Genesis Bates is 22-year-old dancer, singer, producer and clothing designer at Howard University. She is the founder and sole designer behind the clothing brand, 1stbook.
See the full spread and read our interview with Genesis Bates below. All clothing and jewelry shown was designed by Genesis Bates. All photos shot by Eleven0six.
S: How would you describe what kind of art you do in your own words?
GB: “I really just like to make people feel some type of way when they’re looking at anything I do—whether it's music, or fashion or the way I dress. I want you to really feel something, even if you like it or don’t, I want it to catch your attention. I don’t like basic shit. Ever since I’ve been born, I’ve wanted to do music. I’ve always had a love for singing, writing, producing and dancing. I was enrolled in a couple of dance classes when I was in New York, and that was where I tapped into knowing how good I was at choreography. I love to tap dance. I just love to express myself, that’s why I think I enter into so many different forms of art. I think that there is so much going on inside here, and being able to take all of these feelings and ideas and literally turn it into a product is really amazing."
S: What are some of your favorite pieces that you have created so far? GB: “Wow, that’s a great question! You know that pyramid purse, that may be one of my favorites. I just love the way it looks and I really had to draw the blueprints to figure out how I wanted it to be. Either that, or the magazine skirt because it’s very editorial and I like editorial stuff. Both had a lot thought put into them which is why they’re my favorite.”
S: What are some things that you’ve learned so far through your designing and producing?
GB: “I always know my habit is to start something and then I get into my head about it and think I can’t do it, until I eventually come back to it because I know I’m supposed to . The same happened with my producing—I thought that my beats were worse than everyone else’s around me so I stopped making them until I got to college. With my sewing too, I couldn’t figure out how to thread the needle on my sewing machine when I first started, so I stopped trying until my senior year of high school. I feel like trying not to get in my head and just doing it is most important. Just go off what you feel, especially if it’s something you’re supposed to do you’ll always want to do it so you might as well do it now. But, also be patient. Especially with social media, it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. I’ll see someone who cut a shirt and they get 20,000 retweets and I hand-sew an entire outfit and only get 20 retweets. That was something that always made me upset, but that doesn’t matter. How many people see it doesn’t matter because the people who’re supposed to see it, see it.”
S: Why do you think that creativity is important? GB: “I think that creativity is one of the most important languages we have. Art, literally, you may not speak the same language but you understand something when you see a painting. I think that everybody needs to be able to express themselves in any way and creating provides that. The way it makes you feel is just so deep. I think it’s important for people to take pride in it because it connects us and everything that we do.”