A Conversation with the Founders of Brooklyn-based Brand L’Enchanteur
L’Enchanteur is the brand you’ve never heard of, but need to know. Launched in early 2014 by identical twin sisters Dynasty and Soull Ogun, the Brooklyn-based brand comprises of clothing, jewellery and accessories that are at once whimsical and modern, and stand as a collective ode to craftsmanship. L’Enchanteur is more than a clothing label, it’s a lifestyle brand carved out of a specific set of philosophies: one that embodies transformation, the process of becoming and unbecoming and a connection to a world which exists beyond the material.
Dynasty and Soull were born into a family of creatives. Their mother, who hails from Dominica, is a seamstress, and their grandmother was well-known on the island for sewing carnival costumes. Their late sister was a budding designer who was responsible for introducing the twins to creativity. Growing up, Dysnasty and Soull expressed themselves through various mediums, from dancing to drawing. Although they were first-generation American children, their Afro-Caribbean household greatly influenced their approach and understanding of design and how they perceive the world. To this day, they create all of their samples for L’Enchanteur by hand, taking the time to always develop their technique and craftsmanship, before any piece goes to production (which takes place in New York).
Before launching L’Enchanteur, Dynasty and Soull were working on separate creative ventures. Soull had a jewellry line and Dynasty had a clothing and textile brand–although they were still very much involved in each other’s brands. When the opportunity arose for them to merge their respective labels, the sisters took it without much hesitation and introduced L’Enchanteur to the world in full force.
Wase: Tell us a bit about L’Enchanteur
Dynasty: What we aim to do with L’Enchanteur is tell stories through our work. Stories about ourselves, our family, our background and our history, where we come from, where our family is from. And we tell these stories based on things we’ve learnt. The question was ‘how are we going to tell this particular story in this creative venture?’ So we came up with L’Enchanteur, which is in a way an ode to our mother. It also describes who we are together – we are the enchanted ones. We like to enchant objects, and to recognise life in the things around us. Our role is to showcase that so people can see it and interpret it however they feel. We’re just playing into that.
Wase: You are twins – what is it like working together? They say twins have telepathy and such– do you feel that comes into play in how you two work?
Dynasty: It’s easy because we work off of each other’s strengths. The things I’m enlightened about in one sense, Soull may have knowledge in another capacity. It’s also easy because we have backgrounds in each other’s crafts.
Wase: You design jewellery, clothes, accessories and more – what’s the guiding principle for everything you design for L’Enchanteur?
Soull: Our motto is ‘Transform your lifestyle’. It’s something everyone does in their daily lives in one way or another – be it a spiritual, emotional or mental reawakening, we’re always in a process of ‘transformation’. With each piece my sister and I design, we’re setting out to awaken something in someone; something that will allow them to change in some way. It can be in little ways such as how they eat or perceive something, or in bigger, more monumental ways.
Dynasty: Whatever way is true for you, that’s your transformation.
Wase: How does gender or non-gender influence the pieces you create?
Soull: When we’re creating a piece, we’re not really thinking about gender. Instead, we’re thinking gender-less. We’re thinking beyond the binaries, and not even partaking in that conversation so to speak. It really is about the beauty and soul of the piece. It’s something a little bit deeper than gender – it’s the vibration of what that piece is doing. The way Dynasty and I walk through the world is very ‘fluid’. So for us, masculine and feminine energy exist simultaneously in everything. Our work tries to undo the idea that men can’t dress a certain way and women can’t dress a certain way. We focus on disrupting that barrier.
Wase: Who is the L'Enchanteur person? Who do you design for?
Dynasty: We design for you. You, me, everybody.
Wase: You’ve said before that L’Enchanteur is inspired by “the sciences, colour theory, numerology, religion, mythologies, magic, & fairytales”. You’re clearly influenced by a sense of otherworldliness. Have you always been drawn to that?
Dynasty: Yes, we always have been. When it comes to our work, we consider ourselves alchemists. What we’re doing as designers is bringing something that doesn’t exist into existence. When you take a piece of fabric and turn it into a garment, you are literally playing around with dimensions and bringing it into form. So for me, what we do in terms of design is definitely otherworldly.
Wase: Do you partake in fashion week? What are your thoughts on fast fashion and the industry as a whole?
Dynasty: We now call it ‘fast fashion’ but it’s kind of what fashion has been since the Industrial Revolution; it’s in no way a new thing. However, at this point, it’s a snore. Everything sort of looks the same and is all about ‘trends’ and ‘seasons’. I think because of that, it allows us to reflect and do what we’re doing with our own brand. For us it’s about creating heirlooms and pieces that last a long time. So I guess in a way, we’re taking advantage of the shift away from fast fashion because what we try to do with L’Enchanteur is reflect what nature is.
Soull: We utilise the structure of fashion week and the audience it pulls because as business women we still want to get our brand out there. So we may release something around that time but we’re not necessarily being moved by the waves of the industry. We very much emphasise the person to person relationship and we produce enough pieces so that everyone who is supposed to receive it does. No matter where our customers are, they are going to get a feeling from us through our pieces. And that can’t happen fast.
Wase: What’s next for you?
Dynasty and Soull: You’ll see.