Enter Miss Bruno, a sister duo(Shirley and Marjory), straight out of BK, by way of Haiti, with enough fresh inspiration to motivate even the most depressed fashion fan. Shirley and Marjory are the kind of fresh air that keeps fashion alive- they're fresh at it now, but will eventually be future classics.
They grew up in a creative family. Mama was a designer and gave passive inspiration with her design books around the house. The baby Brunos were the off-kilter kids who didn't wear what the popular kids did, but never got picked on for their originality. And they've nurtured all that into a visionary line of neckwear called- "my so-called scarf". These aren't you normal wrap-arounds, these have snaps, extra folds and buttons, come in new fabrics, designs and aesthetics with new functions to revolutionize your wardrobe, like woah.
To us, there's no skepticism, these thangs are dope! So we asked the ladies why they were "so called". Shirley let us know: "it's a scarf, but it's a little bit more...you can wear it that way but it's multi-functional. And yeah, it's neckwear, we call it neckwear too, there's a million names for it. And that's just our personality, our sense of humor. Our sense of humor is always in everything that we do, so it's a scarf, but it's not really a scarf."
Everything the girls make is meant to be simple and sustainable, not convoluted and complicated, especially the yet to be released "my-so-called dress" line debuting this spring. The girls aren't hip to the ironing game, and don't consider themselves fashionistas, so they design their garments being ready-to-wear. The worn-in look is something they design into each piece, keeping it simple enough to be a casual piece, but also having enough craftsmanship to be worn as "haute couture"(I'll give you a dollar if you can say that as perfectly as these girls).
Not only are the concepts fresh, but the materials Marjory and Shirley use are not the usual batch- they're giving us products using leather, leather alternatives and ultra-suede (whatever that is). In today's day and age of copy-cat design (Urban Outfitters = swagger jackers!!!), this kind of attention is what fashion brands must retain to be definitively fly.
Check out the line at Miss Bruno's website- you'll see that the their brand is wrapped around a well defined vision, showcasing their artistship, not their choice in computer program or manufacturer. Everything from their models to the type of fabric is premeditated- classic! When we asked about the creative process, their response was the type of educated response that'd make me spend $100 (not the price of a scarf), easy, just so I could explain it someone else (can a brother be genius?!).
Marjory: "Sometimes we sit down and come with an idea of what we wanna create and sometimes we find wonderful graphic print and we just know exactly what we wanna do. We use a lot of graphic print, especially for my so-called-dresses, and a lot of the times the graphic print speaks for itself so we wanna make sure that we are giving life to it. If it's graphic, it's something that should just really be simple, because the garment is already saying something with the print, it shouldn't be loud. Sometimes the fabric tells us which way to go..."
Like I said, the dresses haven't dropped yet (the scarves are doing their thing at the moment) but when they do, Snaps and Daps needs to be involved in that photoshoot/campaign. Put us down!
And it's refreshing to know this isn't just a hobby for them, this isn't something they're doing to validate going to trade show parties- they've been coming up with designs since Marjory made culatts for Shirley in grade school (yes, Shirley wore them).
When you commit to fashion it's extremely easy to get caught up in image, especially when you're designing clothes. The girls have not let the image of their brand become limited, they want everyone to rock their scarves. Part of Miss Bruno's genius is being excited that a teenage daughter and her mother can both peruse the line and find something they like...and at the same time, my hipster ass is digging on that brown, tweed, snappy, so-called scarf (check the dude above with the red beret).
We tried to find out if Miss Bruno was on that hipster-tip too, but they are too free flowing to be categorized. While they identify with the crowds that go to Dante Fried Chicken and who used to go to Bobbito parties, they also feel connected to "something new" coming up, especially in their Crown Heights hood. But then again, they feel like they represent with immigrant cultures, love chilling with creatives- all the models on their site are artists in their own right- and anyone else who relates to their way of life- no BS, no bias. All of this is evident in the neck wraps they design. Often, the scarves bring a bright, colorful, Caribbean vibe or consist of fabrics from any given country.
I would go as far as saying that the eccentric styles, unique patterns, alternative materials and creative energy these scarves (and soon to be dresses) bring are an example of that "something new". While we admired some old things, like well established designers Sheila Bridges, Alexander McQueen and Louis Vouitton, we talked about other newness like 21MC, an extremely dope San Fran based brand. And still, Miss Bruno knows that inspiration isn't centered in Brooklyn, or NY for that matter:
Marjory: "things aren't really happening here, they're happening in other places. They're happening in Nigeria, they're happening in South Africa, they happen in Paris. New York is not the center of the world, like it used to be."
Miss Bruno is a contributor to the newest evolution of fashion, brewing on the horizon. If you tune into international design you'll notice that fashion is developing another side: one dedicated to simplicity and functionality, that rides on unisex design and exudes high and low fashion simultaneously. Miss Bruno is inside this new way of thinking- they let us know about an idea they have to create a line that can be worn all year long- because "it's cold here, but it's warm half way across the globe", as well as unisex items and a line for men, Buster Bruno. (fellas, hit up the site and let them know what you want to see).
We got to talking about the connection of art and commerce-Shirley told us that that Miss Bruno is for mass appeal, "the struggling artist thing is a cliche, it doesn't need to be." And while they believe in the coexistence of art and commerce, they won't go about earning money in the conventional manner. They might end up in Vogue, Missbehave or Elle magazine, but it won't be through typical, e-mail-blast-type marketing. They're spreading their gospel through satisfied customers, word of mouth, and appreciators on the "internets" (the girls have discovered that everything sounds better in plural).
Look out for Miss Bruno on the digital highway, on the lips of cutting edge fashion folk, on the necks of those on the "new new" tip and at Brooklyn Fashion Weekend this March. They'll revolutionize your game.
MY CHALLENGEBefore we left, I issued a challenge to myself, inspired by the Bruno ladies. I know I can't do a raw diet, like the girls did for a couple years (Marjory says it was the best period of her life, albeit near impossible in NY), but I will attempt to be a vegetarian...for two weeks. The girls helped me out by giving me a couple recipes that are full of healthy goodness without loosing the savory flavor that Jamaicans need to survive (literally, I'll die without it). Wish me luck. Send other recipes. Look out for the results.