The ethos behind HE.SHE.THEY is the
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Welcome, Steven Braines and Sophia Kearney, in honor of Pride month we’re excited to hear more about the brand HE.SHE.THEY. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you two met to collaborate on this brand?
Braines: We’ve somehow managed to work together for almost a decade —born out of musical and moral respect, but, basically, I’m a queer as fuck goth-chav hybrid and Sophia is the only one who can put up with me and has never told me to tone it down :p
Sophia: We’ve been music managers always first and foremost but we both felt passionately about HE.SHE.THEY., Steven from an LGBTQIA+ perspective and mine from being a woman and the equalities we are also still fighting for in society. I also feel strongly about being a visible CIS female ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.
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The ethos behind the brand HE.SHE.THEY is that it is built on the idea of family, inclusivity, and no bigotry. How do you two make it your goal to showcase this mindset with your projects?
Braines: I mean it’s a funny, one because to Sophia and I, it’s like surely being inclusive is just being a good person and very natural. Like there are so many talented dancers and DJs who are female, trans, NB, black, Asian, gay, bi the list goes on it’s actually weirder to me that there are so many entirely cis white male line-ups.
Sophia: Totally agree with the above, there is so much diverse talent to choose from that laziness is often the reason these non-diverse lineups don’t come about. Inclusivity is just about common sense and basic empathy and creating ecosystems and societal structures which reflect that.
“There is so much diverse talent to choose from that laziness is often the reason these non-diverse lineups dont’t come about.”
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There is also a focus on fashion with HE.SHE.THEY. — and in multiple ways, fashion is the epitome of inclusivity, experimentation, and individuality. How did you want these concepts to apply to the brand’s clothing when it came to designing the collection?
Braines: I hate the word “merch” it makes me sick in my mouth a bit and feels really cheap. The idea with the clothing is that anyone can wear it and the ready-to-wear stuff is affordable, good quality, longer-lasting, vegan-friendly, fair trade, no sweatshop labor — just principled. We wanted it available in as many sizes as possible and less wastage because so much fashion ends up in landfills so we’ve moved to a production-on-demand model for lots of it.
“We wanted it available in as many sizes as possible and less wastage because so much fashion ends up in landfills so we’ve moved to a production-on-demand model for lots of it.”
Inclusion and sustainability is the motto behind HE.SHE.THEY.
You’ve had many amazing DJs work on your platform including Honey Dijon, LSDXOXO, Sama Abdulhadi, DJ Minx, DJ Holographic, VTSS, Ben Klock, LOUISAHHH, Maya Jane Coles, and countless others — what is it about the artists you’ve worked with that made you think, “they are the right choice — they represent this brand”?
Braines: My personal criteria is that it’s people who are weird and wonderful. Everyone listed there is incredible at what they do and a really nice person. If someone were homophobic or misogynistic etc, even if they were talented, we wouldn’t platform them so it is deeper than just the talent, but we wouldn’t release a bad record just because we liked someone’s politics either.
“My personal criteria is that its people who are weird and wonderful. Everyone listed there is incredible at what they do and a really nice person.”
At HE.SHE.THEY, artistic individuality is encouraged.
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You’ve also worked alongside a collective of LGBTQ individuals such as RuPaul’s DragRace star Bimini and even the London Trans Pride founder Lucia — are there any upcoming projects and collaborations you’re looking forward to this Pride month?
Braines: I mean I’m queer myself so I’m working with the LGBTQIA+ community all year round as it’s one of the communities I belong to. Sophia and I manage Maya Jane Coles, SYREETA, and Wax Wings too who are all queer too. It’s a big queer family.
We’re doing a big Pride event at Fabric in London on 2nd July and Maya is joining us in Chicago on 25th June where we’re one of the official Pride after parties. Other things are bubbling this month with one of our heroes and friends Munroe Bergdorf. To be honest, most of the people we collaborate with are friends. We’re at the Las Vegas Pride official after-party too and we’re hosting the dance stage at Birmingham Pride, and we did Brighton Pride pre-pandemic. I also supported Pabllo Vittar as my drag Character Sandra Spitz in London. That was massive.
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