FRANCHESCA FRIAS

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PTM: What's the name of your brand?

FF: Foreign The Brand is its name currently, but that’s probably going to change in the near future. Considering I no longer feel it is so much just a brand, as much it is an identity or a lifestyle, maybe even a movement, all cheesiness aside.

PTM: What would you call this brand? Is it a project, a form of art?

FF: Let’s call it a project for now, FTB [Foreign The Brand] is really a way of life, it’s empowerment, it’s the freedom to be who you are, as you are, where you are, and that feeling of belonging even when all else says that you don’t. I started designing t-shirts because it was the easiest way for me to bring that vision to life, for me to materialize what I wanted people to feel when and as they put it on. There’s kind of a slogan or catch phrase that we use and it really sums it all up and it’s this idea that “we’re in the world, but not of it”, or in simpler terms, we’re here but not from here.

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"Foreign The Brand is really a way of life, it’s empowerment, it’s the freedom to be who you are"

PTM: What would you say your focus is right now?

FF: My focus right now is in shifting FTB to be more than just t-shirts, I want to create a digital platform where people can tell their stories through creative expression, so I am looking to get some footage put together— short clips, audio, photographs, of people just owning their individuality. I want to capture people getting real and vulnerable about the things that aren’t so usual about them and hopefully through that, liberate others to follow suit. I have a heart for the youth and that’s really the audience I am trying to reach. We live in a world where if you don’t look like this, act like that, or talk like that, you’re overlooked, so we have so many people just trying to fit this mold that isn’t even their own. So many people walking around with not a single clue on who they really are and the things that make them feel most alive.

PTM: What is it like to maintain that focus?

FF: To maintain your focus on something requires you to remove your focus from other things and it looks a whole lot like discipline and sacrifice. Those are two words we naturally tend to hate. They scream of boredom, pain, and having to refrain from doing what you want to do. But the reality is that you will never be able to do anything great without the two. The sooner you embrace that, the sooner you can start working towards bringing your vision to life effectively. 

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PTM: What's something that you love doing?

FF: I love creating! There are so many ways to creatively express yourself, so I never limit myself to just one outlet. We are creative beings and I believe that we are truly in our element when we’re doing just that. My creative expressions take on many forms, sometimes it looks like writing short-stories, sometimes I’m designing a t-shirt in my head that really brings the concept of foreign to life, sometimes I’m singing, other times I’m shooting; I love that I don’t need permission to create because it’s in my nature to do so, knowing that alone is so liberating.

PTM: Whether you’re just starting out or continuing this passion, what’s that like?

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FF: For me it’s making it a priority to set time apart to create. As creatives we tend to want to just linger around waiting for inspiration to hit us, we like feeling like we have no structure and are masters of procrastination. But when you start getting serious about your creativity, you realize that you need structure, you need to make yourself available for inspiration, and inspiration becomes more and more available to you when you’re open to receive it. Being open to it often times looks a lot like actually making the time, to sit down and say “I’m going to sit here and create and I’m not going to get up until I do so.”

PTM: Are there any challenges you’d like to share?

FF: One of the biggest challenges, I’d say, is staying encouraged. As it is with anything you set yourself out to do in life, staying encouraged is a crucial part of doing anything significant, especially when you’re starting something from nothing. You have to find ways to remain encouraged, especially when you’re going through those moments where you feel stuck, where your creativity is at a halt, when you’re going through disappointments, and frustrations. When you’ve figured out how to stay encouraged, you stay in the fight even when nobody is complimenting you, even when nobody is buying your stuff, even when you don’t feel like it, you still find the courage within you and believe in your vision just enough to give it one more shot.

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PTM: What does the Part Time motto/lifestyle for a creative mean to you?

FF: Part-time to be honest for me, more applies to what we tend to do to “get by” or to “pay the bills”, that’s really what I consider part-time. Because my full-time occupation or at least my goal is that most of my time is invested in pursuing my passions and bringing to life the gifts and dreams that are within me. So “part time” challenges me with the realization that yeah, I might have a 9-5 where I’m investing about 40 hours of my life weekly, but what am I doing with the rest of my time? 

PTM: We know of Foreign now but are there any other plans or major projects to expect?

FF: I’m currently thinking about ways on how to transition FTB to become more than just merchandise, I want to use my story-telling/writing skills to bring out those stories out of people. I want people to catch the vision of Foreign and for it to really become something that people can take and just own it. Nothing is more dangerous and liberating than a human-being being unapologetically themselves.
Everything that FTB promotes is individuality and being unapologetic about it. It is power. It is self-awareness. It is knowing who you are and knowing that you have something to offer. It is knowing that no mater where you are, you don’t ever have to feel that you need to fit the mold because at the end of it all, this world was here long before we were and will still be here long after we are. So in a way, we are truly all foreign, nobody belongs anywhere more than another person does. My goal is for people to catch that vision with everything we do with FTB, whether it looks like merch, or stories, or photos, it’s to show people that in the end we are really not at all that different. 

PTM: Are there things that you'd like to mention for people to look for.

FF: I’m looking to put together some merch for the winter season probably hoodies and a long sleeve or two, so for sure be on the look out for that. Hopefully looking to get that content together in the near future as well. But follow my instagram page @foreignthebrand and personal @franchescasocold for future updates.

PTM: Ending comments?

FF: Nothing is more satisfying than seeing what once was just a thought materialized in front of you. I’ll never forget when I received that first t-shirt sample that I put together. When I felt its fabric, when I saw my brother put it on, I got this overwhelming feeling like wow! I did this, this has actually come to life, it is a living and breathing thing, and it now has a place here on earth. It really does become like your own little child in a way, but the greatest thing that I have learned is that once your creativity is brought to life it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to everyone else as well, every person that buys it, every person it touches, every person that identifies themselves with it, it belongs to every single one of them too. So in a way you have to release your grip on it and let it become what it wants to become.

PTM: Any words of encouragement for those in similar situations?

FF: Don’t ever be afraid to just try. Try things, fail at them, have-a-go at it, give it all that you have, allow it to consume your time, your thoughts, your strength, even your finances a lot of the times, but whatever you do don’t just let an idea be just an idea. Because the only way you’ll ever know whether the idea is a good or a bad one is by going for it and finding that out for yourself. There’s no worse feeling than being haunted with the regret of never truly knowing. If you fail, at least you tried, and that alone is brave. And it is in the trying and failing, that good ideas are birthed. 

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