Over the past year we have been introduced to many amazing people in the virtual world of blogs and social networking. With this post we continue a regular series of profiles of New School Dandies. Up next, blogger Barima Owusu-Nyantekyi.
Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in London, keeping in touch with my Ghanaian roots by vacationing there once or twice a year.
Where do you live now? In Accra and in London. This knowledge doesn’t make me feel well travelled, but I’m established in both cities, so it makes perfect sense.
Where did you go to school? Most recently, the University of Manchester. Prior to that, Slough Comprehensive. I’d liked to have been educated outside of the UK at some points, although I found certain summer camps rather distasteful.
What’s your occupation? That’s rather hyphenated. Communications Executive-Copywriter-Marketer-Researcher-Style Journalist-Blog Columnist. And that counts none of my bad habits like Seedy Establishment Frequenter-Freestyle Dancer-Consummate Hobbyist-Bad Historian.
When did you establish your personal style? Was there a pivotal moment? How has it changed? Despite some music scene-related teenage conflagrations, I’ve always dressed in ways that relate to both of my heritages. What you refer to as my personal style relates aesthetically to the British one and palette-wise to the Ghanaian one, and that could be said to have come into its own around 2004 when I was young and needed the money. The core style has rather remained the same. The attention to detail is evolving at the pace of a slug, but at least it’s improving matters.
How would you describe your style? “Offbeat formality” is my usual response; it encapsulates the conservative and flagrant elements in a Q&A-friendly soundbite all of my own. I also like “Dead Posh,” “Fake Gay” and “Fonzworth on Acid” but a friend devised those, so they don’t count.
What are your sources of inspiration? My father is the prime source for developing, rather than encouraging, my vanity, since he has a creative take on traditional forms. The majority are from the world of popular culture; luminaries of the arts and design fields, fantastic showmen and musical scenes; the rest seem to be politicians and businessmen. I’ve always liked, for example, how Japanese Shibuya-kei, Neo-Shibuya-kei and picopop music absorbed decades of sonic trends, pop music references, production techniques and samples, stripped them of context and blended these elements with a spirit that’s uniquely theirs, creating something new-but-old and nullifying distinctions between high and low culture. I like to apply such a spirit to my ensembles. Success is in the eye of the beholder.
Who is your style icon? I can’t really name an icon; the men of style that I appreciate are no better or worse than each other. I tend to derive much inspiration from a number of fashion and tailoring houses, especially pre-1980.
What are your preferred dandy reading materials? I enjoy memoirs and autobiographies by espionage agents, businessmen, scoundrels and record executives, such as Howling At The Moon by former CBS Records President, Walter Yetnikoff, and Spymaster by Peter Wright. I’m an admirer of most forms of fiction, Bret Easton Ellis being an easy favourite, and also enjoy tomes about business empires and the magic of Tony Robbins. And where would we be without Taschen?
Do you have a favorite website? The Materialist and Polite Dissent’s medical reviews of House M.D.
What is your favorite personal item (non-clothing/accessories)? My iPod, as soon as it’s finally replaced. I also own a pre-war chest of drawers in which the first drawer folds out into a desk with compartments for stationery, envelopes and assorted debris; a better incarnation of the one I used at school. It’s an essential.
What is your favorite clothing article or accessory? A rarely worn woven houndstooth shirt from the 1960s by Turnbull & Asser. The needlework is incredible.
Where is your favorite or dream vacation spot? I’ve a strange hankering to go to Cambodia. I also love New York like no other.
Tell us the best kept secret in your city. In Accra, it’s a new drinking establishment in the fun part of town named Bella Roma. In London, it would be Shoreditch House, although that’s hardly a secret, well kept or otherwise.
At which establishments would you consider yourself a regular? Seemingly most of Mayfair and Piccadilly, including Dover Street Market, where I can be found distracting the staff with my colour choices, many of the art and photography galleries and the Arts Club, also on Dover Street. I’m also fond of Notting Hill and its different shops and eateries.
What would you be doing ten years from now? Developing brand presences in Africa and globally, travelling the world, continuing to write and finally using my powers for good.
What is your current obsession? House M.D., Glee and Doctor Who.
Currently inspired by? Gregory House and the history of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana.
Currently annoyed with? People devoid of common sense; a resource scarce enough to be a traded commodity.
What else do you want to tell us? I suffer from mild road rage, own too much unplayed vinyl and thought that Meet Dave was an example of avant-garde cinema.