We’re sitting down with Erin French: Visual Artist, Small Business Owner, and Bond Collective Member. Erin talks Queer visibility at work, what it means to be out at the office and how to be an Ally. We’re here for the fringe—and the feels.
-Nicole Clark, General Manager
Erin has lived in Brooklyn for the past 7 years and is originally from the DC area. Always a creative person at heart, Erin has integrated her love of visual art and fashion on a fresh journey as a small business owner of ErinFrenchie.com. She creates out of Bond Collective Bushwick.
NC: The famous “what do you do?”--tell us about your business..
EF: I’m a visual artist who loves “more is more” fashion and is learning how to sew. This is how I “do art” during this chapter of my life - I source existing wearables and bleach, dye, paint, and embellish.
NC: And your pieces are gorgeous! How have you been able to work and grow authentically in a space like Bond Collective? What does it mean to be out at the office?
EF: I’m super lucky to live in such a beautifully Queer city. Bond Collective absolutely celebrates diversity and inclusion - being out at the office is easy for me, since there are other Queer folks who also exist in and move through this space. It also helps that Bond posts signs that act as a frequent reminder that discrimination in any form will, without question, not be tolerated. We love to see it.
NC: This month is really about feeling good in the skin you’re in, about who you are. What is the best compliment you have ever received?
EF: I actually have a few I think about on hard days. Before I moved to New York, before “stan” culture, I was told I was “the number one fan”. It didn’t matter where we were going or what we’d get up to, I was down to go, have fun, and make it the best time possible with everyone! After I moved to New York, I was told by a former employer that he hired me because he could teach me everything he knew about coffee, but he “couldn’t teach personality”. And, most importantly, my spouse tells me frequently that I make them feel safe enough to get vulnerable, explore their identity, evolve, cry, and just be human with me. That’s my favorite one.
NC: Pride is so impactful, what is your favorite NYC Pride moment?
EF: 2019, the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, was monumental for me. My favorite memory from that year was an intimate moment post-march: we were at a favorite friend’s apartment where we did a lot of dancing and celebrating, and we ended the night going around in a circle talking about “what Pride means to us.” I’ll never forget my best friend’s moms, who flew in from Indiana to celebrate in NYC, sharing their experience growing up loving each other in a small town where their love was frequently attacked. I think about my best friend, and the lens through which she saw the world at such a young age. It brings me to tears - I’m undeniably grateful for my privilege to be out, visible, and celebratory in my Queerness.
NC: More people than ever are looking to meet the moment, and show support for Queer communities. What does Allyship at work look like for you?
EF: Queer people are everywhere. Many may be questioning their identity or orientation under the same roof as you. Allyship at work can be as simple as introducing yourself with your pronouns, even if you are cisgender. That gesture alone offers a safe space for folks to speak their personal truth, maybe for the first time, and also may inspire others to do the same. It means letting folks tell their own story without judgment or assumption. Allyship means buying goods and services directly from Queer people. It means sharing the work done by Queer people so we can continue to do what we love while also paying the bills.
NC: Well said, the support of our Allies means so much! Okay number one, all time fav, guaranteed to make you move Pride song?
EF: Girl… anything Gaga but SPECIFICALLY the Chromatica album. Chromatica came out during the pandemic, which was when we absolutely needed it most. The Queers have been joking about the euphoria of hearing it for the first time in the bar post-pandemic, but it’s true - we will stop everything to dance together to Stupid Love.
NC: That’s definitely going on the playlist!