Photo courtesy of www.thesepinklips.com
Iris Barbee Bonner is a creative thinker, artist, and fashion designer residing in Philadelphia. The young artist has amassed an amazing following and has had her designs featured in Glamour Magazine, Complex Magazine, and others. Her designs are a mix of graphic, colorful, attention grabbing letters and pictures that push female empowerment. Its clear Ms. Bonner is just getting started and hopes to make an even bigger impact in fashion, and take her business to new heights.
Iris Bonner: Actually that was my last name when I was adopted, then my mom just moved it to be my middle name and added her last name, Bonner. But yeah, everyone thinks its a nickname or that I just use it because I guess its the trend now. I actually really hated it when I was younger, kids would make fun of it.
In previous interviews you referenced your close relationship with your mom, do you credit that to how your clothes and paintings have such a strong, feminist stance?
Iris Bonner: No,not really. Well not in the creative, or artsy way, my mom is not artsy at all. All of my ideas are my own. But she has been my biggest support system, I don’t know where I would have been without her.
Iris Bonner: There is a lot of culture here in Philly, but from a young age I was in art programs throughout school, so that really just instilled in me the process of being inspired by many things. TV, movies, something I see any and everywhere can be put into my artwork.
Iris Bonner: I actually don’t know how to sew! I want to learn, I need to learn. But as far as designing and sketch that all came from when I was younger and involved in so many art programs, its how I expressed myself and I just took it further with fashion. College helped me hone a lot of skills and my technique as well.
Iris Bonner: I honestly just paint whatever is in my mind or whatever I’m feeling. I’m inspired by many things, so whatever comes to my mind while I sketch or draw, that is what I put on paper or paint.
How does it feel having your work recognized and worn by famous people like Cardi B,Amber Rose and Blac Chyna? Has that changed your life in anyway?
Iris Bonner: It gave my designs a lot of attention, I was glad celebrities saw my work and invested in it. I don’t really know how I feel sometimes, its a crazy, weird but great feeling. One day a friend sent a picture of one of my designs in Glamour Magazine and I was just speechless and overwhelmed.
What other women in the fashion world do you look up to? Why do you look up to them?
Iris Bonner: Patricia Field, because I actually got to work with her which was so cool, she’s so dope. Umm…. I love designers that aren’t afraid to break from the norm and do different things. I love bold style. I like Rihanna, Betsey Johnson, Grace Jones, Madonna. They aren’t afraid to be themselves, I love it.
Iris Bonner: I do, but its gonna take more time. People get offended so easily, its crazy to me that people are still offended by nipples and breast-feeding. Like the other day I was watching Bravo, you can hear the most obscene language, just someone cursing every two seconds, but they will blur out a women’s body.. that’s crazy to me. I do think we have had a lot of progress but there is still more to be done, hopefully society will get there in time.
I produce a lot by hand. Mainly hand painting. I want to work on more things printed so I can balance my time more effectively and also to have better turn around time of my designs. I definitely want to do more costumes, . I want to like help artists with costume design on concerts. I will do more art shows. And I will finish my book. I want to do a coffee table book and in it have my art journals and the feelings behind my designs for people to see.
All Photos Courtesy of Iris Barbee Bonner
To check out Iris’ work/purchase from her line visit thesepinklips.com