Sigil is a genderless and natural fragrance brand by Patrick Kelly


Despite the evolving conversations about gender fluidity, perfume is the only space that continues to be defined by strict binaries of feminine and masculine. Floral and delicate scents are traditionally referred to as feminine, while stronger, more musky scents are masculine.

Patrick kelly, founder of an innovative perfume label, Seal, does not subscribe to such archaic restrictions. Driven by the power of his own scent memories, the Los Angeles-based perfumer has created four gender neutral, 100% natural, and “for every identity and body” fragrances.

With this business, Kelly aims to establish a gay-owned brand that a wide range of identities can connect to. Both behind and in front of the camera, Sigil is intentional about his collaboration and the inclusion of other LGBTQ artists, especially Karis Wilde and Howin Wong.

“I think it’s so silly to create a gendered scent. I wanted to disrupt that tradition and just put on faces that are beautiful, that don’t need to be pushed by that binary,” Kelly said. PAPER. “I like to use the words animus and anima energy as an archetype of us having a balance of animus or male and anima or female energy within each of us. So each of the scents has different concentrations of these two energies, and can certainly be worn by any person, gender identity or expression at all times. “

From orange blossoms to the scent of sage on a sunny California day, each scent evokes a different memory. Paying homage to the hermetic and alchemical traditions, the four scents are called Solution, Amor Fati, Raw material, and Anima Mundi. Each has its own story and custom dyes handcrafted by Kelly.

Talk to PAPER, the self-taught perfumer explained the inspiration behind each fragrance, why he chose to make them genderless and the queer representation in beauty.

What does the name Sigil mean?

The word Sigil comes from Sigillum and it represents a symbol. When the author of a symbol creates the symbol, he imbues it with the intention of a manifestation of his will. There is an occult Esteem which says that the Seals are the art of believing and the art of creation. Perfume, for me, is a bit like that.

When you wear a perfume, you create this idea of ​​personality, personality and intention. I think spraying the mixture on your body is like creating a seal – creating a magical symbol or a manifestation of your intention and direction in life. So this is the background of the brand name. All the names of the formulas and the stories they tell are really rooted in old hermetic and alchemical traditions.

What is the story behind each of the fragrances?

Solutio, in alchemy, is the separation of a base material into its smaller parts so that you can get a microscopic idea of ​​what a material is made of. When I created this, I thought of perfume as a process like that, considering every disparate element. I also wanted to bring up this idea of ​​hot and cold, almost like coal hitting water – that quality of vapor and mist.

Amor Fati is all about this idea of ​​eternal recurrence, the serpent eats its own history and we are born and reborn. There is beauty in the struggle of life and that is what makes human beings so magical. So we wanted to create something that was a nod to tradition as well as the sacred wood and incense ceremonies, so it’s very smoky.

Prima Materia is my favorite, I would rate it as mossy and earthy. It has a freshness and orange blossom trilogy, an essential oil, an orange blossom tincture that I harvest by hand. I wanted to create something that was as heavenly and shiny and bubbly as it was very rooted and earthy, so it has notes like oakmoss to give it that depth of character and a long fixer quality. But it still retains a very effervescent freshness of orange blossoms as well as the tincture of white sage that I make.

With Anima Mundi, I wanted to make a floral that combines both animus and anima energies in one composition. It is a gestalt mind or consciousness that connects all living things, a soul of the world. In the concept, it’s a feminine energy, so I wanted to make flowers like rose, jasmine and tuberose balanced with smokier and spicier notes like tobacco and hinoki wood so that you get something that is not a traditional floral. It’s really a lot more complex and not too soft or too heady.

The packaging is also very interesting. Was there a message you were trying to communicate?

I would say I was very intentional about the colors of each of the scents. I really wanted a smokier blue color to evoke this quality of vapor evaporation. With the brand, I really wanted to immerse myself in these alchemical traditions, but I still have a modern and elevated touch with a lot of negative space; so it feels premium and not too traditional. I think the ‘S’ mark means that even in nature there is wild beauty, but if you look closely there is some kind of pattern and you can look for it, smell it, smell it and feel it. experimenting in multiple sensory ways. So yes, I was definitely intentional with the design and when you open the packaging the story of each scent is inside.

Why did you decide to make the perfumes genderless?

I identify as a man, but in my consciousness and in the realm of the people I love and respect, there is a much more diverse pool of gender identity expressions. It was something I wanted to be authentic about. I wanted the faces of the brand and team members such as photographers, makeup artists and hairdressers to be facing forward and I just wanted to give platform, space, images and voice to the people. members of my community. I also think it’s so silly to make a gendered perfume.

I wanted to disrupt this tradition and just put on faces that are beautiful, that don’t need to be pushed by this binary. With scents, I liked to balance male and female energies, and I realize that by playing with the lenses of the anima and the animus, I kind of emphasize the gender binary. So, I don’t know if I’m successful every time, but I try to go ahead and do my best.

What do you think of the queer representation in beauty today?

Botanical Noto is a brand that is really killing it in terms of product format, formulation, packaging and the front faces that represent the brand. I think it’s an exciting time, there is a lot more expression across the LGBTQ + spectrum in beauty in terms of how people use the products and how they see the marketing positioning itself. There is more to connect with and faces and identities to look at. Overall, I am happy with the variety and the evolving opportunities for a larger base of consumers and humans.

Do you think there is a large following for perfumes like yours?

I think over the last couple of years we’ve seen a shift towards a market for natural products as a premium experience. More and more brands are emerging with very beautiful packaging, emotional and experiential, and stories to tell that stand out. I think there are a lot of good perfumes that maybe aren’t as recognized on the mass side with the story of the creator. Intention and formulation, the hands touching the product create a slow, romantic process – our tinctures take two months to create before they even get into formulas, then age and macerate. This process and feeling of real involvement from the founder helps the customer connect with the product. It creates a richer storytelling element.

To learn more about Sigil or buy their perfumes, click on here.

Photo courtesy of Sigil

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