Brooklyn Reed ~ Jacket Maker Extraordinaire ~ Vancouver,BC
1. What inspires, moves or drives you?
I’m inspired simply by having the freedom and ability to express how I’m thinking and feeling through creating fashion, art and design. Music is a major pillar of inspiration and movement in my life, it is what got me interested in festival culture. The music, people and community that surround festival culture light a fire in me and spark so many creative ideas. Additionally, I am massively inspired by drag and the imagination and craftsmanship that go into it. David Bowie, Prince, Freddie Mercury, Cher, Dolly Parton, Orville Peck, Trixie Mattel, Sasha Velour - these are some of my favourite icons in music, fashion and drag that give me so much inspiration.
2. What are a few of your favourite things?
Some of my favorite colors come out of 60’s Art Deco, it is without a doubt my favorite era of art. I love the gradient color palettes, patterns and graphic style that came out of this era. I’m equally as in love with pastels or anything iridescent and sparkly. I will never stop loving pastel pinks, purples, blues, yellows. Those colors just make me so happy.
3. What does an ideal world look like to you?
A world where Donald Trump isn’t in office…that guys an asshole. Aside from the obvious, an ideal world is one without patriarchy, we need more women leading in politics. One that offers a proper living minimum wage and minimizes the divide between the rich and the poor. One where different minorities ethnic/race/gender/LGBTQ+ no longer feel like they are minorities because society supports and accepts everyone with equality and love.
4. What is your “offering”, creative or otherwise?
I am the creator of a small clothing brand called Mercury Retroshade, where I design and make unique, one-of-a-kind coats and jackets. I sometimes make other types of clothing and accessories but jackets are kind of my thing. I think everyone should have one statement coat, something that when you put it on you feel the absolute best. I love and live for the ability to create these unique statement pieces that get people excited to wear them. I have spent the last couple of years making mostly custom pieces for other people, which is a challenging but incredible experience. The process of taking the vision of what someone has in their head, bringing it to fruition and finally watching them put it on for the first time is so rewarding and totally worth the time and effort it takes to make a custom jacket. I’ll be spending the next while working on my own collection of pieces. It’s time that I get to show people what Mercury Retroshade looks like in my head. A completely wild combination of textures, furs, velvets, sparkles and embellishments. Think Never Ending Story meets Penny Lane meets Pimp at a Poker Table…
5. How can we find your work or follow along with your journey?
I post most of what I’m creating on there. I would love if you followed me. This is my main platform for the time being. My website www.mercuryretroshade.com is in the works, so keep your eyes peeled for that. If you have any inquiries about custom pieces or anything business-related email me at email@example.com.
6. What are your favourite quotes or words to live by?
“I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.” - David Bowie
7. Who are your heros/heroines and how have they impacted your life?
My mom. Whenever I hear that song ‘She Works Hard for the Money’ by Donna Summer, I think of her immediately. She is a hustler, she has always been so tough and hardworking throughout the countless challenges in her life and fills any room she’s in with optimism and acceptance. Love you mom!
The community of people in Fort Saint McMurphy, this is a collection of fantastic creatives and individuals I am lucky enough to be apart of. I get so inspired by these people, everyone has a different story and offers something unique to the camp. Fort is primarily a festival camp but offers so much more to its members. Fort has given me a platform to invest some of my creative energy into designing the space. Along with Romy Sank, a jack of all trades in anything design — we get to curate a beautiful communal area for the camp and visitors to enjoy. Having the ability to do this with Fort, has sparked my interest in eventually working in creative design for festivals and events alike. If you’re not familiar with Fort Saint McMurphy, please check them out @fortstmcmurph.
8. How will you leave your mark on the world, both in terms of community and the environment?
I’d love for Mercury Retroshade to be a longterm project for me, I predict it will always be my baby. Creating clothing and fashion does and has the ability to leave a mark on this world and on people, however; my long term goal is to create experiences that have the ability to leave a mark on a wider range of people. Personally speaking, as someone who has attended festivals for several years - I can’t often think back and remember what I was wearing one night and how it made me feel but I can almost always remember what the environment around me looked like and how that in combination with the music made me feel some kind of way. I don’t know how it’s going to happen, but becoming more involved in the visual and creative design aspect of festivals would be unreal and I’m crossing my fingers for that opportunity one day.
Sustainability matters a lot to me, I studied sustainability and conservation in university and try to carry those values over into how I run Mercury Retroshade. The fashion industry is incredibly wasteful, it’s disgusting what fast fashion does to this world and how it violates ethics. So I try to reuse materials, thrift fabrics and upcycle clothing when I can. A lot of my coats are made with synthetic materials, faux fur and sequins are essentially plastic fibres - so I reuse offcuts to make collars, pocket details, donate them to other small designers or create camp decor for Fort Saint McMurphy.
9. What advice would the present you share with the past you?
I would say stop telling yourself that pursuing art as a career isn’t the right choice!!!! It’s frustrating to look back on myself as a young adult and remember thinking that I couldn’t go anywhere by being an artist or a creator. My first craft was jewellery, I had a small line called Birds of a Feather when I was a teenager and continued with it as a side-gig when I moved to BC for university. I was so hypnotized by the thought that I had to get a degree to do anything with my life but I was still always very distracted by continuing with making jewellery and the culture within the Vancouver music and festival scene, that it should have been so clear to me. So many amazing things, however, came out of that education; friendships, relationships and connections that I’m ultimately very grateful for it.
10. What challenges have you overcome and how?
I’ve had to deal with some unfortunate family-related issues in my life and a lot of rough times financially when I first made the move out to BC, but the worst challenge has always been me believing in myself. I am my own worst critic and have personal expectations that are often unrealistic. This has been the biggest obstacle I’ve had to overcome when it comes to myself as an artist and a creator. I feel like I’ve sabotaged my own success countless times by thinking that my ideas aren’t good enough or that the execution isn’t going to be done to perfection that I often don’t showcase my projects.
Overcoming this is the kind of thing is something I have to take one day at a time. I’ve had days where I walk into my studio, look around at the things I’m working on and knit pick them all until I don’t have it in me mentally to make any progress. What I find works best to overcoming that negativity is starting the day with a long walk with my dogs and when I get into the studio I turn off social media and play some music that makes me feel something. Social media can be a good thing (I’ve heard…) but it can really kill my vibe and get me out of the right mindset to be creative and productive.