This article originally appeared in i-D's The Creativity Issue, no. 348, 2017.
It's the maxim we've heard several times before, but "be the change you want to see in the world" has never been more aptly applied than in the case of gal-dem. The two-year old website and collective found mainstream media exclusionary and whitewashed so decided to create a website of their own; filled with stories, news, op-eds and opinions by young people of colour, but for everyone to enjoy. "gal-dem grew out of feeling isolated and needing to connect with like-minded women and thinking of a way to channel that into something positive and productive -- and really creating a creative community filled with incredible women of colour," says its founder, 23-year-old Liv Little.
Liv, and her team of handpicked editors, juggle full-time day jobs alongside running the site and their print publication, the second of which is due for release in April. Their inclusionary and intersectional message is springing straight from website pages into IRL experience. gal-dem have recently just finished the second of two takeovers with the Victoria & Albert Museum, which saw them curate a program of talks, seminars, performances and screenings that invited multicultural kids from all over London to take control of the museum in their thousands, exploding into a full on dance party alongside the V&A's house collection of archival McQueen dresses and 18th century busts of English monarchs and aristocrats. It's the sort of democratic shake up that our creative establishment needs.
As mainstream publications become muddied with dirty politics and commercial trickery, keep your eye on gal-dem, who with a WOC poetry event, a new club night and cultural installation in the works, continue to grow into a thoroughly progressive millennial media company.
Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Tim Walker
Hair David Harborow at Streeters. Make-up Lucy Bridge at Streeters using Chanel Les Indispensables de L’Été and Chanel Blue Serum.
Leyla wears jacket Napapjiri. Trousers McQ. Trainers and socks model’s own. Simran wears all clothing model’s own. Ifama wears jacket Alpha Industries. Dungarees model’s own. Trainers reebok. Liv wears jacket Carhartt WIP. Top model’s own. Trousers vintage from Oxfam. All jewellery model’s own. trainers converse. Antonia wears all clothing model’s own. heather wears jacket Napapjiri. Shirt and trousers Palace. Varaidzo wears vest vintage Levi’s. Trousers and trainers model’s own.