Q&A with Cipriana and TK Quann

Two timeless styles designed to ‘reflect the times’ by the Quann sisters are dropping this April! 

At APERÇU we champion distinct points of view and we’re humbled to be working with TK Quann and Cipriana Quann given their advocacy work and platforms on diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry and beyond. We’re beyond thrilled that they felt APERÇU would be the right fit for their first sunwear partnership. These two powerful women are on a mission to make this world a better and more beautiful place and that resonates in everything they create. Both Cipriana and TK are pioneers in the world of social media as they made the conscious choice to speak openly and honestly about their background and their activism early in their careers. We’re constantly inspired by their bold combination of glamorous fashion content, inspiring affirmations and their tireless fight for racial equality. 

Identical twin sisters Cipriana and TK are easily distinguishable based on their personal styles, but the women are equally careful of who they work with, and sunglasses in particular are a staple that they both are passionate about. We are honored to introduce their chic and meaningful sunglass styles to the world. On the eve of our launch we sat down with them both to discuss the their perspectives on the dynamic between activism and fashion, the motivation behind their two timeless styles and much more:

What drove you to collaborate with APERÇU? What was it about the product or the company’s mission that resonated with you?

We always align ourselves with brands who believe in our vision and voice. Though we are in the fashion and beauty industry we have always believed you can discuss, educate and intertwine social, cultural and political issues. When APERÇU approached us about a possible collaboration one of the reasons why we aligned was the respect we had for each other in our respective creative processes. Another reason was quality over quantity. TK and I value our virtual family aka followers and APERÇU values their customer and the products the produce. In a world of “fast fashion” quality many times is lost in translation. Just as we want to produce quality and meaningful content that will leave an impactful impression, APERÇU does the same.

What is it about sunglasses that makes them the perfect accessory for you to lend your creative aesthetic and name to?

The moment you have them in your hands you will see. Not only are the colors aesthetically fluid for anyone, but the shape, design and quality add a subtly bold look to any style from your wardrobe. In addition, sunglasses can be worn all year round anywhere and can instantly elevate a look.

 Where did you take your inspiration for the silhouettes?

We both know we wanted something classic that would translate for a lifetime. As sisters we are heavily inspired by the seventies, especially influenced by our Mother during those times who has impeccable style! TK’s face shape is oval/round while my face shape is oval. We wanted inclusive shapes that would be flattering for everyone one. We envisioned intermixing vintage timeless colors while TK conceptualized a classic oversized square and thin profile rectangle shape would be best for our collection. Then together with Founder/Creative Director Kristen Aronsson we fined tuned the front shapes.

Can you speak directly to the inspiration and meaning behind the Nail & Hammer details? What do they represent?

When TK and I were offered to create a collection with 100% creative freedom we instantly knew we desired to incorporate an element that would symbolize unity and our beliefs of using one’s voice, work and art to impact a better future. Our parents had a huge influence in the way we think today. Our Mother was our superwoman as she attended one of the top colleges in the country and simultaneously worked in the corporate field yet did not skip a night in reading us a bedtime story or helping us decide our outfits for school in the morning or so on and so on. The list is infinite. Our Father worked from home as a mechanic and engineer and was constantly surrounded by tools so I came up with this idea of the nail and hammer drawing from those past memories. They taught us self-belief in ones abilities and never letting anyone tell us otherwise. If we envisioned doing something we had to put the work in and do it ourselves like picking up a hammer and nail and putting in the work.

Cipriana conceptualized the Nail and Hammer representing our advocacy for social justice issues and TK came up with the figurative meaning – we use these tools to build more hope, acceptance and kindness for a better world. Finally, Cipriana wanted to create a physical symbolization of taking ownership and doing your own part through your own unique creative process, as we are inspired by Nina Simone’s words “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.

Can you briefly describe the elements of your personal style that set you apart from each other and any that bring you together?

As twins sisters we definitely have our own individual style. I am more boldly classic while TK is just more bold, exploring a plethora of styles while seamlessly making it work so effortlessly. What brings us to together is our love of fashion and being open enough to try elements of each other’s wardrobe creations, inspiring us to create looks in our own style.

Are any specific women inspiring you right now?

The greatest inspiration in our lives is always our Mom. It is truly special that we don’t have to look far for daily inspiration from such a strong, beautiful, smart and insightful woman. We are beyond lucky to have such a loving relationship with an incredible woman that is not only our mother but our best friend. We also constantly find inspiration in one another as well as we always encourage and support one another. It is within our sisterhood we find a great deal of inspiration. Inspiration and sisterhood to add comes in many forms and bonds, however, we are truly lucky that we find it within our family.

What are you reading/what’s on your bedside table?

‘Solitary’ by Albert Wilcox, rereading ‘Caste’ (The Origins of Our Discontent) by Isabela Wikerson, ‘Mindfulness’ by Joseph Goldstein, ‘Dear Ijeawele’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ by Bessel van der Kolk and ‘Beyond The Brain’ by Stanislav Grof.

What are your summer style must-haves?

Each year our summer style must have style is confidence. It never goes out of trend and will be the most important accessory you can wear for any style.

How did you both start in fashion and what is your current relationship with the fashion industry?

Cipriana: I started off in fashion as a model. I was scouted off the streets of New York during a summer trip and was in the industry for 10 years before I left due to all the struggles I faced as a young Black model, but the obstacles I had to overcome are in direct correlation to why I felt compelled in 2011 to co-found Urban Bush Babes; a safe and supportive space celebrating Black women and women of color, while producing content that was breaking the stereotypical ideals of mainstream beauty, in return helping other women to feel comfortable in their own authentic skin. About a year and half after co-founding the site Vogue Magazine selected me as “1 of 6 Brilliant Women” to do a short 24 hour day in the life documentary on my personal journey and the website. After the documentary Vogue Magazine featured me in a published article I wrote on the evolution of our style as sisters and shortly after I was officially signed as a contributor writer for Vogue Magazine.

In 2013 TK joined as an executive writer on my site and we attended our first NYFW together. We garnered a lot of press as twin sisters with different styles and Vogue featured us together in their editorial for a story on siblings as well as making their Best Dressed lists on multiple occasions while working with almost every major couture brand in the industry. As twin sisters uniting forces came natural especially to consistently intertwine discussions of diversity and

inclusivity within the fashion industry as we were selected by TED Talks to speak on the need of diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry and how those two components are not only necessary but beneficial from a financial standpoint for a company’s future.

You both use your platforms to lead conversations on standing firm in one’s identity and fighting for social justice. Can you describe how activism came to be at the core of your identities and your work?

Obama said, ““One voice can change a room, and if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city, and if it can change a city, it can change a state, and if it change a state, it can change a nation, and if it can change a

nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.” Those words really resonate because so often some think that their voice doesn’t matter or see the power in their voice being unified with others because change may be slow or nonexistent. However, you have to continue to put the work in to fight for what you believe in because sometimes change does occur in powerful and effective ways. Activism has always been a part of lives regarding equality whether it is on racial justice inequality or diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry. We’ve experienced racism many times from a very young age as we were targets of a hate crime at eleven years old. Being silent on these issues is an option we never considered. We firmly believe that silence is one of injustice’s greatest rewards.

Please briefly speak to the focus of your activism work in 2021:

Besides advocating for diversity and inclusivity within the fashion industry for many years social justice issues are always front and center as we have been advocating for racial equality for most of our lives as writers, activists and mentors. It is always important to continue that work because many of the changes we are advocating for will not unfortunately change over night or within a year or even two years or five years and so on. Sometimes you don’t see change or change that has effects in viable ways that are conducive to long lasting progress and that is frustrating and disappointing. However, at times you do see change and that is encouraging, but you have to be consistent as tenacity is the key for activism work. We also never lose sight on the power of using your voice to speak up for what you believe in. Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they have none.” We do not lose sight of that very important reminder.

Can you speak a bit about any overlaps you find personally between activism and fashion?

For us the overlap is one in the same. Fashion regarding inclusivity has come a long way but there are still so many pertinent changes that have yet to be made or even discussed. We love the aesthetics of fashion but there is a world outside of this industry with more pressing matters that needs to be front and center. Being actively and consistently vocal on those issues is not an option for us, it is what we feel we need and want to do. We can not be aware of the atrocities in the world and not contribute our part in some way to create change.

Giving back to The Loveland Foundation is an integral part of your partnership with APERÇU. Why does their mission resonate for you?

There is a focus on providing therapy for Black women and girls — removing the stigma of therapy within Black communities as therapy can be extremely beneficial in the healing process. We know that there is nothing wrong or weak about seeking help. In fact it takes a lot of strength to know when you need help and to ask for it. There is strength in following through with the necessary steps to lead you on a journey of healing. We experienced a lot of violence for most of our childhood and understand that healing is an essential journey for trauma which is why this organization resonates with us.

ABOUT THE LOVELAND FOUNDATION

The Loveland Foundation was established in 2018 by Rachel Cargle in response to her widely successful birthday wish fundraiser, Therapy for Black Women and Girls. Her enthusiastic social media community raised over $250,000, which made it possible for Black women and girls nationally to receive therapy support. Black women and girls deserve access to healing, and that healing will impact generations.

The Loveland Foundation is the official continuation of this effort to bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls. Through fellowships, residency programs, listening tours, and more, ultimately [they] hope to contribute to both the empowerment and the liberation of the communities [they] serve.

— via thelovelandfoundation.org

 Campaign photography by @terrygates, Campaign creative direction & styling by @ciprianaquann and @tk_wonder