After a year of very hard work, Geraldine "Gigi" Freyeisen has turned her passion project, The Swagabonds into a reality and launched the very first fashion brand that has been created in collaboration with artists from Los Angeles' infamous Skid Row area.
Last year, we got the chance to talk with Gigi about her quest to redefine Skid Row, which is commonly associated with drugs and prostitution.
What started as a photo project, has transformed into two capsule collections that aim to show the world another side of the area and help local artists rise above their circumstances.
Gigi's project strives to provide these people, whom she now calls her family, with a steady income. After selecting an artist from the Skid Row community, the graphic designer she has teamed up with, Audrey d'Erneville, adapts their artwork into pieces of clothing. The artist receives 20% of the profits, while the rest is invested in continuing their project.
Paying tribute to Tupac Shakur
The official launch of The Swagabonds collection is set for this Friday, June 16, which is also the anniversary of the late rapper Tupac Shakur and the release of his biopic, All Eyez On Me.
To commemorate Shakur's legacy, Gigi's clothing line features a flower embroidered on a piece of bandana fabric – aka "A Rose From the Concrete" – which alludes to the collection of Tupac's poetry published under the title The Rose That Grew from Concrete.
The rose was designed in collaboration with Donald Reese, also known as 'The Flower Man,' a fascinating artist who's been living on the streets of Skid Row for decades.
"The Swagabonds' design - a flower embroidered on a piece of bandana fabric aka "A rose from the concrete" – is an homage to Donald Reese's craft. It's a tribute to the West Coast culture as personified in the 90s by Tupac Shakur."
Take a look at the collection below and keep an eye out for its official release right here.