Eau De Yosh’s Yosh Han is bringing independent fragrance and olfaction to the digital sphere. In partnership with Aroma Village, Han has orchestrated the six-week Digital Scent Festival, incorporating biweekly panels on scent and food, art, design and music.
The festival, which is taking place through May 31 on Zoom and Instagram Live, is free for attendees. Donations of either $5 or $30 are optional. Making the festival for consumers and perfumers was key for Han, who recognized mass unemployment as a result of the coronavirus.
According to Han, being able to incorporate the experience of scent would have been a plus, but isn’t necessary for the theory-based discussions. The festival is bringing together an assortment of independent perfumers for discussions on the future of the category. Han also said that many independent perfumers in her network have expertise in various areas (Han herself is a sommelier), diversifying the touch points of the discussions.
“These stories are not often told because they’re not financially successful, but you get to intellectualize scent and music, scent and food,” Han said. “There are so many intersections, and when you have time to listen to these stories and take commerce out of the conversation momentarily, you can feel the energy.”
The focus of the festival isn’t just on the applications of fragrance. One of the Zoom panels, for example, is called “Indie to Industry,” offering perfumers insights on how to properly scale their businesses. Han also wants to shed light on how indie perfumers inform industry-wide trends, often without credit.
“It’s important to give the mic to a different stage,” Han said. “All the young kids love indie brands because they’re relatable. But for these artists, sometimes they don’t have the business-savvy or the connections. If the big retailers want to capture Millennials and Generation Z, you need to give the mic over to the indie artists the kids resonate with. Nobody wants to smell like a celebrity.”
Aside from rethinking business scale, Han wants the festival to provide an opportunity to rethink category-wide practices, most notably with retail. “Nobody wants to be attacked at the retail counter and be too bombarded by too many smells. That’s not an ideal way to understand an artistic narrative. When you go to an art gallery, you don’t have people pushing paintings in your face,” she said. “The corporate team isn’t asking the perfumers what we think, but we have ideas about how retail should be experienced for the consumer. Brands want something unique and different, and this festival lets our work have a platform.”
For more from WWD.com, see: