AN NYC-BASED “ARTIVIST” PUTS HIS HEART, SOUL, AND SIGNATURE TOUCH INTO EVERY LAST SEAM OF HIS LUXURY LEATHER COLLECTION
BY RHIANNA JONES
In the words of legendary writer James Baldwin, “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war, love is a growing up.” It is from this senti-ment that Guy Anthony’s brand story and signature Baldwin Bags begin. Similar to the legend, Anthony’s love of art is intertwined with his passion for social activism, and his Black Queer identity is inextricable from his craft. This self-proclaimed “ARTivist” recently won the HBCU Truth Award and was knighted a GLAAD Changemaker for the Black, Gifted & Whole Foundation he founded in 2016 to “empower, educate, mobilize, and change the collective narrative of Black Queer men.” Committed to fostering inclusivity, Anthony founded Grover NYC to combat the oversaturated market of overpriced handbags, creating a line of chic, conversation-starting, unisex accessories that offers luxury for all.
A mission to democratize luxury is ripe for an era where shoppers are leveraging their wallets as activism and actively seeking brands that stand with their values (beyond posting Black squares). Grover New York is unapologetically Black and wants the line to amplify the importance of supporting Black-owned businesses. Black brands aren’t often seen as “luxury,” so he wants to shift that narrative and champion that “Black is a luxury all by itself.” From music and fashion to art and dance, Black culture abounds in innovative artistry, but at its core is also centered in community and care. For Anthony, Grover New York is a love letter to the culture, but also an opportunity to see and celebrate the individuals often left on the fringe. “I hope someone will read my story and decide to start their own line because the more we flood the market with our own items, the more we can reinvest in our community.”