This week, let’s discover a very interesting fragrance brand called JØ5EPH K: when Architecture meets high-perfumery creation. This is a Made in USA brand created and animated by the multimedia artist, now perfumer, Brad Kalavitinos. Follow the tour here.
Each year the Fragrance industry has more or less 300 new fragrance launches. It becomes hard to find our way throughout the Perfumery shelves. The main actors like LVMH, L’Oréal or even P&G master the market and generate each year billions of dollars.
Aside these highways of creation, we can see that, on the past 10 years, young and creative brands were founded. These brands were most of the time the aim of one person, a creator in a way.
JØ5EPH K is the creative and artistic result of a contemporary artist called Brad Kalavitinos. He was born in the US and after his degree in multimedia and fine art, he started developing his creative universe. According to the brand website, he discovered scent creation as his primary medium three years ago. After studying various perfumery disciplines he pursued his desire to build ambitious scent structures that could interpret his artistic concepts. He refers to himself a “fragrance architect” and gathers diverse sensory inspiration from architecture, minimalist artists, photographers, molecular gastronomy and ambient music. His universe is very modern, very graphic too.
At Luxury Activist, we were happy to get in contact with Brad Kalavitinos and he kindly accepted this exclusive interview that you can read only here:
Luxury Activist (LA): Could you please tell me your Name, place of birth, educational background please?
Brad Kalavitinos (BK): Brad Kalavitinos, born in US, degrees in multimedia and fine art.
LA- When did you realize you were destined to be a perfume creator?
BK- I did a conceptual art project about ten years ago that incorporated a smell element. Observers would take a sample of fragrance with them after experiencing the sculptural portion of the piece and it had such a profound effect on them. At that point I realized fragrance could express a thousand more thoughts and emotions for me as an artist.
LA- How would you describe your work as perfume creator?
BK- My work explores simple and complex concepts through smell. My work is like a kaleidoscope of imagery, fantasy and emotions. I usually begin with an image or a phrase in my head and explore it from many directions. I enjoy the freedom of not having a corporation telling me what is trendy or what will bring the most profits.
LA- Do you have preferred perfumery ingredients you like to use?
BK- Yes and no. I’m drawn to spicy notes but it really depends on what kind of concept and fragrance I am working on. A painter usually has a favorite color but they’ve been trained to know how to use all colors to achieve desired effects. For instance, when I was working on an upcoming fragrance called, “Portrait of nude man” I was trying to use ingredients that simulated warm skin…using various synthetic musks and wood notes…but musks are not very dynamic on their own…they need some really bad smelling ingredients to make them sparkle. Fragrances have so many building blocks that add structure or bridge layers the layers of the compositions. I trained myself as a perfumer and realized early that I couldn’t dismiss any ingredient even if it smelled horrible…good and bad equals beautiful when it comes to fragrances.
LA- What was your first olfactive memories?
BK- My mother’s purse when I was about three years old. The leather smell mixed with the contents of the purse…lipstick, chewing gum, perfume, face powder, tissue…it was pure heaven to me.
LA- Tell me about the unusual spelling of JØ5EPH K?
BK- The number 5 as a letter S is from my training as a graphic designer. I enjoy the subtle visual texture it adds. I’m drawn to minimalism and use a “more is less” approach to design. My labels and packaging convey a modern feeling but doesn’t distract from actual product…which is the fragrance.
LA- What is the concept behind JO5EPH K?
BK- The concept of JO5EPH K came from my tag line, “Traditionally made for the modern world”. I wanted to approach perfume in a different way with intriguing formulations as well as craftsmanship. The process of doing anything is absolutely as important as the final result. Fragrance formulations need to develop at the molecular level and I mature mine for about 60 days before I bottle them. The fragrance has significantly more depth and nuances…very similar to the process of making wine and champagne. I call my process “microbatching” because I don’t produce large amounts of a fragrance…only 20 or 30 bottles at a time. People have a better appreciation my fragrances because of the dedication I put into them. I believe consumers today are more interested in artisan products…they want to know how products are made and where they come from. Being able to have a connection to the artisan perfumer is something commercial perfumery doesn’t offer.
LA- Why do you use internet to share your work?
BK- The internet is a new language that almost everyone speaks now. I don’t have a marketing team or millions of corporate dollars for advertising but there are many options small businesses and entrepreneurs can use to promote themselves and their products. I create and develop every single aspect of my product and take full advantage of the free social media sites to network professional relationships around the world.
LA- Where can we buy your fragrance creations?
BK- Currently, I sell my debut fragrance, “9 clouds”, at www.jo5ephk.com I’m still searching for niche perfume stores that will stock my fragrances.
LA- What are your plans for the future?
BK- I have several limited edition fragrances coming soon that will only be available on my website. They will be telling an unusual story using short videos to help interpret them. I am also introducing my first men’s cologne in August that was constructed from a phrase I once saw on a scrap piece of paper that read, “Man is meant to be modern”.
The brand already revealed a first fragrance called 9/ Clouds. The very first seconds, when we smell 9/ Clouds, flashes a beautiful Orris note in the true tradition of Haute parfumerie. Then, the more we get into the fragrance, the better we understand Mr. Kalavitinos perfumery. Notes of Apricot, Amber and Rose wrap this orris column and lift it up. Dry woods build a solid structure. Mr Kalavitinos creates like an Architect. Each element is at its place and there is nothing “too much”. He uses the finest qualities (we can smell it) and each ingredient was carefully used just to find this incredible and fragile equilibrium that is creation. So many brands today forget that a fragrance value is not the marketing but what is inside. Here is a good lesson to lots of fragrance brands.
At Luxury Activist we also got the priviledge and honour to discover some future projects but these will be the subject of another article. JØ5EPH K is an interesting Perfumer Brand with a personal, almost intimate work revealed along the beautiful ingredients used.
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