WardBody; New York City's first Queer-Owned Active Lifestyle Brand
Photo: James Monroe

WardBody; New York City’s First Queer-Owned Active Lifestyle Brand

Inspired by the power of self-awareness, WardBody exists to cultivate an atmosphere of expansion and equanimity in the everyday athlete’s world.

We first interviewed Antoine in 2019, where he shared his story on growing up Queer in Baltimore, MD, overcoming several life-altering circumstances. From being forced to drop out of high school at sixteen to losing his mother to cancer at nineteen. 

Antoine has continued to use his pain and disappointment to push himself to excellence within the past year. In his book, An Organic Guide To Living Happier & Healthier, he’s inspired many to take accountability for their lives, reprogram their thoughts and reconstruct them into the best versions of themselves. 

Since we last saw Antoine, he hasn’t stopped pushing the boundaries of self-construction. He has moved on to his most extraordinary task yet, merging his personal experience and creative perspective into the market. 

For our Self-Love Issue, we caught up with Antoine to offer an exclusive look into New York Citys’ first queer-owned active lifestyle brand, ‘this is wardbody. 

Time in isolation has prompted many to reflect on their dreams and desires, essentially sparking a rise to creative action and one’s need to make a sustainable income for themselves, thus the emergence of many brands being born. 

However, ‘this is wardbody’ is not just another brand in the pool of brands. ‘this is wardbody’ curates a lifestyle that is far beyond fashion; it is about buying into a lifestyle of shared values rather than one-dimensional products. 

WardBody; New York City's first Queer-Owned Active Lifestyle Brand
Photo: James Monroe

“With all the new emerging lifestyle brands out there, none of which has resonated with me. One that reflects the lens of Queer Black males in a way that showcases our abilities to be positive or creative, comfortable, and soft within nature–pushing the power of the mind to reflect that of the outer selves; with the help of my team, this is what has driven me to create this is wardbody.” Ward says. 

‘this is wardbody’ is for the individuals to recognize themselves as an “Everyday Athlete” to feel empowered and embody everything they are while manifesting and creating an atmosphere of security. Being an Everyday Athlete is about welcoming all parts of oneself to the table and choosing to become greater. 

It is clear, ‘this is wardbody’ is not something to do for just a moment in time but a way of life for those ready to listen and answer the call to themselves. 

‘this is wardbody’s’ ethos revolves more on self and social awareness, items created with the everyday athlete in mind; they aim to encourage individuals to connect with ‘self’ while going after what they want. 

Antoine notes, “I have also been dreaming of and advocating for much more inclusivity and accessibility for black queer people who want to live a healthier conscious lifestyle; we want to reflect that not only in our products and campaigns we deliver but in the creative people we work and collaborate with,” ‘this is wardbody’ is a brand that is solely influenced by the eye and aesthetics of black creatives, making it unique on its own. 

Before Antoine set out to introduce a line of products, he began to build community in other ways. In 2016 he hosted his first blog WardBodyNYC.com where he shared content with those who wanted to live ‘happier and healthier.’ 

WardBody; New York City's first Queer-Owned Active Lifestyle Brand
Photo: James Monroe

Over the summer, he launched ‘this is wardbody’s’ Book Club, along with a newsletter. “It was vital for me to create spaces for people to grow themselves; I wanted to take that idea further and blossom into something valuable,” says Ward. 

Attempting to make strides towards enabling the wb community to become the best version of themselves requires understanding – that such a task requires constant self-reflection. 

“Everyone’s journey is different, and it takes time. Some are ready and willing to dive headfirst into seeing their true selves, while some aren’t.” say’s Antoine. “we want our members to know that we understand. We also want them to know, knowing that you aren’t as aware of who you are or what you are living for is a sense of awareness within itself.” 

“Know what you don’t know,” a quote that Antoine states his father passed down to him before moving out of Baltimore, MD.; ‘this is wardbody’ is a space of community, commitment, and authenticity. 

As the founder of WardBody by day and Interior Designer by night, Antoine was inspired to create a brand that would be received as a gift. 

As a part of the brands’ soft launch, this is wardbody has produced (3) 13oz signature candles—Maison, Essentialism, and Saturday Morning—retailing for $55.00 each, and a Discovery Kit including all (3) 4oz candles retailing for $37.00. 

“We made the decision back in December 2019 to produce our candles.” say’s Ward, “Having a love for Interior Design, tied in with our brand’s philosophy, our candles just made sense to produce. We wanted our community to welcome us into their space while highlighting the importance of space. So, we thought to ourselves, well, what does that look like?” explains Ward. 

WardBody; New York City's first Queer-Owned Active Lifestyle Brand
Photo: James Monroe

What we put in our space not only determines how that space will be used but also how we feel. 

Understanding that letting go of parts of our past is a journey in itself. It is ever more critical than in the steps that follow of adding things to our life that each of those things is adding value. 

This is a concept that could be plucked directly from the pages of Antoine’s’ self-published-book, “An Organic Guide To Living Happier & Healthier: Chapter Six, section three, Jukai-The Impact of Creating Space. 

Early within the new year 2021, wardbody plans to release additional items to soften the Everyday Athlete’s lifestyle. Antoine and his team have been diligently working on various products to add to their collection. “Everything we do, needs to be created with our community in mind; what will bring us peace and tranquility?” 

‘this is wardbody’ style is effortlessly minimalistic; their interest oscillates within the realms of architecture, contemporary art, and the human form. 

This aesthetic is crafted by a team of black queer creative minds. Ward describes their clean and cozy style as understated rather than overly detailed; it’s functional and timeless rather than seasonal. 

Natural earth tones, textured fabrics, handmade materials in conjunction with rich cultural elements, and textiles are commonly found in wb’s imagery. 

‘this is wardbodys’ design aesthetic emphasizes the atmosphere that binds and makes us feel at home within ourselves, reminding us that inner peace is not a forgotten art. 

WardBody; New York City's first Queer-Owned Active Lifestyle Brand
Photo: James Monroe

Be sure to visit thisiswardbody.com and sign up for their monthly newsletter. You don’t want to miss what’s coming. 

Photography James Monroe 

Stay Social with Antoine Ward, Jr + this is wardbody

Website thisiswardbody.com
Instagram Antoine Ward, Jr. @antoinewardjr
Instagram @thisiswardbody

Watch Exclusive Interview: Antoine Ward Jr. + Bryant DeBerry


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