Interview with menswear label Ikiré Jones: “New and different interpretations of old stories”

All pictures by David McDowell

APiF: Please introduce your business and your designs in 1-2 sentences
Wale Oyejide: Ikiré Jones is a menswear brand inspired by both Nigerian and Italian aesthetics. We pride ourselves on our unique accessories and elegant tailoring.

APiF: As you are Wale Oyejide – who is Ikiré Jones?
Wale: “Ikiré” is a village in Nigeria where my father was raised. “Jones” is my wife’s maiden name. Implicit in the identity of the brand is the idea that Western and African cultures need to come together to make something better.

APiF: How does your heritage inspire/influence your designs?
Wale: I use my West African heritage as a spring board to provide a new perspective on traditional English/Italian menswear. There is nothing new under the sun, but there are always new and different interpretations of old stories.  It’s my hope that my work adds to the conversation instead of just regurgitating what has already been said.

APiF: If your label would be a person, what kind of person would it be?
Wale: I don’t attribute a particular demographic, age or race to the brand and its supporters. I find that people who enjoy our work tend to be adventurous, well-traveled and in search of something which is bold but not a caricature.

APiF: What is your professional background?
Wale: Prior to entering the world of design, I was an afrobeat musician and attorney.

APiF: What is your vision for your label?
Wale: There has been a void in this industry for decades, and many people find their points of view under-represented. We plan on continuing to make products that meld different cultures in a tasteful and original manner. Where the merry-go-round stops, nobody knows.

APiF: Any tips for new designers/start-ups in the fashion industry?
Wale: Make what you love, not what everyone else seems to.

All pictures by David McDowell

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