#MondayMentors - London fashion icon Tinie Tempah, What We Wear
#mondaymentors – London fashion icon Tinie Tempah, What We Wear
In the spirit of London Fashion Week Men’s 2019, which began last weekend (today is the last day), I want to discuss an unexpected icon of the scene – Tinie Tempah.
While he is best-known for his rapping, Tinie has been a mainstay on the London fashion circuit since 2010 (and was even deemed GQ’s ‘Best Dressed Man’ of 2012).
Coming from humble beginnings in a South East London council estate, Tinie gained his interest in fashion thanks to his mother, who ordered fabric constantly, and his Nigerian heritage (Nigerian fabrics are UNREAL). So, naturally, Tinie seized every opportunity to become involved in London’s fashion industry.
Sitting front-row at the likes of Burberry and Coach (and every other runway), he not only became known for his killer style, but he also built relationships with key industry players. As a result, the release of his fashion label Disturbing London (named after his record label) made sense. More recently, Tinie launched another label, What We Wear, to an incredibly positive reception for AW17. Inspired by the ‘modern-man in the digital era’ all while ‘incorporating timeless British-style’, the brand is far more ‘fashion’ than his Disturbing London offerings. The pieces are incredibly cool, reasonably priced, and something I’d even want to wear myself (he did a capsule collection in 2018 featuring a few womenswear bits – who knew)?
From digging deeper into Tinie’s fashion career story, I think there’s a lot that we can take away – even from never having met or spoken to him before.
1. Take your time – if you want to pursue something unrelated to your day job, absorb yourself in it and the scene (when you have free time, of course). In doing this, you can build relationships with the right people and gain a better understanding of that industry. PLUS it’s much easier to be authentic when your interest in something is authentic – and goes deeper than just ‘starting a brand.’
2. You can do both – If you have two passions (like music and fashion, for instance) it is possible to do both – as long as you build relationships with people who can help! He’s not a ‘fashion designer’, but he is a well-connected creative director. In my opinion, that’s enough to run a legitimate label these days.
3. Think long-term - instead of plastering his face and lyrics all over What We Wear’s garments, I really respect that he chose not to do that. Rather, he has built collections that people actually want to wear — whether or not they even enjoy Tinie’s music. For me, this further lends to his authenticity / long-term credibility in the creative scene.
I would love to know: are you a fan of Tinie Tempah? What’s your favourite look of his? Be sure to share your thoughts with me on Instagram and see you next week!
While you’re at it, here’s the latest episode of Fashion Originators with Jemima Sara - who turned her art into a female empowerment fashion brand: