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Meet Parisa Parnian of Savage Muse

Today we’d like to introduce you to Parisa Parnian.

Parisa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Savage Muse is a fairly new multi-platform lifestyle brand that I launched as a response to what I feel is needed in our local LA markets & communities: Art, products, events and experiences that speak to the interests & needs of intersectional women: Women of color, queer/trans women, body positive women, women over 35, and women of immigrant experience are some of the areas I am interested in celebrating on Savage Muse.

Previous to launching Savage Muse, which is both a digital/web presence as well as a physical design studio in Silver Lake, I spent many years working as a fashion leader in large global brands such as Guess, The Gap and Target.

In addition to my time working in corporate fashion, I also have spent many years as an innovator in the world of fashion and design. In the early 2000’s when I lived in Brooklyn, I was one of the first designers to launch an online-only fashion label geared towards androgynous/non-gender binary folks–long before either online fashion commerce or gender-free fashion was a trend. This label was called RIGGED OUTFITTERS and was a much-loved brand amongst the queer world of the early 2000’s.

I even got to wardrobe the cast of Showtime’s L Word with my designs (back in the day). I was also a senior lecturer at the California College of Arts in San Francisco for a couple years and created a cutting-edge curriculum for the Diversity Studies Department. This class was called “Alternative Bodies” and was one of the first inter-disciplinary courses to identify emerging and under-served communities and to provide design solutions for folks from these different markets.

In addition to my professional life in fashion and design, I have always been an art/social activist in my free time. When I lived in NYC, I did a lot of performance art and had a one-woman show called “Dirty Phoenix and the Asses of Evil”- which was queer middle-eastern burlesque comedy geared towards art activism around post 911 New York. I also was a professional drag king named Eddie Goldust back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s.

Most recently, I have gotten back into my roots as a visual artist and was part of a recent group show in San Francisco called THIRD MUSLIM, which brought together contemporary queer/trans artists who come from Muslim countries/backgrounds to let our unique voices be heard.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My career has been a windy, exciting road and has quite a few bumps, detours and even a few “crashes” along the way.

Savage Muse is not my first time being a creative entrepreneur. Over the course of the past twenty years, I have created and run two other businesses: a textile/graphic design studio and an online fashion label–both when I lived/worked in Brooklyn many years ago.

Running your own business is both one of the most gratifying things you can do and also one of the scariest, most frustrating and most risky. I managed to keep both of my past businesses alive for over 5 years each, but ultimately, neither business was able to sustain me over the long-term and I had to pull the plug. Each time I had to close one of my businesses, it felt like I was killing my baby. It was a time filled with disappointment, shame, and a sense of failure.

But each time, I pulled myself up, did what I had to do to keep moving along in my career and financial well-being and then, when the inspiration struck, I have jumped back in again to become a creative business owner and go on that crazy, bumpy ride all over again!

Other obstacles/challenges in my life have revolved around my identity. Being a queer, immigrant, woman of color from the Middle East during a time that Islamophobia, Homophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments are rampant in the United States, I have experienced a lifetime of doors closing and judgment from different individuals and communities become of one or more of my identities. But, these very obstacles and challenges are what have fueled my art activism and are the foundation of why I have launched Savage Muse.

Savage Muse – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Savage Muse is a fairly new multi-platform lifestyle brand that I launched as a response to what I feel is needed in our local LA markets & communities: Art, products, events and experiences that speak to the interests & needs of intersectional women: Women of color, queer/trans women, body positive women, women over 35, and women of immigrant experience are some of the areas I am interested in celebrating on Savage Muse.

I’m still trying to figure out how to explain all that the Savage Muse world encompasses in a few short words. But just as the muses and the audience of this brand is layered and colorful, so is the different aspects of what this brand is.

ART/STYLE:
Part of this brand is my lifestyle design studio, located in Silver Lake. Here I offer illustration and design services to clients at design agencies & publications, as well as creating custom “SAVAGE MUSE” portraits for individuals.

I also create & sell my own art, inspired by my “muses” and have the art available on all sorts of fashion/home accessories such as pillows, ceramics, T-shirts and more. I have also started making one of a kind custom-painted denim & repurposed fashion pieces.

POP-UP DINNERS/COMMUNITY BUILDING:
Another aspect of the Savage Muse world is a series of culinary and community-building gatherings I have been hosting at my home in Silver Lake. Using inspiration from my Persian heritage and my love of cooking, designing menus and styling tableware settings– I have been throwing a series of “pop-up dinners” that bring together a curated, but diverse group of diners from the POC communities, queer/trans communities, Middle-Eastern communities and local LA foodies who want to have a very unique and memorable experience.

These dinners have been so successful in bringing people together who would normally not cross paths in their busy and isolating LA lives. They have also been a fantastic platform for me to expand my design practice to include the culinary world and experiential design.

STORYTELLING/INTERVIEWS:
The third branch of Savage Muse and the branch that I have yet to fully develop is the storytelling and interview part of the website. Savage Tales will be a digital platform for me and other women of intersectional experiences to share their stories as well as any sage advice and wisdom they have for us. In addition, I want to feature my own “Savage Muse” both contemporary women and historical figures who have been a huge inspiration to me and many other women in the world today.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I have had a few milestone/proud moments in my career so far. The first was when I launched the first queer/gender non-binary fashion label and helped build community at a time before social media existed.

The second was when a curriculum I created called “Alternative Bodies” was adopted by the California College of Arts as one of the required courses for graduating seniors and that the course continued to be taught at the design school, even after I had moved to Los Angeles to pursue a global design job.

The most recent proud moment is that I have been able to reinvent myself, mid-career and in my forties, and have been able to do is totally on my own and totally on my own terms!

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.savagemuse.com
  • Email: info@savagemuse.com
  • Other: SAVAGE MUSE – An art/design residency & pop-up shop
    Address: CRUX
    3197 GLENDALE BLVD, LOS ANGELES, CA
    Date/Time: Thur April 12th, 2018
    6-9pm
    There will be complimentary drinks/appetizers and a performance art aspect to the evening


Image Credit:
Tina June, Aja Aguirre, Lauren Shields, Tina Gharavi

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. moshe

    January 29, 2019 at 21:16

    hi parisa
    you doing very creative and wonderful things.
    i met you at superking market and you mentioned a place you posted your recipes. can you send me the web site address.

    thanks

    moshe

  2. Jane Maki

    May 18, 2019 at 20:25

    How would one get an invitation to one of these dinners?

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