Featured image: REEK Perfume
Last week commemorated 100 years since woman won the vote; in less than a month, international women’s day will celebrate social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, but, how is the feminist movement linked to perfume? Surely perfume is worn by women with the purpose to allure men? Of course perfume brands use the narratives of a damsel in distress, or a sultry temptress because surely perfume today can’t be linked to the progression of feminism. And yet, here to stand against these out-dated thoughts is REEK: the feminist fragrance brand. With their two scents, ‘Damn Rebel Bitches’ and ‘Damn Rebel Witches’, REEK is giving a nod to brave women of the past whilst celebrating the rebellious spirit of women today who are continuing to defy societal constraints. In a powerful, satirical and enticing way, REEK uses fragrance to embrace the bold and unapologetic essence of women. By cutting away all the beauty bullshit, it is a brand with genuine respect for all women, and so, we decided to chat with the founder, Molly Sheridan, to learn more about the creation of REEK.
How do you hope a woman feels when she wears a REEK perfume?
Empowered to feel and smell how they want to.
We love the voice of REEK, can you tell us a little bit about the reason for the amazingly honest, conversational and no-bullshit tone/voice it has?
There is so much bullshit in beauty, and we wanted to do something that smelled better than that. When we created the brand everywhere we turned made us realise that we didn’t fit into the traditional beauty industry norms, so, we decided to challenge them instead.
We think it’s so inspiring that your brand offers more than just products by inspiring females to be a rebel, take a stand and get involved. What was the reason for this and is this fundamental to REEK?
Our ethos is to memorialise forgotten women from history and to celebrate and promote gender equality today. Simply because it’s a really important cause to us, everyone involved with REEK from our founders, creatives, contributors and models all share this passion. There is enough advertising pushing women to conform, to feel liberated by doing something that should be normal. A great example would be hair removal or deodorant campaigns, celebrating the freedom of females lifting their arms to show their armpits are both dry and smell free. We want to see the woman who lifts her arms up in the air and tells anyone who raises an eyebrow to fuck off.
REEK’s spirit is definitely contagious. The feel-good sensation when looking through the brand’s imagery is one that isn’t often felt with perfume ads as they typically uphold an idealised ‘beautiful’ woman. Why did you choose to centre the use of perfume around the woman herself and why did you choose to use un-retouched images of women?
We genuinely don’t retouch our imagery because we don’t have to and it’s not needed. Most perfume adverts are highly sexualised and stylised, we wanted to create images that made our customers and followers see their own beauty. It is so refreshing and almost surreal to see real pores, lines, rolls, scars, scratches, moles and baby hairs. Let’s hope over time that changes, we should look at over edited pictures as alien instead.