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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

An anomaly: Jye Citizen owns his individuality, launches lifestyle and clothing brand

More than just t-shirts, Anomaly SCF is a creative space that empowers community

“I found myself always being an anomaly, I guess you could say just being the only African American or one of the few… that’s kind of where the idea of Anomaly came from, being my own individual, creating my own lane.” 

Anomaly SCF is not just a clothing brand, but a lifestyle for third-year managerial economics major and Jye Citizen. Last year, Citizen met with his mentor, Markell Johnson — founder of the fashion brand Rare — and together, they laid out ideas of what Citizen wanted his brand to be: a creative space. 

“Anomaly is a brand that I hope will spark creativity and individuality through whoever comes in contact with it,” Citizen said. 

Anomaly began as a space for Citizen’s writing, inspiring the creation of a blog, podcast and clothing line. The brand’s full name, Anomaly SCF, stands for Anomaly Stone Cold Fool, after a phrase Citizen’s grandmother used during his childhood. 

Citizen hosts the podcast “Forever Loading” with his UC Davis men’s soccer teammate Kameron Carey. The podcast is focused on hip-hop and pop culture. The blog covers sports, music, fashion and poetry, as well as how to balance being a student, business owner, athlete and creator. 

“I just try to let my creative juices flow,” Citizen said. “This is where I get to release my ideas.” 

Carey, a third-year design major, brings Citizen’s ideas to life using the Anomaly platform to test out different designs. Both are influenced by their own senses of fashion — Citizen’s personal style being a mix between a “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” Will Smith and Chance, the Rapper.

The two recently launched their Black History Month long sleeve t-shirt. 

“I remember exactly when the idea came to me,” Citizen said. “I was watching an episode of ‘That’s So Raven.’ It was a Black History Month episode. They were trying to teach us about important [historical] figures that may have gone under the rug a little bit.”

Citizen had also recently watched — and was inspired by — “Hair Love,” the animated short film that won an Academy Award this month. After collaborating with Carey, the pair settled on the idea to combine the power of words with the power and symbolism of Black hair. 

“I wanted to put the important people in history in the hair,” Citizen said. “And the tagline is “know your roots,” which is the roots of being important to Black history, as well as the power of Black hair.”

The tee features Black and African American icons Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, Madam CJ Walker, Robert Abbott, Langston Hughes, Katherine Johnson, President Barack Obama, Colin Kaepernick, Jesse Owens, Maya Angelou and Malcom X. 

Within the afro on the tee, there are what looks like quilting squares and stitching — meant to represent the movement toward freedom and equality.   

“It reminded me of a quilt and how each historical Black leader has built on the other, coming together as one, building onto [progress], like a quilt,” Carey said.  

To promote the new design, Citizen held a photoshoot with different UC Davis students, all of whom are Black and African American, wearing the shirt in its four available colors: maroon, green, yellow and white. 

“There’s kind of like a feeling of fulfillment in my idea coming to fruition,” Citizen said. “And I have a lot of friends saying Black is beautiful. So it was a feeling of fulfillment [and] joy, knowing that I’m gonna be able to put [my message] out and teach people that they are beautiful and that they should be happy in their own skin.”

Both Citizen and Carey commented on the misconception that products from a Black-owned business aren’t for everyone. Anomaly’s mission and message are for anyone who identifies with being an anomaly. Carey noted that his involvement in the organization taught him the power of inclusivity around a common theme. 

“If you’re confident enough to purchase a Black History Month shirt, that’s more power to you,” Citizen added. “We appreciate any and all support we can get. My brand is for everybody.”

Citizen’s focus is on building his business to a point his ancestors would have considered successful, which is why he has focused his business’ purpose beyond turning a profit — giving back to his community. Ten percent of Anomaly’s proceeds go toward underfunded schools. Beyond this, Anomaly hopes to inspire youth, promoting the message that their differences make them unique and should be celebrated.

“Being the anomaly reminds us that it is more than okay to be ourselves,” said Kaleb Schirmacher, a third-year neurology physiology and behavior major who has purchased clothing from Anomaly.

Citizen is currently in the process of designing his spring and summer collection, which will be available on www.anomalyscf.com/shop. More content can be found on Instagram (@anomalyscf_). 

Written by: Liz Jacobson — arts@theaggie.org


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