Detoxaholic held the pleasure of speaking with Brooklyn based fashion designer and influencer Jason Kusimo. I totally fell in love with his line at the 2016 Brooklyn Fashion Week show this past October. I instantly noticed the mash-up inspiration of West African patterns and textiles with sleek and tailored NYC chicness.
We chilled at a downtown Brooklyn McDonald’s where he shared his childhood, beginning fashion inspirations, and future goals for his platform.
Jason was born and raised in Brooklyn until he was in the eighth grade, then his family moved to London. He discussed how the diversity of London was such a major culture shock for him at that age. Growing up in London, he became a huge fan of soccer (referred to as football in London). And during his teenage years, he appreciated how his American accent went over well with the pretty teenage girls in his neighborhood.
Although, his peers always praised Jason for his fashion savvy, he shared with me that he once held dreams of being a football player. But always looking up to his older brother, Jason’s intrigue and love for fashion grew as his fashion forward brother put him onto new designers. From then, his family was a major support system for his passion. He would take trips to his family in Nigeria where he learned about all the elements of fashion: styling, patterns, textiles, silhouettes, tailoring, sewing, and more. Jason shared how he adores the fashion industry of his native Nigeria, and one day he plans to show his line at Fashion Week in Lagos.
In addition to him gaining his bearings in fashion through heightening his gifts as a stylist in Nigeria, Jason shared how he also gained much knowledge while living in Los Angeles for three years. Jason’s passion to extend his talents into designing clothing became a more focused plan through his relationships and tides he created and still maintains with local designers, stylists, and influencers.
But with his transition to New York City, Jason shared how his design aesthetic has toned down. In LA, Jason loved to experiment and design with brighter colors and patterns; however, the darker color palette of the NYC streets, and his love for film noirs can be seen in his recent collection at Brooklyn Fashion Week.
Being a nineties baby, Jason shares how his favorite designers are Kanye West and Pharrell Williams and hopes he can work with them in some capacity in the future. He loves the unique styles of both artists, especially how Kanye provides his own perspective of grunge and ready-to-wear, hip-hop fashion.
Jason loves the heightened opportunities and platforms that exist for emerging designers now, but feels that diversity is still a lingering issue. As he continues to build his platform, Jason wants to showcase the talents of other designers of the African-diaspora on his blog site and in his fashion shows. He also plans to one day own and run his own private boutique where he sells clothing and provides his tailoring and customized clothing services for consumers and other designers.
Jason’s grind is not slowing down anytime soon, and he encourages other designers and all artists to ignore the criticism of naysayers and just focus on the execution. The more you refine your craft; the love of your audience will grow.