Lotus Rosery is an Atlanta-based clothing brand that you should definitely have your eye on. Founded by 17-year old Westlake High School graduate Anwar Dougsiyeh, the company is comprised of a talented team of artists, designers and models. The launch party for the brand took place on January 6, where teens from all over the Atlanta area came together at The Metropolitan in the West End to celebrate. The event also doubled as a live concert, where underground artists such as Destiny Briona, Jazz Ingram, Keshore, and Cam the Artisan performed. It was a great experience to see so many young people come together and support a brand created by young people.
“The show was amazing, I anticipated 300 people to show but we got 500 (in the building) and (another) 200 that couldn’t get in,” Dougsiyeh tells VOX ATL. “It was great for me seeing how the turnout was so influential for people around me. It caused a ripple effect making other people want to throw shows and perform, and that was our main goal, to create an environment that inspires creatives in a safe and positive way.”
Victor Hill, 18, adds, “The Lotus Rosery launch party had to be the best event organized by young folks in Atlanta ever. The brand and the collective are great. There aren’t many places where a group of kids can run a whole sold out concert with no security and have no issues. It was a great experience to perform and to be a part of this movement. This isn’t the end. Big things are coming!”
“The people were super energetic, the performers were in their own element and it was a good time all together,” says model and Westlake High School student Khadirah Muhammad.
Lotus Rosery is currently selling shirts from their “Season 1” release, but the company is much more than that. VOX ATL had the opportunity to talk with Dougsiyeh and designers Oni Culbreath and Xavier Maldonado about how it all began, where the brand is now, and where it’s headed.
VOX ATL: What is Lotus Rosery?
Anwar Dougsiyeh: Lotus Rosery is a collective of artists all around metro Atlanta building a support system to thrive in the Metropolitan area, and basically, the brand is used as a marketing tool to bring up that ideology.
VOX ATL: What inspired you to start the brand?
Anwar: It all started when I was seeing all the potential my friends had and seeing how we could all collaborate in a sense and bring stuff together. Then Xavier and I always talked about making a brand or building something like that and one day we all decided, like, “Today’s gonna be that day!”
VOX ATL: Who’s all on the team and what do you all do?
Oni Culbreath: Well, it’s Xavier, Anwar, Dougsiyeh, me and Jackson so far. Anwar is the founder, Jackson Reed and I are both illustrators, and Xavier does graphic design.
VOX ATL: Anwar, why did you choose this group of people to be on your team?
Anwar: They’re the most determined, like, their work ethic is like no one else I could possibly want to work with. Xavier is the one who will push to get it done, Oni’s the type of person that if you give her a deadline, she’ll get it done before then, and Jackson’s just like that inspirational person you need to, like, really keep the foundation together.
Oni: It took, like, a lot of sketches…
Anwar: Maaaan, that junk took forever!
Oni: Because, like, Jackson and I had a lot of designs, and so…probably a few months. Because we would draw them and then start putting them on computers and be like, “Oh, we like this one better!” So it took a lot of process of elimination.
Anwar: I feel like the most tedious part of it all was the coloring process.
VOX ATL: There was also some photoshoots that also took place for the brand. How did all that go?
Anwar: It took a lot. I can’t be more grateful to have Xavier beside me through that, because it took so much. Our photographer cancelled on us the morning of. We went through three different photographers and they all couldn’t make it on the specific day, and it was supposed to storm that whole day, but somehow, by the grace of whoever, we made it out there and took some amazing pictures. Then, our second photo shoot was even scarier because it was a huge group of people and it was supposed to be storming the whole day, and then [another] day I got sick and I was hospitalized because I had a stomach virus. Then I was panicking because I have all the contacts and everyone has to come to me, but I was lucky enough to have Xavier and my friend Kendrick (Fisher) help organize it and get the job done.
VOX ATL: Who are your creative influences?
Anwar: Mine would have to be of course, (Jean-Michel) Basquiat. But my main one would have to be Daniel Arsham. He creates these sculptures, 3-D sculptures, and they’re so crazy and wild. He’s a big inspiration to me.
Oni: I really don’t have a lot of people I look up to in visual arts besides Basquiat and my brother, he’s 30 and lives in New York, BUT I love Zelda and FKA Twigs. I get inspired by lot of things.
Xavier Maldonado: Mine would have to be the whole cartoonish-style art because it’s more free. You don’t have to be bound by the limitations of what’s physically possible, you just get to let yourself go. In those terms, your art becomes limitless, and when it’s expressed like that, it feels better because it’s just pure thought rather than just being contained.
Photo: Trent Nicholson