Yosh Han founded the Digital Scent Festival last year out of the desire to connect the scent community in a time of social distancing and lockdowns. The inaugural event, entitled “Olfaction and the Senses,” offered talks on subjects such as the manufacturing process of perfumery, the connection between smells and music, as well as future application possibilities for scent. It expanded from an initial six-week-long program of Insta Lives and Zoom events into a six-month-long stream of conversations.
Han has been a key voice of the indie scent industry, from her own fragrance line YOSH, a range of perfumes built on the principles of numerology and chakra energy, to being creative director for Scent Trunk, a DTC subscription service which commissions monthly scents from niche perfumers around an annual theme, as well as offering DIY bespoke creations.
This year’s Digital Scent Festival subject was “Intersectionality & Perfumery,” hosting the conversations summarized below. In conjunction with the festivities, Han has launched a petition to reclassify the terms “oriental” and “floriental” in the fragrance industry. BeautyMatter rounded up the key takeaways and anecdotes from the week’s events.
Talk: South Asian and North African Scent Heritage
Dana El Masri, an interdisciplinary artist and founder of perfume house Jazmin Saraï, led the week’s inaugural event. With El Masri’s goal of replacing the often Eurocentric vision of the perfume industry with multicultural narratives, the creative led an illuminating talk on the vast olfactory landscapes of the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Syria, and Sudan, to name a few.
Clubhouse Chat: When You Love a Perfume but the Name Is a Shame
This casual, humourous, and free-flowing talk was hosted on Clubhouse by Perfume Playdate, a live beauty talk hosted every Wednesday by fragrance journalist Olya Bar and cultural historian Daisy Bow. Attendees were invited to come in to disclose the fragrance names that caused them personal discomfort. While we won’t disclose the actual fragrances, the products mentioned can be summed up by the following categories:
Talk: Colonialism, Spice Trade, and Raw Materials
Led by Rachel Binder, founder of the fragrance house Pomare’s Stolen Perfume, winner of the 2020 Aftel Award for Handmade Perfume and recipient of the International Perfume Foundation’s Sustainable Brand of the Year award, this event delved into historical and present-day contexts of colonialism around raw materials.
Panel Discussion: Fresh Perspectives in American Perfumery
Moderated by Bambi Montgomery, an atmosphere curator and product developer, and founder of Hive Luxury Fragrances, this panel was a far-reaching discussion on personal experiences and industry futures. Speakers were Terees Western, founder of fragrance and flavor apothecary FragranTed; Kimberly Waters, owner of MUSE (Modern Urban Sensory Experiences), the only Black-owned fragrance boutique in NYC; Shawn Crenshaw, the man behind Ovation for Men, the first indie fragrance brand celebrating men of color; and Rodney Hughes, the creator behind natural and organic perfume house Therapeutate Parfums, and an advisory board member for the International Perfume Foundation.
2 Article(s) Remaining