November 28, 2010

williamOkpo

This is a clothing line that I recently learned about and immediately fell in love with. The second I read up about them and checked out their website, I just knew I had to share with all of my GOOD GOOD peoples! williamOkpo is a line built by 2 Nigerian sisters from New York named Lizzy & Darlene Okpo. The name williamOkpo came from their father, William Okpo, who they say was their “stylist” while growing up. 



(Darlene is on the left & Lizzy is on the right)

I am so blown away by the pieces in their debut collection; the silhouettes of the garments are absolutely beautiful!




Their attention to detail is amazing, when I get my money up I will definitely be buying that first coat! To check out their website and the rest of their collection click hereYou can find williamOkpo at Opening Ceremony.

And feel free to check out my feature on Never Jaded, it is the first time I’ve ever been interviewed! A big thank you to Tisha Jade for even being interested in interviewing me :)

November 26, 2010

Let's Take A Moment to Recognize Some Real Hip-Hop

This is just a very small sampling of that real, unadulterated, straight from the soul hip-hop that you don’t find too much anymore; that music that actually sounds like the artists put some thought into what they were saying before they recorded it. I will love true hip-hop forever and I don’t think she’s dead (you’ll have to excuse me, I like speaking in metaphors). I think hip-hop is in a coma and she’s trying to wake up but the music industry has a pillow over her face, forever trying to stifle her and keep her silent. A good number of these so called "hip-hop" artists running around nowadays are what I like to call "media puppets" because that is their main concern: their image and the way they are portrayed in the media. If they put the same amount of effort they put in their image into their music, then they would be worthy of being called true hip-hop artists. But for now I will just refer to their brand of music as commercial rap...actually that's a little too long for me to write so I'll just abbreviate it as c.rap. Anywho, this is just my humble opinion. As far as I am concerned, as long as there is at least 1 artist still making true hip-hop, hip-hop is alive. Enjoy the music :)


I deal with the real, so if it’s artificial let it be.

November 23, 2010

People You Should Know: Tobi Babajide & Jason Akoi

I am really excited to present these 2 remarkable individuals to you all because the company they have built is truly nothing short of amazing. I actually attended the same school as them for my freshman year of college (Rutgers University) and the sheer fact that these 2 are in school while owning and operating their own company only adds to the reason why I have so much respect for them. So without further ado, allow me to introduce you all to..



Tobi Babajide & Jason Akoi


Leather. Timeless. Classic. Versatile. A strong, durable material that withstands the test of time. Goods that are made out this material are known to last; you can rest assured that if you buy an item made out of genuine leather you will be able to use it for a very long time. Leather is trusty. These characteristics aren’t factors you want to find solely in the products that a certain company produces, you need to also find these characteristics in the company itself. A company whose brand is timeless, classic, and versatile is a company that will have longevity. A company that is built on the same principles of durability that its products are also built upon is a company that is destined for success. I see so much of this in Herds of The Fathers, especially after getting the opportunity to communicate with them and to really get a sense of what their company is about. Herds of the Fathers is a company that offers leather backpacks, duffle bags, and mini backpacks at the moment, but plans to expand into other types of accessories for men in the future.


When did you guys start this company?
This company started as ideas years ago, but its ideas started to come to fruition in March of 2009.

 Where did the name "Herds of The Fathers" come from?
This is one of the more popular questions that we receive. The name Herds of The Fathers came from the both of us just wanting a timeless name. We didn’t want to place any current slang or lingo that would fade over time. The concept is that everyday you live amongst a group of people, whether that be at school, work, or in your everyday community. The group portion led us to the word “Herd”. Out of these “Herds” there are a few individuals that help give birth to every one’s style in that group, hence “Fathers”. A Herd of The Father is a person that "creates", outside influences does not have an effect on them. They stay true to themselves. Bop to the music you create.

In a day and age where most college students are more worried about what party they are attending on the weekend more than anything else, what inspired you two to take the initiative to build your own company?
I can take this question into a different tangent but we will hold that off for a Don Lemon CNN interview, but the thought of having my own company has crossed my mind ever since I (Tobi) got my first retail job when I was 18, the thought of working hard for someone else to put money in their pockets never made sense to me. The working conditions one is forced to work under while working under someone else does not and did not fit my lifestyle. I always wanted to start a business, but I did not know what I wanted to get my hands into, until the right and bright idea came along. When the right idea came, everything just fell into place.

How do you guys balance the work between the two of you? Is one person more involved with the business aspect and one more involved with designing or do these duties fall evenly between the both of you?
We both have equal share in the company so we share equal responsibility. When it comes to design we both have equal say, we have a system where we both have to agree before we move on with anything. It works quite well, because one can keep the other in check and since its only two people involved in decision making, things can move a lot quicker. When there are more individuals involved then things can get messy and power struggles arise. 

What has been the biggest obstacle in building and maintaining your own company? How did you guys manage to overcome that obstacle?
The biggest obstacle in building a company is actually gaining respect at an early stage. We are still a company in the toddler stage, we are still building and getting better at what we do on a daily basis. People are always going to be skeptical of new products. I always use the example of Ralph Lauren, before he could sell his ties to Bloomingdales, it took time and perseverance, it took Steve Krauss to believe in his vision. It took time for Ralph to get his respect from retailers. The cure for Herds to get to a place where the brand is respected is time and delivery. With time, the general public will start to believe more and more in the product, and if we keep on delivering on better and more innovative products, the respect will take care of itself.

 On your website, there are 7 different bags featured. Which ones are your favorites and why?
I (Tobi) love each and every one of our pieces, but the one that stands out to me is the Logger Head. The bag is so practical. Everytime I am at the airport, people always ask me where I got the bag from, its small enough for carryon luggage, and big enough to fit the same items a medium suit case can fit.

Are you guys planning on collaborating with any other designers? Who would be your ideal collaboration candidate?
We would love to collab with other designers; there are no plans in the works now. But we would love to work with Mr. Ralph Lauren himself.

Do you guys plan on incorporating any other classic colors in your leather bag collection (black, grey, navy blue, tan, etc.)? How about a line of bags and accessories specifically for women? Is there any particular reason you have not yet?
Good question. With this first line, we played it kind of safe with the colors, in the future lines, there will be more daring colors, from the leathers to the lining, we will push limits. The world is changing; more and more people want different. People do not want boring and safe anymore. The brand has to move along with the times, but we will always keep the classic appeal of the company. A women’s line is not in the works yet. The good thing about the bags is that they have great crossover appeal, when we started this line, the void that we wanted to fill was in the male market, there are thousands of brands that cater to women and their accessory needs. Men have to go the extra mile to find quality pieces, when they do find it, they tend to be unaffordable. We also want to stay true to our company mantra.

Where do you guys see Herds of The Fathers in the next 5-10 years? Any plans for your own store location in the future? And if so, in what city would you build it in?
In the next five to ten years, we want the world to see Herds as a well established company that commands attention in the industry. A brand that people associate with a lifestyle. We want Herds products to become "must have" pieces. The idea of having a store is in the future, the internet is a great way to reach people and sell products, but there is no better feeling than having your own store and your own displays. A place where people can come to and actually see visually what you are trying to project with the brand. City wise, It’s easy to go with the typical New York, but we like to go against the grain so since we are Jersey natives and a company with its roots in Jersey, we would like to open the first store somewhere in Jersey. I want people to know that one doesn't have to run to New York to be successful. If what you are selling is in demand, and people believe in what you do, they will definitely come to you.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to start their own company? Would you recommend a partnership or a solo venture? And how has your partnership benefited your company thus far?
It depends on what type of business you are getting into. If the company needs more than one person for company operations, then I would recommend a partnership. The main thing to remember is that before getting into a partnership with anyone, do your research. Character, work ethic, morals. They are all measuring sticks. Everyone is different but at the end of the day, there are only a few personalities that can work flow together. The individual has to be someone that you can work with through the "good times" and the "bad times". I can go on and on, but just make sure you do a good background check. Plenty of businesses have gone down the tube not because they were bad ideas, but because of clashes in personalities and morals. This partnership has really benefited the company because we both bring something to the table, we are not the same people, we come from two different parts of Jersey, two different upbringings, but we both have one common goal. It would be a preposterous to say that we do not have moments that we do not agree. It’s human nature. The most important thing is that what happens after the disagreement? We have enough respect for each other that we can come to the table and re-group and move forward.

The answers to the questions I asked in this interview were so insightful and extremely inspirational. What I love most about this company is that it is so clear that these two young men put a great deal of thought into what they wanted to represent. This is clearly a company that is built on firm principles which I really respect. They realize that every person’s style is different so they made sure that their bags would cater to a variety of different tastes. And as previously mentioned, these bags really do have crossover appeal, men and women alike can most definitely rock these bags. I really do get inspired whenever I write up these interviews, they convict me and make me want to get up and just do something. We should all dare to be fathers of the herd, not the followers who lag behind. Thank you so much Tobi & Jason, you both have got that GOOD GOOD. Keep up the exceptional work.

November 18, 2010

She's Got That Good Good: Intriga U.

Hey guys! Like I mentioned in my last He/She’s Got That Good Good feature, I will be doing these features every other Thursday instead of every week just so I have enough time to do other posts in between! This week’s GOOD GOOD-er is another cool blogger with a killer sense of style. She is half Armenian, half Belorussian, and all fabulous so without further ado here is..


Intriga U. from London

What do you do?
This year I enrolled into a Photography course and also discovered the whole blogging thing so in my spare time I post my personal style shots, my photography, visit showrooms, fashion events and do small jobs that come along with blogging. In addition to all that I'm taking care of my son who is now 2.5 years old!

What 3 words would you use to best describe your style?
CARELESS, ECLECTIC, EYE-CATCHING

Where are your favorite places to shop?
I'm not going to be original on this one, as I don't have much time to wonder around the town with pram looking for carried away chic little shops, I go to where they have pretty much everything in one place- good old Oxford Street/Canary Wharf shopping centre as I live nearby and Shoreditch for vintage. Obviously online shopping is very helpful too.


What is the 1 item of clothing you cannot live without?

Hmmm I don't get attached to this type of things really, in the end it's just clothes.. so to be honest I can't imagine a thing I wouldn't be able to live without. I sell/get rid of stuff very easily.

I love Intriga’s view on clothing, what she said is too true. We tend to put so much emphasis on what we wear and where we got it from that we forget these things are just clothes at the end of the day. One shouldn’t place all one’s happiness in material possessions because such things don’t last forever. Thank you for the insight Intriga, you’ve got that GOOD GOOD!

Make sure you check out Intriga's lovely blog by clicking here.

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Check out my past He/She’s Got That Good Good features:


November 16, 2010

Kwesi Abbensetts Photography

Perspective. Something we are all born with, but something that must be fine tuned over time. Some individuals have perspective so acute, they see things that others can't. These people manage find beauty & wonder in everything. Kwesi Abbensetts has to be my favorite photographer..


his photos are more than just images


his photos tell a story..


a story of beauty


a story of power


a story of freedom


his work is honest


which I admire


he is a man with 3 eyes


2 on his face, and one in his lens


To see more of Kwesi Abbensetts's stunning photographic perspective, click here.

November 14, 2010

Thank You

Exactly 4 months ago (July 14, 2010) was the date that I made my very first blog postIf someone would have told me on that day that I would reach 500 followers in 4 months, I would have thought that person was crazy. But today, as I stare at my computer screen and see 500+ blogspot followers & 41 bloglovin’ followers, I am completely at a loss for words.

I never, ever thought that so many people would be interested in the things I have to say. So from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all of you who decided you liked my blog enough to click the follow button. Thank you to all the people who don’t follow me but check in from time to time. Thank you to all the people who have my blog saved to their favorites. Thank you to anyone who has ever shared my link on your twitter, your facebook, your tumblr, etc. Thank you to all of you who added my link to your blogroll. Thank you to my friends who have been so supportive of me and my hobby, especially for letting me talk about this blog all the time without getting annoyed (ya’ll know who you are :]). Thank you so much. You guys have no idea how happy sharing my heart & my soul with you through my writing makes me. Every time I receive a comment or an e-mail or a facebook message from someone telling me how much he or she really likes my blog and how inspiring I am, I get this feeling that I can’t even really explain. It surpasses happiness :) I want you all to know that I do read every single comment that everyone leaves me and I read every single e-mail I get and I so greatly appreciate all the positive feedback that I have been receiving. I feel so lucky to have such an amazing group of people to talk to about all the things I am passionate about. As I feel I show you in my posts, there are so many amazing people and so many amazing things that aren’t recognized. That’s why I started this blog, because greatness goes unoticed far too much for my liking. So as long as you all keep reading I will surely keep sharing the treasure that I find with you all. I don’t want to be the most popular blogger in the world or anything…I just want to be relevant. I want the things I write down to actually mean something. So thank you for all the love you've shown me and continue to show, you've ALL got that GOOD GOOD!

And in true GOOD GOOD fashion, since I am always trying to come up with ways to make this blog better and better, I have decided to make a twitter for this blog. About 6 different people this past week told me that I should make one so I am heeding to their words (finally). Ya'll will have to bear with me since I am not used to twitter at ALL, but I will try my hardest to master it as quickly as possible! 
Here is the link:

(clever name, huh?)

And feel free to join the facebook group as well! I have 100+ fans on there so thank you guys SO much for that. My mind never stops working, I'm constantly thinking of things I can talk about and I  have so many wonderful posts and features and a bunch of other things planned for the near future (did somebody say giveaways?) lol. So please stay tuned. I have already come this far in 4 months, I can't wait to see where I am a year from now and with your continued support we will get there together :)

Much Love,
Dee O.

November 10, 2010

Africans In Music


For all of you who didn’t know or who may have forgotten, I am a proud African (Nigerian to be exact). Nothing makes me happier and inspires me more than seeing other Africans doing such big things in the world so I decided to compile a little list of African musicians who are making waves in the industry. Enjoy!

NNEKA
A Nigerian hip-hop inspired soul singer whose music has more than just an appealing sound; there is a message in her music which I greatly appreciate. I absolutely love her music. She is just beginning to get serious global recognition but you can expect to be seeing more of this amazing woman in the near future. 
k’naan
Fatima by K'naan
A Somali singer & rapper who gained global recognition when his song "Waving Flag" was chosen as the official song for the 2010 World Cup. I have been a huge fan of this man’s music for a very long time, he is truly poetic with his work. His album Troubadour is absolutely excellent. I strongly urge you to listen to it if you have yet to. He is simply phenomenal.
aNDY ALLO
A Cameroonian singer who is new to the music industry but who definitely has the talent to make it very far. She has an extremely lovely voice and makes easy listening music that I would compare to that of Corinne Bailey Rae. And just a side note, I am so envious of her afro!
WALE
Diary by Wale feat. Marsha Ambrosious
A Nigerian rapper from Washington D.C. who has collaborated with big names in the music industry such as Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Bun B, Beanie Sigel, Pharrell, Marsha Ambrosious, and, fellow African, K’naan (just to name a few). Wale is most definitely doing big things; his most recent mixtape entitled More About Nothing was pretty darn good if I do say so myself. It’s definitely worth a listen if you have yet to do so. I really do enjoy Wale's music, he is very poetic.

shingai shoniwa
A Zimbabwean singer based in the UK who is the vocalist and bassist in the band Noisettes. This woman is ridiculously talented and well known for her unique sense of style and her fabulous hair. Although her band isn’t extremely popular in the United States, Noisettes are well known in other countries around the world. I am a huge fan of their music, they have such a unique sound that I find extremely refreshing!
CHIDDY BANG
Chidera "Chiddy" Anamege is a Nigerian rapper based in Philadelphia, PA who makes up half of the duo named Chiddy Bang. The duo reached countrywide recognition with the release of their single entitled Opposite of Adults which hit the top 20 on singles charts in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Belgium. The duo signed a recording contract with EMI in January of this year and their debut album is scheduled to release in spring of 2011.
ASA 
Bibanke by Asa
A Nigerian soul singer with a voice that always gives me goose bumps. I absolutely love this woman’s music, it truly is dynamic. She released her latest single Be My Man about a month ago and it got really good feedback online (I am in LOVE with that song!). Her latest album, Beautiful Imperfection, dropped on October 25th so make sure you go out and give it a listen!

LAURA IZIBOR
A Nigerian and Irish singer who was born and raised in Ireland. At the age of 17 Laura was signed to Jive Records but after a dispute with that label signed with Atlantic Records. In 2006 she won the Meteor Music Award and became the first unsigned musician to receive a nomination. Her album, Let The Truth Be Told, was released in May of 2009 and reached number 2 on the Irish Album charts. This remarkable young woman has even opened for Aretha Franklin, India.Arie, Estelle, Maxwell and John Legend on tour. Very impressive!
AYO
Life Is Real by Ayo
A Nigerian singer whose debut album, Joy, which was released in 2006 reached Double-Platinum status in France, Platinum in Germany & Poland, and Gold in Switzerland, Italy, and Greece. I absolutely love the sound of her music, it is really relaxing. Definitely someone you should listen to if you have yet to.

Oh, how I love being African! I am most definitely in great company :)

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