Embracing the vibrancy of the African diaspora, Duppy emerges as a unique fashion brand producing custom pieces, each one a celebration of the Black experience through design. Founded by fashion designer Tilly Logan, Duppy proudly encompass the energy across the diaspora, drawing from touchstones within Duppy’s Caribbean background as the crux of their ethos. Duppy brings together the magnetism of culture, along with a fierce sense of style that provokes its wearer to burst out of their exterior.
Unrestricted by the constraints of the annual fashion calendar, Duppy aren’t one to follow trends or seasons, moving by their own rules and pushing the boundaries of fashion with thought-provoking, innovative pieces. Their newest project, ‘The Molasses Dream’, is inspired by the iconic Blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Being the first film genre to cast Black actors and actresses in lead roles, Duppy pay homage to the power and confidence of the Blaxploitation protagonist.
We speak to founder Tilly Logan about her journey in fashion, the Duppy ethos, and Blaxploitation influences within ‘The Molasses Dream’.
When did you first realise you had an interest in fashion?
I grew up in a creative household, where my Mom would fashion us one-off pieces and I loved the exclusivity of knowing that no one else had what I had on. Eventually, I learned to make my own clothes, which built the foundation of my ethos.
What led you to the decision to start your own fashion house?
Coming from humble beginnings I wanted to create not only a business but a story of success and perseverance for black people like me. Although I saw many brands drawing inspiration from the black community, I struggled to see a reflection of myself with the brands already out there.
I find that the structuring of the fashion industry goes against Duppy’s core values so I wanted to create a brand that stood for something honest, raw and authentic. Duppy proudly embraces black culture, drawing inspiration from the magnetism and energy across the Black diaspora.
Can you tell us about the story behind the name Duppy?
DUPPY DUP-PEE: A spirit or ghost that originated in Jamaican folktales.
Black culture is often used for inspiration in fashion and appropriated, although it’s not often that we’re depicted or recognised in the final vision. The name Duppy is a direct reflection of this. In many instances, we are seen but not heard and I want to help change that narrative.
What three words would you use to describe Duppy style?
Authentic, versatile, flamboyant!
Your new collection of images have such a powerful confidence about them, can you tell us why you chose Blaxploitation films as a source of inspiration? What do you love about the genre?
Blaxploitation was the first film genre where black people played the subject, hero, and villain. I found the women to be a walking advertisement for strength and power, juxtaposed with the feminine shapes and sculpted styles these women wore. We’ve encapsulated this feeling within this project to appreciate the black woman in all her feminine and masculine glory. The tenacity and energy in a time where black people were ready and willing to fight for their rights is inspiration we all should epitomize.
Do you have a favourite Blaxploitation film? We’d love a recommendation!
Can you tell us more about your decision to work with quilted fabrics in the designs?
My love for quilting began when experimenting in university. I found that I could narrate a story through the detailed stitching, creating my own tapestry. Each piece is hand quilted with precision. We’ve focused a lot on this within our designs, but we’ve began to branch out and experiment with other mediums.
Do you have a personal favourite piece from your collection?
My favourite piece would probably the simplest to make! – the STUSH t-shirt. I love the drama and the loudness of it – being stush is a everyday vibe.
If you could dress any musician or celebrity, who would it be and why?
It’d be a dream to dress Bree Runway or Tierra Whack. I love how their originality shines through in whatever they do. I feel they’d add their own little spice to the pieces.
What’s it been like working as a fashion designer during the pandemic – have you faced many challenges?
We had big plans for 2020, but the pandemic has forced us to be creative and do things differently. We put some projects on hold but we’ve used the time for refinement and reflection.
What’s the next step for Duppy?
We plan to expand our reach and continue to grow. We’ll be launching our online store soon, selling made-to-order pieces. We also aim to build our team, we have a new and exclusive collection in the works so look out for it in 2021, cause you don’t wanna miss the drop!