It’s not every day that one comes into contact with a brand that celebrates safe spaces for women and creativity alongside the conjunction of pineapple fruit. Tribe of Pine is here to show that these ideals can coexist! Tribe of Pine is an inclusive brand whose symbol is the pineapple to represent how we should also see ourselves as royal, rare, and beautiful as a Pineapple or as the founder calls it, “Fineapples.” The founder of Tribe of Pine, Simone Russell, created this brand to create space within the community to celebrate the many intersectionalities within our community, while also including Jamaican tributes.
Tribe of Pine launched virtually in 2020, this time on December 18th, 2021, it was time for this brand to finally have the physical launch and celebration it deserved! Once you entered the U2S space you are greeted by lovely photographs of models wearing Tribe of Pine adorning the walls. Alongside this were two interactive photo installations where guests were able to capture memoirs from this event. The highlight of the night had to be care packages including traditional Jamaican goodies brought straight from the country. Also including fresh-made rum punch and juices that were available. As someone of Jamaican descent, this element made me feel right at home.
Overall, Simone curated a pop-up that not only introduced many to her brand, Tribe of Pine but also invited us into an inclusive event and safe space to celebrate our many intersectionalities. I was able to speak with Simone more about Tribe of Pine and so much more:
Lauryn: Well first congratulations! I want to start first by asking if you could tell us more about how Tribe of Pine began. Where did it stem from? Give us a timeline on it.
Simone: So long story short, Tribe of Pine, is me trying to pull together all the parts of myself. I'm big into design, creativity, and interior design. I'm also big on community and safe spaces for people of color for women. I love events, just the idea of having people come together, celebrating with music, and having an unforgettable experience is fulfilling. Tribe of Pine is not a plain, regular event. It's the marriage of all these items that I went and bought in Jamaica that can make your house beautiful. Each item has a story behind it that brings culture into the home. This pop-up shop kind of leads to more meetups. I want people to think of it as a tribe, or as a community. I used pineapple because it's my favorite fruit. When I started researching it, I didn't know that pineapple was a revered fruit, the history of it. At one point in time, it was considered the most expensive fruit in the world. People used to rent pineapples by using them as centerpieces for their dinner tables to establish that they were well off.
People who were not as affluent had to give it back. Pineapples also have great health benefits. Overall, pineapples are a positive vibe. At Tribe of Pine, I want my tribe to be special. I've been doing it for about a year and I launched it during the pandemic. As things started to ease off, I decided to have an in-person pop-up shop. That's what led me to Up 2 Something Studios. It couldn't have been a more perfect space. It's the right size and working with everybody was very easy. The communication was a fluid setup. I had access to or everything you could need as a creative. I plan on doing more events with Up 2 Something.
Lauryn: People don't know that you do a lot of things across the board. You're an educator, an art director, and an interior designer. What have been the challenges or exciting things that have come out of balancing all these different mediums or disciplines that you focus on?
Simone: It's challenging because sometimes society will tell you that you focus on one major. Simone, are you a teacher? Are you a creative director? Do you make music videos, or do you paint murals? Do you do interior design, or are you here with the kids? My answer is simply, why can't I do all of it? All these mediums are a part of me, and I do them all well. Why do I have to pick and choose? Why can't I just show up authentically and be a quote-on-quote influencer of real shit, that represents our community, educating the youth, beautifying spaces, bringing people together, and doing things with the culture. I don't think of them as scatterbrained. I think it is a beautiful combination of what people should be. That's how I try to manage it. It's not easy though.
Lauryn: What else can we expect from Tribe of Pine or just from you in general?
Simone: Well, I had planned to launch many more events coming in 2022. Please follow Tribe of Pine and check out the website: www.tribeofpine.com. I will go back to Jamaica sooner to restock on more items, update the website, as well as get more items printed. I'm hoping to do more pop-up shops by including more artisanal vendors. In essence, I want to include more local businesspeople. I hope to do more for the community, create more vibes, and evolve the tribe.