BORN n BREAD are a South East London creative collective dubbed as major cultural influencers - they have used their own unique flare to create an authentic and refreshing series of printed fanzines, alongside hosting an NTS radio show, DJing internationally, appearing as panellists and curating events. For their latest zine issue ‘African Tales’, the girls have moved beyond South East London, instead exploring their cultural roots in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana. We caught up with them to find out more…
Who is involved with BORN n BREAD? How did you all meet?
Stephanie, Chika, Adelaide, Abigail and Olivia make BORN n BREAD. Stephanie met Adelaide and Chikaat Notre Dame high school where they were in the year below her. Sisters Olivia and Abigail grew up on the same estate as Chika, who’s also their godsister. Chika and Olivia went to the same university, and Adelaide meet Olivia and Abigail through Chika at a concert. Stephanie met Olivia at Adelaide’s birthday dinner. Through all of those connections, BORN n BREAD was birthed in 2013. Stephanie officially joined BORN n BREAD in 2014 after falling in love with the first issue.
There’s a huge rise in zine culture, why do you think this is, and who else should we check out?
Zines’ popularity first exploded with the punk scene in the seventies and with Riot Grrrl in the nineties. As radical subcultures, they created a platform to make the voices and interests they didn’t see reflected in the mainstream press heard and it’s the same now. Our generation have a lot to say and if we don’t hear or see our ourselves reflected in the media then we will find a way to get our voices heard.
BORN n BREAD was birthed out of the frustration of not seeing ourselves portrayed in a positive light, if any, in the media. We're so immersed in a digital space – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. People want something else. It’s refreshing to write something down, cut, stick and print it. We can get a message out with one button but how long after before another message pushes it down the timeline?
We’re tired of scrolling, we want to flip through sometimes. We’ve noticed that people aren’t reading tablets on the train as much anymore. We want something tangible, something that you canread over and over again, something collectible, that’s not going to disappear down the black hole of the World Wide Web. Definitely check out zines like RoadFemme, OOMK, BritishValues, LAW Mag, girlsclub zine, Susgang and Brash zine.
You cross the river to host your popular NTS radio show too, are there any other mediums or creative outlets you’re looking to move into and explore?
We naturally do a lot from publishing to music. We take every day as it comes, we don’t want to do everything. People are doing amazing things that we can’t pull off. We don’t force anything unless it comes naturally to us but there will be panels, hosting, more documentaries and more special nights.
Who else locally have you collaborated / worked with?
We’re worked with brands such as Fila and Pum Pum Socks. We are yet to collaborate with anyone locally. Holla!!!
What other SE-based collectives and creative groups should we keep an eye on?
There are a bunch of collectives and creatives that we know, but off-head we know you should keep an eye on Unfinished Biz, Girls in Film (GIF), Gal-Dem, Polyester, Black British Girlhood, BossyLdn, BBZ, chi & ebs.
How does South East London inspire you?
South East London inspires everything we do. From the music – when we DJ, you’ll hear our south London roots from the bashment, grime and hip hop that used to be played at all house parties back in
the day, the hair salons – where you’ll be asked to come in even if your hair is already done – we’re still inspired by the different styles that come out of those salons. We all experiment with our hair all the time. The colours of the markets, the graffiti on the walls, the style, the music blaring out of shops, the people. Our first issue was definitely inspired by South East London and you can tell from our other issues, it all comes back to South East London.
The area has changed so much in the past few years, are you concerned about how this will effect how creative people will be able to stay and flourish in this city?
Change can be good but it all depends on who the change is for. Unfortunately for the creatives, it’s becoming harder to find affordable accommodation – let alone a studio. Every week a new glass house is being built while hubs, clubs and free spaces are being closed and Tesco Express appears. We work out of our homes or Rye Wax in Peckham, but will hopefully find an affordable studio.
We are concerned about how creatives are affected by these rapid changes and the high rises in rent, because a lot of our creative friends have had to move out of London because they can’t afford it anymore. Creatives will always find a way though, we won’t mention the ways, but they’re there. We will always flourish and keep creating.
Where are your favourite places in South East London?
There are so many places in South East so we’ll stay close to Peckham. Rye Wax and Do You Records – buy records, hang, dance and do work. Corals London – good food, good people, great hang. Bussey Building – everyone knows the deal. Peckham Springs – another good spot for a drink, ask Sam to make your Whisky Sours! Old Spike Roastery – fantastic coffee, cool spot and lovely people. Lolak’s delicious African food, Gabby’s, Jerkiz for tasty Caribbean food, the Korean spot on Walworth Road, Banh Banh, No.67, Moo Moo’s – get your grub on here.