Interview: Junior Sealy

This week we catchup with our pal Junior Sealy, hailed from Barbados, Junior is building his own creative community and art project.

Hey Junior! Some of our readers will be familiar with your styling work on the site. For those who aren’t as familiar, tell us a bit about yourself…

I would like to say I am an artist and a nature/oceanic goth at heart – yup been trying to get the #oceanicgoth going for a while now because I am an island boy who loves to wear black and darker shades although white is still a strong contender in my closet. My art is fashion and product design – that means anything from creating and making contemporary furniture to styling/creative directing editorials for various magazines and styling recording artists to designing homes/spaces – organic gardening and self-sustainable living.

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You’ve travelled a lot, what’s your favourite city?

There is a tie for my favourite city and the two cities are Berlin and Montreal! Honestly, both cities are pretty similar and thats why I can’t choose. I can’t speak either of the languages but each time I go I learn something new – I love French and German and these two cities are affordable meccas for the artistic escape! The cultures are rich and the cities may be poor financially but the people are thriving and full of life! Those two cities always leave me feeling inspired and I still have a few dollars in my bank account at the end of the trip!

 

How do those cities differ from the Barbados culture?

Barbados’ culture is amazing but its not progressive – that would be the biggest difference to me. Island life is laid back and sadly a little close minded but after all, its an island. Alot of people who visit here are in their own paradise bubble and don’t really influence the island like how cities are influenced by people from different places coming together to live there and thrive together.

 

As a creative, how do you connect with likeminded people? Do you find this easy in Barbados?

Facebook and Instagram have been such incredible tools of communication and introduction. I have been meeting people who when I was beginning my journey were just images on the internet now we have conversations about Art, Life, Fashion and Culture…some of who now are friends. Barbados is such a small place so it isn’t hard to meet likeminded people because you stick out like a sore thumb and we all just embrace each other because sometimes we are ridiculed by the masses until we actually make it!

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Do you think having time makes you more creative, being away from a city and working to your own time scales?

 

Funny enough – Island life is exhausting! I have less time here than I did in Toronto because I do so much more, yes there is a beautiful beach as a backdrop to my meetings and a wonderful hillside view of the east coast while I work on furniture and other projects but I find that I am involved in so many things versus when I was in the city. Only thing that is missing is an incredible party scene which I was creating but have stepped away from for now. The upside is definitely working for myself in all areas – creating my schedule and taking breaks when I feel to but with new projects starting – its a lot of work and a lot less play right now but at least, I can say – its less about surviving and more about creating/growing!

Tell me more about L A B & iD and the network you’re currently building in Barbados?

L A B & iD is everything to me! Its my brand! It started out as a contemporary designer store that introduced new designers into the market. We were the first ones to stock a lot of brands in North America that are now being stocked at the coolest boutiques around the world. We worked with some of the best names in the industry and sort of became family friends to designers like KTZ, Proudrace, PATH, Roberto Piqueras, SP Badu, Maria Ke Fisherman, MEAT, CFDA winner – Gypsy Sport (We were their first ever stockist). Now L A B & iD has evolved into an all-around design and consulting firm – showrooming for upcoming designers, creating products and collaborating with many different artists on a lot of projects. I basically use it for everything I do in some way or the other! In Barbados, L A B & iD is joining with another movement I’ve started with my friends Israel Mapp and Wayne Smith – TANDEM – we are looking to bring some punch to the art scene on the island as we have such incredible talent here – * “Don’t forget Rihanna came from bout hey” – as in she is born and raised in Barbados and is probably one of the coolest people alive – I had to mention her hahaha what would this interview be without a RiRI plug – as I listen to “Consideration” in the background*. On an upcoming note – things are brewing with my amazing business partner at Stock Magazine – Award Winning Fine Arts Photographer – Adrian Richards – its all hella exciting!

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You DJ, fashion design and now make furniture, what’s your favourite so far?

Haha! DJ that one awesomely awkward night isn’t enough for me to say I am a DJ but I do create music and made a sample mix on Ableton of Kelela’s “Rewind” that I am proud of! As for fashion design and furniture design – I think my favorite is furniture design and construction because I am learning to use my hands to create things that can last for generations and reach more people. It was such an incredible feeling to see people decorating their homes with my furniture. Don’t get me wrong though, I know that my next effort in Fashion design will bring me incredible joy to see people wearing the new stuff as both things kinda translate similarly. I am more into an utilitarian approach to fashion now but of course, it still has to look “cool”.

 

You’re currently building a house, tell us more about that…

Oh the house! Where do I start – its honestly such a process! Well, it is to be a hillside oasis for my mind to be at ease – off-grid but very contemporary in design and spacial function. The view is incredble and is on what I consider the most beautiful coast on the island – the magestic east coast. It is three small spaces combined by walkways and the insides are open with 12 – 16 ft heights touched by lots of natural light coming in through the many glass windows and skylights. Okay so I need this space to be finished sooner after that description! It is currently at a stage where one tiny house section has taken shape which is beautiful to see. The journey has now begun though – next up is interior finishes for this first section and then to occupy – grow my own food, landscape and continue building the other pieces of the puzzle. As much as I am screaming half of the time, there is no greater feeling than seeing your mind’s work become reality and a home! On the real, I gotta shout out Moms cause without her this project would not be happening right now and I would have gone crazy – so she the real MVP!

Would you swap Barbados for life in the city again?

Honestly, when I was younger I knew I had to get out of here to grow. I believe that one must travel at some point in their life – it is essential. Life on an island is great but once I can travel being based here is honestly a blessing – so probably not! I can’t get enough of the freedom of driving my old truck for hours with friends and exploring every pocket without much fear – so with that said, paradise is currently winning.

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Tell us your favourite songs your listening to at the moment…

Music! Music! Music! Musiccccccc! Right now – I am currently obsessing over Drake – Views album, Rihanna – Anti album – so those two in their entirety. On my singles flex (this may seem bias because these people are all my friends but…) – Ivy Lab feat Roses Gabor – “Can’t Say No” is incredible! Kris E – “Late at Night” – She is Bajan/Toronto famz! Jazz Cartier – “Set Fire” – still one of my fave hype songs, Delorean Blvck – “PGGNT” – will never get old!, Metoux – “Tyrone” – a special person knows how I feel about this song, Kristen Walker – “Confused” – she is another bajan doing great things!, Bambi Lolita – london based artist who I have the privilege of hearing all of her amazing songs before they are released. I can go on forever and ever because I am blessed to have such talented artists as friends – last but not least – if I want to dance without having to think about which track to load up – Dj Bam bii, Birthday boy and Dj D Luxe – are my go-tos. One last song is Stiffy – “Shake That” because all who knows me knows crop over is a beautiful time of year in Barbados.


Has the internet helped or hindered your creativity?

The internet is the holy grail and the biggest blessing! How else would I have seen all the amazing things I needed to go after in life, although thats a blessing and a curse! I am here for the internet a 100 percent! Feed me more memes – NO! On the real, its good when you utilize the heap of knowledge and inspiration it has to offer! Plus, I had an online store so it definitely is great for widening my customer base and reach!

 

You have a great relationship with London brand KTZ, tell us more about that…

KTZ is family! Let’s start there! Marjan and Sasko have been amazing mentors to me from the days of L A B & iD when I stocked KTZ but our relationship evolved during SS15 when I went to london and worked with them styling a few looks in the show. This was one of the most incredible times of my life in fashion and I met some incredible friends like Troy Fuss, Elly Beckford, Kubi Kusi, Lou Bones and more – all influencers in London fashion. I also had the opportunity to work that season with Kelly Cutrone and Emily Bungert of People’s Revolution. KTZ is family! Alot of my friends call me “the KTZ Prince”  *side note – I have the most awesome runway headpiece/crown by them * because our aesthetics mesh so well – I am very much into the tribal modern contemporary style which they have perfected! Any time of the day I can message Sasko and have a conversation which I cherish so much…and I am very happy when they enjoy how I represent their brand through my imagery and styling – one of the most popular KTZ photos at the time was one of me in their FW14 reflective pieces which also landed me one of my biggest instagram follows of all time – Rihanna @badgalriri! I swear I was running around my apartment in Toronto for hours when that happened and I owe a lot of that to KTZ because at that time they were reposting a lot of my photos and she was being dressed by them for her tour so I suppose the connection was made. It is a relationship that I continue to cherish so much and keeps me pushing forward in the fashion world. KTZ es mi familia!

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What are your other favourite fashion brands?

PATH by Janine Grosche is definitely one of my favorite brands of all time – minimalist and future menswear – she is also family and I love everything she does – we have a similar relationship as KTZ. Roberto Piqueras is another brand and family as well – although he has taken a break from fashion for now – I will keep pushing for him to return because he is truly incredible and he already knows he is one of the few people I would wear full colour for. SP Badu is a genius, Proudrace, Asger Juel Larsen are others that have been with me through so much and I love them forever – super talented fam as well! Maria Ke Fisherman although they dropped their menswear – still so much love for them and their aesthetic. Gypsy Sport is amazing for sure – I am so proud!! Epperson NYC is amazing and a mentor. WrkDpt, Atelier Wonder, Ben Lafaille and Travis Taddeo out of montreal are incredible and out of Toronto – Andrew Coimbra, FTWK, BlkLghtCndls, Beaufille and Vejas. On my radar are brands like Phlemuns, Barragan NYC/ Ytinifninfinity and Manemane! So much more cool contemporary designers to mention but I will end with my Bajan designers – Jacqueline Benn Schuppe of Ling Ling Barbados, Wayne Smith, Christian Gibbs and the talented Kesia Estwick of Kingkesia.

 

What advice would you give someone who was considering giving up their 9-5 to pursue their creative dream?

I think Nike gets this right all the time – “Just do it”. The hardest thing is starting, once you begin and work hard, your dreams will become a reality. Of course, its not easy but keep pushing towards your goals and you will see that while you are doing something that you actually love – the hard work seems easy and the reward is so sweet when things fall into place. Don’t give up – even when you really want to…good things take time and I am learning that day by day!

Follow Juniors adventures on Instagram