For as long as Cassandra Perry, owner of local brand Raw&Radiant, can remember, creating has always been a facet in her life. “I was fortunate enough to grow up with two older sisters that are artists, and often used me as a prop in their work. Although, it wasn’t until high school that I found the true connection to the artist within. It felt like I found my voice for the first time in my life,” explained Perry. These days, she’s bringing up-cycle fashion and art to life through her brand.
“I love creating for that very reason, voice. Art is a visual representation of a story. It’s a feeling, a poem, a love language, a belief, a reality, a fantasy and so on. Moreover, it’s a speech without words — a way to express and connect,” stated Perry.
Perry earned her BFA in graphic design and continued her journey to discover what fuels her creative edge. From these self explorations, she would happen upon a brand of her own, Raw&Radiant. According to Perry, the idea for a brand started with the concept from a charcoal drawing she was working on. This particular drawing displayed a different interpretation than most of her other artwork. “I like to leave my artwork to interpretation. However, the best way I can describe this particular piece was that it displayed the pain of being a woman in this world,” said Perry.
“I was convinced by a friend that this piece was too powerful to just sit alone in my studio. Suddenly, I started imagining it as a Femme jean jacket. I took a screen printing class and went thrifting,” stated Perry. “I spent long nights making a series of jackets with the same design, yet individually unique — they all sold right away. From there, I kept evolving the designs, the fabrics and crafting details. It then became, Raw&Radiant.”
According to Perry, she aimed to combine the efforts of fashion as a fine art form and the act of self-expression in itself through fashion. Raw&Radiant developed with the goal to make an impression publicly.
“Live Raw/Stay Radiant” is the mantra Perry understands for her brand. To her, it means to live as the truest form of yourself and of your truth. Moreover, to share with the world what makes you who you are. “In these two simple ways, you can create bold waves in a world that just coasts,” said Perry. “My own Raw&Radiant truth was to always see and/or create beauty from pain. Therefore, the name felt like a perfect representation of my work.”
Raw&Radiant is unique in the sense that no garment will look like the other. Perry takes on her creative flair to adhere to who she is designing for, what the design is all about in the first place and what the overall style of the jacket is.
According to Perry, her work could be deemed “edgy” or “scandalous” amongst the community because its exudes honesty. However, Perry’s intentions and passions provoke her to do just that in her work. She intends to make people think and feel what might be uncomfortable. “I believe it to be a form of art-activism,” explained Perry.
For any creator, the design process in itself might look a little different. For Perry, it’s important to make sure she carves in time to create for herself. This is not only an overall positive experience for her throughout her design process, but keeps her inspired and in the moment with her projects.
“Being a creator as your career or having anything you’re incredibly passionate about as your career can be difficult at times. You can feel like you’re limiting yourself to appease others. Furthermore, you have creative blocks and the pressure of perfection and comparison,” Perry elaborated.
The Denver community incorporates designers, artists, owners and creators that boost the artistic scene the Mile High City has to offer. According to Perry, this not only keeps her creative juices flowing but gives her a means of support on a daily basis. Recently, Perry’s worked surrounds itself around what she describes as the healing in society.
“The shift I’ve noticed in my work recently is that it is fueled by the inspiration of healing. The healing I am experiencing, the healing I see in others and the healing that needs to be awakened within society,” explained Perry. “It is the stories of what lies within and around me, as I feel it all deeply and express it all visually.”
All Photography by Adrienne Thomas