Founder Leadership in the 20’s

There is a new venture I’m exploring recently. Before it was I get all my brothers jobs, let me recognise the meet performance indicators of industry and show all the people how it’s done. Engineered to the state of reproduction.

now I am bootstrapping from the ground up, my start up, self funded and self starting it’s proposing a different set of challenges, as my goal before was to show one person (over the course of many repetitions) what they are missing, so one person could be hired. Now it’s to show the marketplace what they should be tuned into for many people to appreciate. I can’t say it doesn’t sound totally different, however the key differentiator here is in the end of the former one person needs to buy in and hire, basically you are waiting for one person to do their job so you can do a job for them.

As a business you are the socket not the plug so you are tapped into a whole electrical grid that is drawing from a whole power station. Which means when engaging with the public there are so many things that have to click together for them to see one instance.

Sticking to the analogy, people don’t ask every time they flick a switch if the light will turn on. They assume every time they flick a switch energy will be running through the house. For that one instance to be true there need to be so many other instances to be true. Where the public themselves worry if they pay the bill and have a working bulb, you as the company have to ensure you are tapped into a grid of energy sufficiently enough for any one person to have an okay time.

These things aren’t a dilemma on their own the dilemma is to create the right grid. To be literal instead of analogous I mean you need the right team in place for your company to work, just okay. Being a part of the competition let alone performing at a high level or even market dominance are all separate endeavours. In the start you just want to be part of the grid and know if you even have product market fit first. Which is your companies own challenge into on-ramping into the marketplace, once you on ramp you then have to worry about certain other challenges. Right now we are only talking about the right people in this case.

Assuming you have a particular type of product market fit and know where you are going and your company mission well, there you have a nice little mast head and logo. Jokes aside people can see what they are *supposed to buy into.

The real steps is to find people who care about the things you care about and have them care enough to work towards the goal you’re working towards. All rewards being long term and not short term.

Today as a person or individual or even founder you are representing a company as a singular entity, you alone know where you’re going and how your company fits in the grand scheme of things. It’s up to you to talk about your company as if it were that 1000 person global organisation.

I get butterflies myself, an enthusiasm I feel as a person who can provide jobs to that many people and for me it’s a driving force that propels me forward. For others it’s daunting, and others still pie in the sky, as you are one person standing in an industry full of giants.

Meaning before you find the right person to be a part of your organisation you need to know up and down their full responsibilities and job description, they need to know not just the value they believe they’re bringing to you. They need to know the level of competency they have to put forward to fill the position.

In saying that. I understand how organisations find themselves mediocre in the market place, as there is a good enough mentality from the top down of an organisation from the leader to very newest employee.

As for me I am in constant pursuit of being a master of my craft and creating the right environment for that to be the standard means you as a leader, better yet I, need to know the roles a person must be executing consummately. Comparable to the electrical grid, that person who is filling a position mustn’t have their wires crossed less they burst a fuse. Said personnel must endear themselves to the role so much it must feel like to me that I had the ability to do that job in the same time they did.

This level of understand comes from key knowledge in the field whether it be from a logo and the power of brand; a campaign that displays key marketing skills; key tech functionality from competent understanding of code

That fervent belief in the project, discipline of wanting to do the best you can at a task, and the demeanour of a consummate professional, those are key personality traits everyone wants to see in their personnel. Else you find a diamond in the rough and reveal to them their potential. Further still a peace of coal engaged in so much pressure they become a diamond.

All in a world where them market is in the position it’s in. Employee tenure is low and workplace happiness is even lower, who is really here for all of that.

This is the job of real leaders in the marketplace. Someone with the empathy to understand and the ability to create an environment where someone can thrive in a bootstrapped environment as well as recruitment ability to spot a talent or a quality individual.

That is ground up bootstrapping. Finding and catching the cow, looking after it, priming the hide, tanning the leather, stretching and pressing, curing. Then constructing the upper for the boot. That’s just the leather, the same must be said for the rubber, laces, thread and metal holes.

That is the task at hand. The landscape given for anyone who chooses to operate in these conditions.

Minimalist or Minimal Acumen

Bless up from your feet to your head top,

We go again,

How do you actually experience fashion?

What are your feelings when wearing clothes?

There are 3 types of minimal clients. The essential client, the all-black, or head to toe one designer. Throughout this particular clientele, we are seeing the philosophy of minimalism, portrayed, taken and twisted as ‘I dress only within the bounds of this designer/colour/clothing codes’. When there’s a reality in the philosophy of minimalism, which is built from a foundation of understanding the dynamic tenets of a subject matter, stripping away those that aren’t in use and having a full life enacting the principles you’re left with. Those thoughts considered, Minimalism is a thought-provoking exercise of proof of knowledge, principle and acumen, in this instance acumen of fashion design and styling.

A tangential example of this is an Apple iPhone. The complexity of the product is so vast Apple’s revenue per employee is 2-million USD. The most recent Apple phone is a luxury item as it is on the most advanced market-ready machines. You do not need a PhD to work the product, they distilled the dynamic philosophy of the product down to simple gestures you can make with your thumb. And index finger if completely necessary. Having stayed that way for a few decades now they set the pace for the way we interact with product.

If you need more proof, think about the last time you looked at the iPhone instruction manual? And did it come in the box? Ready to use out of the box and almost frictionless user experience.

Tasteful decisions were made to make something so simple. Now I’m not saying you have to be an Apple engineer with the way you dress but there is an engineering level to the way people have and wear clothes – it’s called manufacturing, textile engineering and ergonomics. Each are taken into consideration if the designer values humans.

There are low tolerance ways to have designers not care but still work and that is fashion school, it’s not necessary, yet it’s built up of a history of understanding.

If you use this fabric it hangs this way, if you use this other fabric it won’t work

If you put the seam here then this is the way it will fit. If you make the armhole this diameter this is how it will look

If you are running in this item heat and static electricity will be generated. If you develop the fabric this way it will breathe and expend heat.

Those are the breaks. Simple breakdown of a couple dynamic thought processes that are somewhat intuitive today or not necessary for the designer to focus on and they will just think of design. I will cap this off by saying designers who skimp on studies it shows up in the quality of their work.

In today’s day and age we are less inclined to be considerate to people who lack in the design area. And manufacturing companies have made it so easy most people wear blanks manufactured by machines made to last 12 to 18 months depending on quality. This is a low tolerance entry point for most people. And much of the merchandise we see made today, very few things are majority made by hand. This is why it’s easy to get away with being called minimalist as it is minimal effort, – I want to know are we really dealing with minimalists in philosophy or are we dealing with people with minimal design/style acumen

Full Disclosure – Small Disclaimer

I want to add a disclaimer – there are people who openly admit to not being fashion-forward and know they flow with the trends of the now and don’t want to think so much about the clothes and where they came from so by and large Have the same wardrobe since they settled into the style they have. I am not talking about these people. I will be talking about the people who tout that they are minimalist but just have minimal acumen

A massive tell, tell sign someone has minimal acumen is they speak as if their single colour wardrobe or essentials / grey man orientated wardrobe is based on a deep philosophical drive to distil their life essence into one drop of clothes

Through youth, wanting to be deep, lack of information or creativity we have a sector of the menswear population who lord their minimal acumen as if they have the keys to the world. I address menswear as I see it more here, there could be women just as fair who do the same.

In a time right now where there is so much consolidation of creativity, many people create essential collections, with a grey marble or earth tone colour palette; and we are making less and less wardrobe decisions; it’s only understandable for people who were once overwhelmed no longer run from expensive items.

Expensive being the operative word. Fashion as the industry arbiters of taste created a structure where the t-shirt, jumper, and tracksuit were the bottom rung. Now the hoodie is a luxury item. Mid-tier value being £120. We see expensive “essentials” wardrobe schemes with the cozy style uniform and colour palette.

Designer Fan

On the opposite end of the spectrum within the fashion industry, you have people who will well one designer who has been called Avant-Garde for the past 30 years and said male is in their artiste emo awakening think they’re Avant-Garde too they latch on to the said designer. Now they learn everything there is to this designer and because social media is so giving if you have some items of certain designers you are allowed into these enclaves of people who have an adoration of the designer. Now with the knowledge of this single designer our Avant-Garde-Atiste in their emo era has all this information they get to share along with some things they glean, which can genuinely be well-founded. Don’t get me wrong it can be fun and can feel like you have found your home, however, this designer may not even tout minimalist nor does that make your wardrobe minimalist – more fitting they have a singular directive to support a designer and are part of the fan club, which is amazing if you can find that type of love.

Minimal Essentials

I myself know this clique intimately. Formulated of many kinds of people, I will say one archetype I know well. This person works, dozens of hours a week may very well be a content creator, with less time than they have trainers. And they do education (personal development) alongside their content. What time do they have to pick clothes? Let alone create a style that is original, however, there goes the dilemma they’re supposed to be a content creator with ideas in the dozens so they should be able to formulate some sort of creative way to dress to represent themselves. Well, this takes time, there are people who take real-time to achieve their most effective style and then stopping it back. This is not them. They skip the years of experimenting come up with a reason why they have very few pieces attached it to the Google definition of minimal and there you have content for this ungodly idea.

Slight disclaimer, maybe in your head you are thinking Fear of God essentials. No, we are talking, one colour 4 tees four jumpers, 2 suits a pair of shoes and a workout outfit, definition of essentials.

I have spoken about the classic menswear items every man needs in their wardrobe, I did not think it would turn into men believing their style is classic and timeless because they either only wear suits and workout gear or only wear jumpers and blue jeans because Steve Jobs is a billionaire and he only wears that too… — I say to myself ‘But Steve wore…’ then stop myself to let people enjoy things — … or they wear an arrangement of Earth tone colours brown tan grey and black and say their muted palettes are essential and timeless colours because [insert esoteric statement] and they can spend the rest of their life like that.

Either one of these essential styles barring the last in my personal opinion are at all offensive. However doing those things isn’t new, creative or well thought out let alone minimalist. Like I say we can start at different points and end at the same place – but to see something copy it and slap an esoteric statement over it is not the best portrayal of your talents or quality of style as you didn’t explore. Imagine they tried so many things and all the content they would have in trying their hand at different style and landing there. There would be so much sense made. I’m not trying to tell people how to live their lives I’m just going to say your style isn’t minimal it’s actually overdone.

Minimal colour (blacked out)

The number 1 culprit in my book, where it all started, – you can insert cringe style video here. – As it’s really overdone, so not minimal by existence. I won’t lie I have the least problem with this one, as I was here (As in wearing black head to toes, not calling my black outfits minimal). I do have to call a spade a spade, there is some fear in this one. There’s fear in the others, however, I know it so intimately, as I have helped people grow in their style.

Much of blacked out is based on fear of exploring into colour because you don’t know how it will look. — Take it from someone who pumped up orange in the hood for years before the brothers on the street were wearing it. I know it’s a challenge to get orange in the wardrobe, pink too. — The grandest exploration out of here I will say is wearing white and even the introduction of grey, we know sweat stains show up on grey, so grey in itself is a risk taken.

The best people who mask the all-black fantasy is the Avant-Garde collectors and the anti-fashion squad. Because each item comes with a story of how you looked for it or bought it doesn’t make it any less fear base if you look at the story of the wardrobe collection as a whole. The tell-tell sign that is very subtle is how they talk about texture and fabric, if they talk about mixing a black cotton tee with black denim jeans as if it were this idea graces on them by a higher power you have a right to side-eye.

You can have originality range creativity and fun exploring different clothes and styles, the way the second-hand market stands today you have the ability to buy quality item and sell them at a profit or at a marginal loss. It would only take a little work, if you don’t want to work, that’s fine. That is called minimal acumen, it does not however make your style Minimalist – I can say though do take solace in it being minimal by virtue you haven’t thought too much about it.

Outside Fundamentalists Fashion – With Hope I Transform Everything

I thought I could watch the Virgil show but I can’t. Today they show what will now be Virgil final presentation. There’s so much about fashion that is about the wonder and the enjoyment of culture. today it gives me the feeling of sour candy apples, you know it’s the last but it’s for the wrong reason and you know it’s by him but nothing will be again

I remember coming into the fashion world post McQueen. I would be in University/College wondering if I would see anything new. Sitting in my dorm room researching the Antwerp 6 Rei Kawakubo and Yohji all the while making 3D models practicing my animation. Late nights with my people on Skype (yes that old) talking about the new thing I learned and telling my friend ‘They used to call Balenciaga, ‘Master of Us All’.

Later down the line I would see the Anti Fashion Movement was more of a representation of an amalgamation of underground culture from the youth. Simply the beauty of the youth and essence of Us in clothes. Then I hear the guys who ASAP Rocky were wearing [HBA x Been Trill] have a new show coming up. It’s called something like ‘Pyrex Vision 23’…

Yo bro this is about to a vibe I wonder if I can buy one …

I genuinely thought. Maybe I could afford one. I would end up selling blanks and graphic tees much later but the point is I had to see this video as soon as it dropped – this guy named VIRGIL ABLOH – say swear my man is Ghanaian and worked with Kanye. Makes sense he’s an architect right. African like me and did what I like to do. Technical design. The discipline of real world application of your art skills using human cantered design principles, this guy even knew about Dieter Rams

Little did I know Virgil would be the biggest thing in fashion for America and for European fashion

Long story short the parallels between him and I played into all my biases. I just want to put you all in a space where someone who looked like me and lived in a way I was living would create to represent me and where I come from. From what I could see they start and end with design and want to inspire the youth and express myself through design.

A way I can explain it in short is. The way in which Vivienne Westwood encapsulated punk and the way the Antwerp 6 Grunge we got Virgil Kerby Sam and Shayne developing with akin concepts based on black experience.

For 2 years indirectly and 9 years directly I followed Virgil’s story. As it was one where you know when it’s history, tell a lie, my intuition told me to look, the references told me to keep looking and the misrepresentation of what Off White and Hood By Air created made me stay. I knew for a while there needed to be someone who could translate to people what we really were looking at. Not what you thought it was because if you were as young as I was looking at this OG create for you. You’d want to protect it in the same way Europeans protect the Antwerp 6 Comme and Yohji.

Not that I don’t relate equally to European fashion but that this is the first interaction for many people of what Virgil is doing and he was unlike Sean Jean or Jordan he was the guy who watched and lived through what they did and wanted what they created (much like I to his clothes) and wanted to develop the cycle of inspiration entrenched in the fashion community.

Knowing what I knew and feeling as I did. Being in a position where all I could do was write that is very much what I did and once I saw how it was all going I would write about Virgil. I have wrote about Virgil consistently for 4 years, for one it deserved it and 2 it became a meme to entangle his essence in bounds of knots and not care for what you were creating a jest about.

So I spent hours trying to create critique and thesis around Virgil’s thesis, because it deserved it. The more the essence was understood the less I felt the need to intercede. Without those hours of streaming talking about Virgil to swing guys to neutral it would just be me writing review and reactions.

Virgil as a celebrity induced attention however he moved. As a man he could be living his life, as a celebrity he would inspire a generation, cultivate disciples and create a language of design for those who followed him can walk for years to come.

The fluidity of how he moved in business and consciousness he gave to a culture of you that that didn’t think that Fashion was for them vitalised a healthy amount of curiosity in the next generation

Outside Fundamentalists Fashion – With Hope I Transform Everything