mom x Wyfe, follow them on Instagram @momxwyfe.

"You really want that utopian ideal of what our world could be? You want to be proudly and ACTIVELY anti-racist, more than fearing being called a racist? I want that for you too. If so, then do the work, educate yourself and others stand by us loudly, consistently, FOREVER." - Clara Amfo, BBC 1 Radio Host

Dear SKETCH Community,

The last two weeks have been yet another reminder that the Black community continues to be under attack by white supremacist systems. SKETCH's board of directors and staff sends their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who we have most recently lost including Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and D’Andre Campbell, and all those whose deaths have not been televised.

In our grief and anger at these senseless murders committed by the police, SKETCH is ensuring that we stay accountable to our Black youth artists, staff and the Black community at large, by taking swift action to ensure that folks are supported, uplifted, taken care of and their voices amplified, as they continue to organize and march on the front lines for justice.

As an organization that is led by mainly white leadership, we are deeply committed to examining and activating our role as an accomplice to address violence, racism, oppression, and discrimination in our sector, in Toronto and in society generally.

This Means:
  • We will continue to look within and address our own biases and the ways that systemic and structural racism plays itself out in SKETCH;
  • We will increase investment and resources to young Black Artists;
  • We will endorse Black leadership in SKETCH and in arts and culture;
  • We will support self-care and resources for our Black staff; and
  • Our leadership will connect with other white leaders of arts and culture organizations to support Black leadership in the sector with resourced opportunities to lead in meaningful ways.

We want to acknowledge the trauma and grief of those who create with and work at SKETCH, who are Black. We know you endure violence on a daily basis. We want to reach out to support you, stand and work together with you, to fight for justice, for your health, and for your futures.

We seek to learn daily, with you, how to enact a more just present and future. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you for calling us to be better. All of our liberations depend on it.

We join the movements for prison abolition, and for strong redirection of funding for policing to go toward community-based transformative justice efforts.

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.

We encourage the non-Black community members of SKETCH to stand with us and take action by:
  • Educating yourself on the issues;
  • Supporting your Black staff with personal time for self-care;
  • Supporting the community by buying from Black-owned business (which include Black artists at SKETCH);
  • Donating to organizations that are directly supporting Black folks;
  • Reposting and resharing information on your social media feeds;
  • Having constant conversations with your peers, families, and friends; and
  • Signing petitions that call for justice.

With so many ways to actively support the dismantling of systems that continue to oppress the Black community, silence is not an option.

We welcome you all to join SKETCH in allying yourselves with the Black community in the fight for liberation for all, not as a token event, but one that actually leads to a re-education, re-evaluation, and unbiased and selfless action.

In solidarity,

SKETCH Working Arts

Artwork: Egwu Ogwu Mystic Dance by Kanna Anigbogu

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 rudy@sketch.ca.

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 invest@sketch.ca 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

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