interview x MojoKojo
I spoke to designer Koye Adesanya, about his rhythmic label - MOJOKOJO, and how he blends music, creativity and fashion into one powerful creative experience in both Lagos and London.
T:Firstly, thanks for taking a "virtual" seat with me to answer a few of my questions about the boom of MOJO KOJO. Now, I know you work between Lagos and London, can give us some background on how you formed/found these cultural links, and what's it like to work between two international creative hubs?
Well, my parents live in Lagos, Nigeria which I am truly grateful for. I have been back and forth from Lagos and the UK. Born here in the UK, moved to Lagos when I was 10 and then came back three years later for boarding school. My years living and schooling in Lagos truly changed my life, I soaked a lot from the city. Lagos and London are very different, but share similarities. They both have the buzz, everyone’s trying to hustle and your personal network is key.
T: Your work speaks to the vibrancy of contemporary African youth culture, your Yoruba connections and the nostalgic rhythms of 90's street culture, how/why did you merge these influences to give your clothing such a distinct identity?
I put a lot of thinking into it, I didn’t want to just be another clothing brand. Its more than a clothing brand, it a cultural platform. I’m giving you insight into my inspirations, Nigerian heritage and my identity. I’m giving you my heart. Mojo Kojo is essentially a reflection of me and what I love, something that I wanted to share with the world. The youth are also a very important part of my marketing and inspiration. Its important I made a clothing brand that they could connect with.
T: Fresh out of university, you decided to launch MOJOKOJO on your own - undeniably amazing - during your journey what did it take to launch your own work?
Thank you! It was tough. It required a lot of self discipline and a clear vision that I never let go of. The vision for Mojo Kojo definitely kept me going through the times, the world had to know! We had a launch party for my clothing brand and over 400+ students came to a 250 person club capacity, that was the beginning. This was just the first page of my book that I wrote for myself.
T:You've recently collaborated with Urban Outfiters and continue to do so, how does this open your brand and message up to a wider and more diverse audience.
Yes we’ve collaborated with Urban Outfitters on three collections. June ‘17, December ‘17 and February ‘18. This is great, as it has developed my US customer base. Its also great as the Urban Outfitters website/store visitors get the opportunity to view the rest of my collection and see what Mojo Kojo is all about.
T: Can you tell us about the role of "ljoya" what it means and how you blend music, creativity and fashion into one powerful creative experience?
Ijoya, means ‘time to dance’ in Yoruba, a native language from Nigeria. These were club nights that I started back in university, we played a mix of old school and modern Afro beats and dancehall. We always tried to incorporate the clothing, by having a stall or encouraging people to wear Mojo Kojo to the events. Music and fashion go hand in hand, they influence each other. I’m a very visual person, one of my dresses is called the ‘One Dance’ dress, named after Drake & Wiz Kid’s One Dance song. The print is a nice yellow colour with different coloured dancers laid horizontally across the dress. I just like doing fun stuff like that,
T:Whats in store for the future? anything you'd like to share - or advice for those up and coming?
I have recently left my accountancy job, taking the leap of faith to work on Mojo Kojo full time. You will see some change now. Expect greater growth and a wider variety of pieces for my future collections. Advice? Be your biggest fan, you’re going to need it in your toughest times. Know your early customers inside out. Talk to them, ask them questions, provide excellent customer service. They will be vital in your come up.
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