Photography by Marcus Branch

Photography by Marcus Branch

Cloak us in mystery; layer us in brilliance. Together, as colored souls, as bodies and minds and passions, we converge to create new universes. It happens often but not often enough – star showers are too irresistible. Drenched, we stand in awe of the latest cosmic alignment:

Marcus Branch and Sergio Wonder.

The fashion designer and the photographer. The muse and the wardrobe. Spirits and stardust floated around and within Michele Kishita’s Philly-based studio, pausing to reflect on her colorful paintings, then caressing the brown bodies making magic with each flicker of flash.

“My brain is always working,” says Marcus, “I wanted to show the function and intelligence of Sergio’s designs with my lifestyle – living in it as opposed to standing in it.”

Live, sir. We need you to. And so does Sergio, whose own brilliance and trust in Marcus further encouraged creative freedom to flow. “I knew that whatever Marcus came up with, I’d love” he shared, “I’ve always been inspired by Marcus’ style and approach to fashion.”

Moved, we asked them both: What moves you?

For Marcus, it’s the creative urge: “I have to do it. It feels odd when I’m not creating. If I don’t do it, there’s something wrong.”

And Sergio? He’s compelled by the unseen: “If I see a puzzle piece that's missing, I try to fill the void. And as we all know, fashion is one big puzzle.”

Selah. Ase. Yasss. The collaboration between these two was no accident: Shared lenses shape constellations. Common experiences cultivate an unspoken language. Loving the creative fruit they yielded, we were curious about some of the seeds:

How do your experiences as gay men of color shape your creative processes?

In Sergio’s spectrum, advancements are key. As a culture, he says, our aim is “to progress and show the rest of the world that whatever stigmas they have of us, it’s always false.”

For Marcus, identity outside of boundaries is important, as is the responsibility to uplift our collective voices: “I’ve always just been an artist – not defined by anything else.” But, he notes, “I’ve always wanted to make sure that my art does speak.” Indeed, boundaries don’t bind him. Instead, Marcus shares, it’s about “exceeding boundaries and informing them of what more we have to offer.”

Who knew what the Universe was thinking when she knit these two together? We revel in her mysterious magic. See glimmers of her yarn in Sergio's contemporary menswear line, a blend of classic Americana and smart streetwear. And see it in Marcus' photos and movements, a fluidity of dance and skill that, of course, knows no bounds.

Then, look up and look in: The cosmos is waiting for you, too. What will you create with it?

David Leon Morgan is a Bronx-based creative storyteller and social media specialist.