Féroce Loves: Those Damn Rebel Bitches

Féroce Loves: Those Damn Rebel Bitches

Words by Daina Renton
Images: Stew Bryden
Real Talk: REEK Perfume

I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to pick the brains of the founders of REEK and it was awesome. Let's face it, it's clear that the fashion industry finds it near impossible to sell fragrances without selling bodies. To advertise something that we will never actually be able to perceive unless it's right in front of us - and worn for some time - is difficult. The complicated thing about branding and marketing a scent, is that at the very core of your scent should be your signature. 

"Our perfumes are an everyday rebellion, a reminder of female achievement, much of which has been forgotten. It’s time to take a stand." - REEK

And they weren't joking. Before we continue, we want to say that we are not paid to say any of this shit I'm about to say. This interview was actually conducted back in November, 2017. And unless you've been living under a rock you'll have noticed that bitches and witches are pretty damn trendy at the moment, and we wanted to be in it for the long haul. We wanted to know that REEK were, too. Unsurprisingly, these bitches are for real.  

reekdamnrebelbitches



On their website you can find interviews with feminist designers like Akvile Su, Journalists like Douglas Greenwood, performers and style inspirations like Alice Rabbit and much, much more. Even media as trivial as Instagram stories is utilised to spread positive and meaningful messages. Activism lies at the heart of REEK's fragrances, down to even the smallest details. The bottles are cruelty free, the formula is cruelty free and unlike other campaigns, the message they project onto young women is cruelty free. 

reekperfume

What exactly do bitches smell like? Apparently, "hints of blood orange, hazelnut, pink peppercorn, clary sage and malt make this undeniably sexy fragrance a must-have for any fierce feminist looking to make that everyday rebellion." But honestly? When we first smelt Damn Rebel Bitches were did think it was pretty 'reekin'. Smelling Damn Rebel Bitches is like being exposed to a fragrance you didn't know you needed, but one you totally fucking deserved. You can tell a lot about a person based on how they respond to the scent of it. We've found that it tends to intimidate people. The first time I saw someone's face screw up when they smelt it, was the first time I truly understood the concept of a small rebellion.

 

D: You’re all about memorialising strong women, so tell us - which women were you memorialising with DAMN REBEL BITCHES?

Bitches: What a fucking brilliant question! The DAMN REBEL BITCHES were women who lived in Scotland during the early 18th century and across Europe during the Jacobite uprisings. They were famed for being formidable females, one of our favourites is Lady Nithsdale who snuck her husband out of the tower of London in drag 1716. Like many women today they were slandered in the media and often called bitches, later it is said that during the 1740s the Duke of Cumberland said ‘we must do something about those damned rebel bitches’. At REEK Perfume we want to memorialise forgotten women and these ladies were our first girl gang! 

Reek_Bitches_72ppi 92.jpg

D: The thing we’re hung up on when it comes to your visuals isn’t just that you don’t use retouching, but we’re really obsessed with the fact your models aren’t writhing around in beds or doing confusing activities to advertise your product. Is there a struggle between advertising a scent in a provocative and interesting way without sexualising feminine bodies or do you think this is something people are too lazy to tap into?

Bitches: We’ve been called a marmite brand because of exactly this and some of our biggest critics are feminist women! This is why we created our blog, BITCHES UNITE, as a platform for feminists with all beliefs to talk about these issues on one platform. We’ve had comments such as ‘why don’t you use normal models’ to ‘this is something I would want to see in an art gallery, not on my dressing room table’.  We are so proud of our campaigns and that they have no retouching. We do open casting with women from 18-82 and it’s such an honour that they want to show off their bodies to celebrate with us. We ask our models to pick their own images so they are completely in control of the imagery and how they are represented. All brands have the privilege of shooting their advertising as they please and we want to use this opportunity to showcase the beauty of bodies. Because that is where you put your perfume after all! 

D: Can you tell us about the process behind developing a scent like this? What’s your favourite part of the process?

Bitches: For DAMN REBEL BITCHES and WITCHES we worked with amazing indie perfumer/nose Sarah McCartney. We helped pick the scents but she is the master of putting them together. She takes what we say in lamen terms and making our smelly dreams come true. It’s a really interesting industry with a lot of fabulous females who rarely get credited, so it’s really important for us we are transparent about the whole team and process. Personally my favourite part is when you are close to getting the smell right and you have to come outside, clear your nose, sit on a swing, sometimes even eat jelly beans and then you come back to the lab and you get to smell it with a fresh head! It’s a really magical moment after working on it all day. 

D: Even the name of your brand, REEK is a reclamation. Can you tell us more about why you chose such an unapologetic name?

Bitches: REEK is interesting as the dictionary definition of the word isn’t negative, yet we all think of it as a bad smell. This is the same as bitches and witches. They are words with many meanings that we often assume are negative, or even worse are mainly used in a derogatory manner. We wanted to challenge that idea. 

D: What do you think the true power of someone’s scent is? 

Bitches: Scents have such mad control over our brains. We can be transported back to a time in our lives or a reminded of a person within less than a second of catching a whiff of a smell. This is really powerful and one of the main reasons we wanted to use perfume to memorialise forgotten women. 

Copy of REEK-6.jpg

D: The stickers. Can we please talk about the fucking stickers.

Bitches: Yes we fucking can! So the idea came about when we were blocked on Facebook and Instagram from promoting our posts and using the advertising tools. This is because of the word bitches and the fact most of our imagery is of women and implied nudity. We decided to use our marketing budget to create our sticky bitches instead of using these tools. Every 3 months we ask our bitches and the coven to pick the next cause. We don’t want to make any cause a commercial venture so we send these out for free around the world. STICKY BITCHES FOR ALL! 

If you fancy taking part in the rebellion, you can get testers, sets and more - and don't forget about the fucking stickers. They're free by the way.

Visit https://reekperfume.com for all their insightful interviews and discussions.
Stalk them on Instagram for a constant flow of empowering content: http://www.instagram.com/reekperfume

But above all, don't ever forget about those Damn, Rebel BITCHES.
 

Féroce Loves: DAMN REBEL WITCHES!

Féroce Loves: DAMN REBEL WITCHES!

THE PASTEL ISSUE

THE PASTEL ISSUE