On what has become a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence, the three Brooks siblings were all in the same place at the same time—for a two-week period, at least. At 22 years old, Blaze Brooks, a graphic designer and illustrator, spends his days scribbling on Adobe Suite in a crammed Brooklyn apartment, sketching quirky scenes while riding the subway and building his portfolio. Blaze’s work can be seen in New York City and Las Vegas, and he even has his own clothing line. Above all, the eldest Brooks sibling is leading the way for his younger sisters, India and Suede, as they pursue their own creative direction.
On this spring day, the three were coming together for a photo shoot in a studio in Las Vegas. As Blaze walked through the door, he looked at his sisters and asked, “Have we been here before?”
In fact, they have. Nearly a decade ago, the three were dressed by their parents in, according to Blaze, a “weird brown color” for classic early-aughts Glamour Shots–esque family photos. Today’s shoot would act as a reunion of sorts—their first formal session together since the dreaded photos from their childhood.
Blaze’s robotic movements in front of the camera wouldn’t have caught Tyra Banks’ smizing eyes, but his sisters are another story.
India, 20, is a vintage-fashion guru whose big eyes, thick, dark hair and any-decade-but-her-own clothing play well with the sepia tone and filters on Instagram. India’s love for vintage fashion began as a high school sophomore looking to express herself through clothes by thrifting. As her passion and collection of vintage garb grew, she learned more about the environmental hazards of mass-produced clothing. She frequently hosts live auctions of her thrifted finds on phone apps such as Depop and Periscope, giving old clothes a new life and emphasizing the harmful effects of fast fashion.
The youngest Brooks, Suede, 17, just walked her first New York Fashion Week this year. She has been featured on E! News’ Daily Pop and a 2018 Oscars preview, and she models for a number of brands such as Marc Jacobs and magazines including Seventeen, all while influencing her 720,000-and-growing Instagram followers. Suede’s career started with her YouTube vlog, which now has more than 300,000 subscribers, when she was just 12 years old. She moved to Los Angeles on her own at 15 to sign with Next Management, one of the world’s top modeling agencies. Suede says her social media following has become like a family to her and she enjoys sharing her life on social platforms to hopefully inspire her followers in the process.
The Brooks’ exposure to pushing boundaries started at a young age. Their parents, Lisa and Steven, owners of the now-closed Diva Studio Salon, broadened their children’s world to the weird and wacky. Opening in 1993, Diva Studio’s customer’s were what India describes as “the counterculture”—they came from all over the world with piercings, tattoos and outrageous haircuts.
“We weren’t seeing people for the piercings they have on their face or the color of their skin or where they come from or their background,” India says. “You don’t read into all that because you just know them as a good person and their energy is amazing.”
Blaze says they learned an acceptance for people regardless of their appearance at a young age. Their parents also encouraged them to be open to art and trying new things. As kids, the Brooks siblings attended a local art camp every summer, Art Classes for Kids, run by Kim Bavington. Bavington, who received a BFA from UNLV and attended the Sorbonne in Paris, started these classes in 1990 to give children a progressive and avant-garde experience in the arts. “We were actually creating art that is different than your conventional Crayola on paper,” Blaze says. “That had a huge impact on me because I learned the fundamentals of what I like and don’t like about certain aspects of art. It all went into refining where I went into art personally.” At Bavington’s summer camp, they learned everything from pottery to realism and the history of the different styles of art.
This modern-day Partridge family would come together at home to paint, make vision boards and film skating videos and makeup tutorials for Suede’s YouTube channel. “Even now, my parents have so many ideas,” India says. “We will tell them something that we have on our minds and they will take it in and come back a few days later with so many cool ideas, and we’re like, ‘Whoa.’” Blaze describes his mom as the creative and his dad as the logic that can pull it all together.
The Brooks siblings are pulled straight from your hipster-inspired Pinterest board, right down to their names. Blaze is covered in black-ink tattoos of his own creations and draws all over his denim and shoes. India is constantly ready to vibe as if she were at Coachella and frequently uses the word “gnarly” to describe both the good and the bad. And Suede, who’s name drew inspiration from a shampoo bottle her parents found at their salon while pregnant with her, has a raspy drawl that makes her sound much older than she is.
The creative lifestyle the Brooks grew up in may have led them to their own artistic niche, but they will bounce ideas off each other. “I will throw my ideas at [Blaze] and he will make a creation out of it,” Suede says. “That is the coolest thing because our careers can combine.” Blaze has helped both his sisters create their websites, and Suede acts as the social-media coordinator for the three. India says she has a love-hate relationship with posting on her social media, so Suede often takes pictures of her and edits them so she will have content. “India has a fan base,” Suede says, “and you can’t leave them hanging!” Suede and Blaze are currently working on a fashion line, and the three collaborate on personal videos, art pieces and projects.
Being so close in age has its positives and negatives for the siblings. They still get annoyed with each other—Blaze has too much energy in the mornings, India is often too cuddly and Suede “savagely” steals their food without permission, but it doesn’t last long. In the end, Suede says, they all have each other’s backs in their aspiring careers and in life. “I love that we are so crazy-close,” India says. “We laugh so hard together and we won’t even know what we are laughing about, but it feels so good.”