We had the good fortune of connecting with Harolyn Rorie and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Harolyn, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I chose to be a black creator because it is a gateway to self-expression. I’m able to openly express myself, my values, and my views in a way that is not intimidating or opposing. And, it compels others to look for and/or to see things from different perspectives, which is the first step to change.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Well, I left a 20-year corporate career to start a clothing brand. I wanted to create a platform to speak up, to speak out, and to change the way I saw myself, based on others perspectives. When you’re in someone else’s environment, your perspective is based on their ideas, views, and expectations. And along the way, I lost some of my values and views in the pursuit of corporate “success.”
So, I had an “aha” moment and decided to create a clothing brand (starting with T-shirts) that would allow me to create wearable context to say what I want to say, to look how I want it to look, and from my perspective – a style that speaks, boldly and authentically. And, what better way to do that than with fashion.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For starters, Winston-Salem, NC is a small town with a big heartbeat. And the heart of the city is downtown on Trade Street.
Downtown is where you’ll find the hidden treasures like Sweet Potatoes and Ms. Ora’s Fried Chicken, two of the best black-owned southern cuisine restaurants in the Triad. Then, we’ll hang out downtown and shop around at a few black owned businesses like Body & Soul for unique African and handmade gifts, Jewellery Unique and Accessories for one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories, and the Greenhouse for handmade homeopathic health and healing products.
Now, to feel the pulse of the city, and the thing that I enjoy most – gallery hopping! We’ll checkout out a few art galleries on Trade Street, displaying the works and creations of local artist and creators.
And to wind down, or turn up, we’ll hit a few of the downtown breweries and the Vintage Sofa Bar on Burke Street for great drinks, hookah (if that’s your thing), and the ambience of a nostalgic bar lounge experience.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Maya Angelou. Her words, her rhythm, and her achievements in later life inspired me as well as generations of women and girls to be bold, fearless, and phenomenal.