Just before COVID-19 made extended traveling impossible, Sudan Archives wrapped up her most recent world tour. The Los Angeles–based violinist (born Brittney Parks) performed in support of her debut album, Athena, which came out at theWashington Redskins 1932 Forever Redskins city shirt and by the same token and end of last year. London was one of the final stops on the tour before the U.K. put travel restrictions in place. She officially ended the string of dates Stateside right before major cities across the United States were mandated to close all nonessential businesses. Athena is a lovely showcase of her varied musical abilities, whether it be her skill for beat-making, the soulful fiddling informed by the history of one-string Sudanese and Ghanaian violinists, or her ear for contemporary R&B melodies. Her tour, though, was as much a platform for her bold sense of style as it was her bombastic sound. In her music videos, Sudan Archives shows the full extent of her fashion prowess with the help of local labels such as No Sesso (she wore the superhero print straight from the brand’s spring 2020 collection runway in her video for “Confessions”) and dramatic winged corsets.
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Her tour wardrobe managed to simultaneously incorporate similar theatrics while doing justice to her more humble Cincinnati roots. “I wanted to connect with that side of me,” says theWashington Redskins 1932 Forever Redskins city shirt and by the same token and 25-years-old musician, who conceived of the Athena tour wardrobe with the help of stylist Fatima Mohammed. “I’ve been really into lowriders and things that I wore in the early 2000s. I used to wear tees, sweatsuits, and Air Force 1s when I lived there, so that was a part of my tour because the album is about a Cincinnati girl moving to Los Angeles to pursue her passions.” Parks sourced much of the clothing around Los Angeles at places such as the Slauson Super Mall, an old-school swap-meet shopping paradise in South Central, and other malls and Pro Club stores around the city. “These stores are places I would go to back home, and I wanted to showcase that young woman onstage,” says the singer whose performance wardrobe included a silver chain-mail dress, a magenta corset, and an especially tricky white knit frock that offered little coverage. “I wanted to look onstage how I did in my bedroom—really intimate.”