Ikiré Jones is the brainchild of Wale Oyejide, crowned by Esquire Magazine as one of the “Best Dressed Real Men in America.” His clothing line is a sly mix of fashion forward eclectic designs with an urban sensibility. Rather than creating beautiful garments that lack the functionality to be worn every day, Ikiré Jones designs high quality attire that’s at home in the office or after work. His dapper style can best be described as “West Africa meets Brooklyn.”
We recently sat down with Wale to discuss his clothing line, his background and his road to entrepreneurship.
BlackEnterprise.com: What made you decide to launch a line of menswear?
Wale Oyejide: I’ve always seen myself as something of a creative. Before I went to law school and entered the practice of law, I spent a few years as an independent musician. I put out a few albums before deciding to attempt to do something a bit more “respectable.” Well, fast forward a few years later, and I have realized that none of us should try to bury who we really are. I’m very proud to be an attorney, but I’m more proud to be someone who is also bold (and a little foolish) enough to follow his passions.
The Ikiré Jones line is just another avenue for me to feed that creative spark inside me, while paying homage to my Nigerian heritage and addressing the fact that so many men are in dire need of help where their wardrobes are concerned.
The world arguably has too many lawyers. Sadly, the same cannot be said of independent thinkers who want to push society forward with their talents.
Well stated. It’s refreshing to see someone wholly accept the challenge of being an entrepreneur, especially coming from a relatively secure career as law. What obstacles have you faced since becoming an entrepreneur?
WO: No one gets anywhere on their own; and it makes very little sense to attempt to reinvent the wheel.However, as a lone gunman entering a foreign (to me) industry, part of the struggle has simply been in knowing where to get information and who to speak with about reaching the next milestone. Oftentimes, the older guard look upon new faces with suspicion and can be wary of disclosing the wealth of information they’ve amassed over the years. In my experience, one just has to knock on enough doors until the right one eventually opens. It’s hard work, but if you ask enough people, someone will usher you in the right direction.