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Janell Langford Is Using Her Graphic Design Background For Fashion

A quick chat with Obsidiopolis Founder, Janell Langford

“From Michelle Obama’s speeches to Beyonce’s Coachella performance I am overwhelmingly inspired by powerful black women,” said Janell Langford as she explained the passion that fueled her brand Obsidiopolis.

Langford is a graphic designer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico and despite being aware of the challenges that come with not live in a city like NYC or LA as a creative, Langford used her keen eye for graphic design to create a fashion label. With a new collection out titled, “Faceted” her creative direction was birthed to “celebrate the multitudes beneath the surface of each and every one of us and the many dimensions we all contain.”

Connecting with a Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment company, Meow Wolf the designer was able to provide a full collection of jumpsuits, t-shirts, posters, cards, totes, accessories and more. ESSENCE got a chance to chat about Obsidiopolis and what’s next for the forward-thinking collective. Read below.

ESSENCE: Where did this idea for Obsidiopolis come from?

Langford: It was just important to me to create what I wanted to see more of. Create something that was very colorful and filled with black women just being, living life day to day without having to deal with like the BS. That’s pretty much like how it started with something that was lacking in my life. And so I just kind of was like, you know what, “I’m going to create something beautiful even though I don’t feel beautiful right now.”

ESSENCE: What made you want to take the angle of uplifting black women through design?

Langford: I felt like sometimes, especially with marginalized communities, we are kind of put in these boxes and we are not allowed to just be human. Society wants to tell us that there’s only one way to be clear and there’s only one way to black. I just wanted to create something that was really upbeat and that also was a theme surrounding black women. I just want us to be and to be in these beautiful spaces with lots of colors and just highlight what I am again creatively drawn to and what inspires me.

ESSENCE: As a graphic designer, what made you want to play in the fashion space?

Langford: My playfulness is definitely at the heart of what I do. I worked in retail for 10 plus years and I’m very passionate about vintage clothing. And so I think it was kind of a no brainer even though my background is graphic design and illustration to transform my art into wearable art.

“I’m going to create something beautiful even though I don’t feel beautiful right now.” – Janell Langford

ESSENCE: What is next for Obsidiopolis?

Langford: My future goal is to expand into as many different mediums as possible. Essentially I would like Obsidiopolis to be a platform for supporting and uplifting other black and POC fem.