When Amira Rasool climbed out of bed on Friday morning, she did not expect to be riding into battle against Taylor Swift.
Soon, Rasool, founder and CEO of fashion e-tailer The Folklore, was deluged by online buzz about the award-winning singer-songwriter’s surprise quarantine album, folklore, which she had dropped at midnight to breathless anticipation and fanfare. Rasool didn’t think much of the record’s name. Plenty of things were named “Folklore,” she reasoned. Certainly she didn’t have monopoly on the term, which refers to the traditional stories, customs, and beliefs, typically passed by word of mouth, from one generation to the next. Even an email, sent to Rasool through The Folklore’s website, inquiring about a faulty digital download of Swift’s album, didn’t give Rasool much pause. It was a little strange but she shrugged it off.
Then a friend pointed Rasool to the folklore merchandise. There, on the front of a sweater or the sleeve of a hoodie was a logo she recognized. The typefaces were different. The Folklore uses a custom roman font; folklore an italicized script that invokes the record’s soporific, indie-folk atmosphere. But the word “the” on products emblazoned with “The folklore Album,” tipped on its side and affixed perpendicularly to the rest of the phrase, was the same design element Rasool had used since 2018, when she launched The Folklore to amplify underrepresented African and African diaspora designers.