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  • òL New York

    Allen Aderotoye and I initially met in July of 2015 at the Capsule show during the inaugural New York Men’s Fashion week. It was my first time attending the highly respected fashion and lifestyle trade event, so you could imagine my excitement.  Editors and style leaders alike packed platform 2 of Skylight Clarkson Square to witness some of the world’s fastest rising clothing lines and their respective Spring/Summer ‘16 men's collections.

    During the presentation’s closing minutes, I overheard someone yell out, “Mr. BAPE!” and to my surprise it was Allen who greeted me with open arms. The uber-stylish designer’s positive energy was so contagious it felt like we were longtime friends. After he properly introduced himself, we briefly spoke about my time working at the extinguished SoHo hotspot and his very own label, òL New York. I followed Aderotoye on Instagram to keep up with his latest moves and learn more about his fledgling brand.  I later discovered that Allen’s brainchild was just as dope as I thought it would be.

    The 26-year-old creative’s outerwear-centric line is very meticulous in the way it blends unusual fabrics (such as velvet, suede and wool) to provide simple yet extremely suave looks.  Possessing such intricate detailing, one would be surprised to know that the label was conjured up by accident.  Right after graduating from the University of Maryland in May of 2012, the natural born hustler migrated to New York City where he interned at Exposure Creative Agency. “While at my internship, I made a piece for the first time and it garnered huge attention--everyone there liked it. It was shot by HYPEBEAST and I thought ‘ok, I might have something here’,” Aderotoye confesses. “Ever since, I continued to take steps to continue building out what would become òL.”

    Like most notable designers (think Karl Lagerfeld, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier), Allen did not receive any formal fashion design training. He focused on obtaining a degree in Economics and Business.  Aderotoye--a first generation American from Nigerian decent--blatantly states: “conceptual majors are not accepted.”  Allen’s Nigerian parents are very strict when it comes to education, which meant that his passion for everything style had to be contained (until he actually graduated from college, of course).  “My parents hated the fact that I moved to New York.  My response was, ‘I got you that degree, now I need to figure out how to actually get it in life!’. “

    Allen is certainly “getting it” in the Big Apple as he is three collections deep into his beloved brand.  I recently sat down with the talented craftsman to talk about his upbringing, love for fashion, and the future of òL.  Check out our conversation below:

    FRENDY:  How lit was it growing up in Washington, D.C?

    ALLEN:  It was great!  DC has so much culture--we have our own sense of identity from the style of dress to gogo music, so much influence is started in the area. I was raised between a few areas in Prince George’s County and neighborhood called Trinidad in DC near H st.

    FRENDY:  Your parents are originally from Nigeria, have you ever visited the motherland?

    ALLEN:  Yeah, they are from Nigeria both born and raised there. They came here for the opportunities America had. I’ve been to Nigeria twice. It’s a really inspiring place to be meeting family I’ve never seen before, eating jollof rice from McDonald's like chains for sure an experience. This is where my parents are from: a very warm, vibrant colored, hustle or die mentality Nigeria.

     

    FRENDY:  Were you always into Fashion?

    ALLEN:  I’ve always been into style.  Self expression is very important--especially as a kid, you want to let people know what kind of person you are by your sense of style to a certain degree. It all started with footwear for me, I was really into Jordans because Jordan was a beast and as a kid there was no better sneakers than the bred 11s. That’s what started to teach me the idea of aesthetics.

     

    FRENDY:  I feel you.  Which HS did you attend?

    ALLEN:  I went to Bowie High School.  My time there was very regular I would assume for the average teen in High School. Pretty chill, just plotting on Jordan release dates and skipping lunch to have enough for each pair that was dropping.

    FRENDY:  I can tell that your love for sneakers runs deep. I’m surprised you didn’t formulate your own shoe yet.

    ALLEN:  Yeah man, shoes have been a long time love. There’s some ideas brewing but footwear is a different obstacle, especially with an original design. Shoes really have to be functional while having the looks, on my architectural quest it surely will be conquered. One way or another.

     

    FRENDY:  When did you become passionate about clothes?

    ALLEN:  I am passionate about the style aspect more or so. We all need clothes but no one needs clothes as there is a surplus within this hyper consumption era. However, we all need identity, which is not so easily defined.

    FRENDY:  Why did you choose to move to New York after college instead of another booming city like Los Angeles or Miami?

    ALLEN:  That’s where my opportunity was, I needed to have something that was there for me you, you know. I had interned with the Gild in London a year beforehand so I imagined I could probably get my first job with their team in NYC. Wishful thinking. It was also a realistic commute for me--a four hour bus ride home when needed was more than doable.

    FRENDY:  What inspired you to construct your first garment while interning? What was the piece made?

    ALLEN: I was following Maestro Knows at the time. I saw he was going to be at Reed Space later that evening so after my internship, I walked from SoHo to LES to go see what was going on--I was super inspired by his vlog at the time. So using the map on my phone I found my way to the block. It was Allen st. I think because of the name I decided to pay a little more attention and LES at that time was still a true feeling neighborhood. I walked into a tailor on that street which is now long gone and was like “I have an idea,” a few weeks later I ended up with that velvet polo. This piece would be the foundation of òL.

    FRENDY: How did HYPEBEAST find out about it?

    ALLEN:  I was wearing it during Fashion Night Out. When I was just starting to venture into the city I was getting stopped a lot for street styles so I thought this was just another one of those situations. He took a photo and handed me a card, already jaded by having my photo taken I posed and held the card not even looking at it once. My girl at the time took it and flipped it over, I was already busy focused on something else. She taps me and flips over the card. It says HYPEBEAST. I flipped out and tried to find the photographer, he was long gone in the huge crowd. HYPEBEAST has been a favorite for a while so it was a wow moment for me.

    FRENDY:  What is the meaning behind òL?

    ALLEN: òL means òutside Lines. The idea of different, as humans we’re all unique so I started with that as a basis in developing ideas.

    FRENDY:  Out of the three collections, which one was your favorite to create?

    ALLEN:  They are all individual ideas I had at a period of time in life, so i'm not sure I can have a favorite.  However, ‘Silverspoon’ was a really dope point in my life.  We shot the lookbook in London and had a presentation for NYFWM, called it the Wolf of Men’s Week, it was at Leonardo Dicaprio’s former penthouse. It was a vibe.

     

    FRENDY:  I know how difficult it can be to sustain a clothing line. Do you have a side hustle to fund production cost, marketing, etc. ?

    ALLEN: I am able to do a few projects for some other creatives from time that help to fund the dream and I sell my kicks when times are really low *Laughs*.

    FRENDY:  How well are your friends and family receiving your line back home?

    ALLEN: I think they are receiving it well, my friends have been a big supporting factor since day one. While with my family is a bit of an interesting dynamic. As long as I am able to take care of myself they are fine with that.

    FRENDY:  For the most part, you’re always rocking an òL piece. Are there any other fashion brands out right now that are worth your attention?

    ALLEN: òL was made in purpose of pieces I want to wear more than anything so try to stay òL down. I know that if I can do anything it’s that. There’s so many brands to chose from at this point so I just stick with brands that my friends run. I have been able to meet some really dope designers globally so I try to start there when I look for things outside of òL.

    FRENDY:  If you were able to collaborate with an up and coming brand, which would it be?

    ALLEN: what would you consider an up and coming brand?

    FRENDY:  I think this is the first time ever my interviewee responded back to me with a question. I like that *Laughs*. What I meant by an up and coming brand is one that hasn’t received any notoriety from any major blogs or celebrities. But in the trendy downtown scene, it’s poppin’.

    ALLEN:  For New York, I would have to say the homie Ev or Death To Tennis.

    FRENDY:  How do you want your customers to feel wearing your line?

    ALLEN:  I want them to feel like they’ve just been hit by the HòLy Ghost. Feel good, confident. Vitalized. It feels good when you just got something new that you really like. I want them to feel this way every time they wear anything òL.

     

    FRENDY:  Any plans of moving back to your hometown?

    ALLEN:  Home will always be home but I am not sure how conducive that will be for me as everything is produced in NYC. I do make sure to spend more time out there these days though.

  • Not Your Average Hypebeast

    Those who follow Aaron on Instagram are fully aware of his lavish lifestyle and ultimate group of close friends, which consists of Levi, Kai and the forever seemingly-annoyed Angelo Nitsopoulos. Although much is known of Aaron, whom I previously featured on the blog, and the Bent Lee bros, Nits is somewhat of the odd man out.

    With a quick scroll down his gram, one can instantly get a sense of Ang’s expensive taste but there has to be more to him right?  Other than the quick cameos on his clique’s hilarious insta stories and vlogs, not much is revealed about the sporty Toronto, Ontario native. Well, that’s why I’m here.

    Let’s take a look into the real world of Angelo and find out about his immense love for hockey, fledgling business, spending habits and why he looks so damn pissed all the time.   Peep my exclusive interview with him below:

    FRENDY:  I must say it’s quite incredible to witness how close you are with Aaron and the gang.  Nowadays, not many can proclaim they are tight with even a handful of people.  How did you meet them?

    ANG:  *Laughs* Yeah its pretty wild that three Asians and a Greek/Macedonian can hang out daily. So, I met the guys during the winter of 2014.  As I sat in my basement watching hockey while simultaneously creeping on Instagram, I saw a 5’3 140Lbs Aaron doing stick handling moves on the ice pretending he was Sidney Crosby. I thought to myself ok that's different, but then started to take in all the gear he had and wondered who he actually was. At the time, Levi and Aaron had a men's hockey team called The Trillers and a buddy of mine told me I should go play with them. So I hit up Levi and said if you ever need players let me know. A week later I was playing my first game with them. I walked into the dressing room, turned to my left and saw the “5’3” kid who said to me, “ Here sit here Angelo”. As if I had never been in a hockey dressing room in my life. Levi was sitting across from me, looking like a pro MMA fighter flooded with tats (I was a bit intimidated).

    My first game with them was amazing!  I scored three goals.  After that Aaron was like ok “you can play with us,” like it was some sort of accomplishment for me. As we were changing in the locker room I hear someone on the team say to Aaron, “YOU GOT BALMAINS IN THAT HOCKEY BAG BRO ” and that’s what got me thinking ok I need to learn about what the hell they are doing/ talking about because I had no idea what any of these brand names were back then.  I saw Aarons Instagram and figured to myself that “Balmains” must be what he wears.

    So throughout our hockey team that's how myself Aaron and Levi hung out. Kai never played hockey at all so he was never around the rink unless he was pretending to coach us. I would always hear stories about him though. I met Kai on our (Aaron, Levi, Kai) first trip to NYC and boy what a story/trip that was.  That's when my passion for fashion really began and I instantly switched my look. Happy I met them though, I never had any siblings so they taught me a lot about things. When I was 18-19 they took me on some crazy experiences that most kids don't get to do, so they are kind of like older brothers in a way for the most part.

    FRENDY:  That’s a pretty epic story. I assumed you knew them for way longer than 3 years.  What was your “look” before your fashion awakening?

    ANG:  Yeah, I mean friendship grows pretty quick when you hang out as often as we do. OMG, my look I don't even want to talk about *Laughs*. To be honest I didn't even have a look. I guess I could say it was the “hockey style.” Long hair, sperry boat shoes, golf shorts and a V-neck t-shirt, which makes me cringe thinking about it. I didn't even really take fashion seriously; I would wear sweatpants every day, whatever shirt I found in my room and just went about my day. I was too focused on my hockey career at the time and didn't care how I dressed outside the rink. I knew what Yeezys were and what not but never had a clue on how to get them or even knew they were so limited. But to say the least, my look was terrible *Laughs*.

    Looking back at what I wore then compared to now is like a two year old messing up all his toys when he is pissed off.  That's the best way to look at it. Its funny thinking back at it, I would get so excited to wear these pants that don’t even fit right or shoes that don’t even go with the fit and thinking “wow this is sick,” when it's really god awful.

    FRENDY:  Aw man, I needed that good laugh. Do you remember your very first fire fit?

    ANG:  I do remember it actually, but I wouldn't say it was fire. I would say my first favorite fire fit is my Supreme patchwork outfit with my Red Octobers *Laughs*. I was so happy when I got the sweat suit in the mail. Most will say it's ugly but half the world tried to buy it and failed miserably.  That Aside, it really is a crazy piece. The hoodie and pants are both hand-made with different patches. Most don't understand that, they just see a “grandma-like table cloth” because they don't understand it. The Red Octobers were worn just so I could be over the top.  Shout out to Mike at 'On The Arm' in Vegas who plugged me with it too. My favorite thing is wearing either full tracksuits or full sweatsuits as you can probably tell.  I don't really care what people think, I don't buy clothes for people I buy them for me.

    FRENDY:  Going back to what you stated earlier, the great impression you left on Aaron due to your hockey playing skills eventually paved the way to a solid brotherhood.  How long have you been playing Hockey? Was it your goal to turn pro growing up?

    ANG: *Laughs* Aaron was impressed to say the least, I guess most people on Instagram don't follow me for hockey, I never post anything related to it. I started skating at around three years old and started playing hockey at four, which is really young. I've played for 17 years and counting and won't ever stop playing for fun. It’s every kids dream and goal to play in the NHL.  I went to PEAC, which was a private hockey school. All we did was skate, train four hours a day and screw around in class. I kid you not, a teacher quit because we “stressed her out” too much.

    Our team was unstoppable, our first line was, Ho Sang, Mcdavid, Subbans and so many more it was hilarious.  We didn't lose all year and wasn't allowed in tournaments. I was talented but as I got older I slowly lost interest in the game and at 18 decided to stop playing competitively. I will say though I don't regret any of it, hockey taught me a lot about certain things in life.  Most of my best friends play in the NHL so it's cool to see them succeed and because of that I still get to be apart of the game somehow.

    Once you play hockey and are born into the hockey world you never really get away from it. Hockey gets my mind off things when I can't find a piece of clothing that I want *Laughs*. I never would have thought when I was 15 that at 19 I would be addicted to fashion. Thank the guys for that one.

    FRENDY:  Here comes the million-dollar question: when you’re not copping the finest threads or slithering on the ice, what is it that you do for a living to remain so fresh?

    ANG:  *Laughs* Yeah the million-dollar question that people are soooooo curious to know. Never really understood why people have to ask that nonstop. From now on I'm just going to say “yeah, I won the lottery in grade 6, kept it quiet though.” But yeah, myself, Aaron, Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavalier, Savas, and Simon (which are Tristan's close friends) own ProLocker together.

    FRENDY:  Can you tell me more about ProLocker? Aaron mentioned it during my sit down with him.

    ANG:  Of course, the easiest way I can map it out for you, without giving too many features away since we are launching very soon, is to say that it's a platform where we show what players use on and off the court/field/ice. Furthermore, we also provide info on where you can buy that exact equipment model around the world and different places to get it. That's the basis of it but there are loads of features besides that. I don't want to give too much away but we are excited for it. Check us out at Prolocker.com!

    FRENDY:  Sounds amazing, I'm sure you guys can’t wait to launch it. When will that happen?

    ANG:  Yeah we are really excited about it, in a perfect world we want to launch in the next month or so but we are all still fine-tuning the site. Plus we are gathering content prior to release but you can pre subscribe to the site now and follow us on Instagram ( @Prolocker ) to find out more.

    FRENDY:  I sincerely hope your followers will stop asking about what you do for a living now. Doubt it though. Since we got that out the way, let's explore your closet. What are some your favorite brands right now?

    ANG: Yeah, they probably won’t to be honest *laughs*. My favorite brands...well obviously you can tell I like Supreme. I also have other labels in my closet, people think I’m a hypebeast and just wear one particular brand.  I have a lot of Saint Laurent; their jackets I own are my favorite pieces. The detail on them and the way they look is crazy! I also have Haider Ackermann items that I like a lot, wouldn’t say its my favorite brand though. Bape obviously, I had a crazy Bape phase where I was just copping from them non stop but I kind of got sick of it. Stone Island is really comfy to wear; I got a bunch of that. I honestly have most brands you can think of. I just hate when people say “Nits you’re a hypebeast.”

    My take on that is at the end of the day most people in fashion, besides the people creating, are hypebeasts in their own special way. Just because I have a Supreme item that everyone wants I automatically get identified as a “hypebeast.”  It’s ok in my opinion if someone buys a piece of clothing that an artist or influencer may have worn first.  Unfortunately, most consider that as being “hype”.

    When you see someone wear a piece that you like, why not buy it for yourself? Nothing wrong with that at all but most people get mad and call it hype. I don't know, maybe they’re just jealous. Either they don't have access, have a plug to get an exclusive item or simply just can't afford it, which is totally understandable! I feel blessed that I am able to purchase things I like and have never been the type to bring someone else down because they can’t get something.  I'm not going to lie and pretend I don't like things that are hyped, there's a meaning behind it. Most of Supreme’s prized pieces have some sort of unique backstory, which is another reason why that brand is so strong.  At the end of the day, people call me a hypebeast but deep down inside they all wish they were able to cop what I got.

    FRENDY:  Which sneakers are in your constant rotation?

    ANG:  I wear APLs all the time. Shout out to Adam and Ryan! Jordans for sure, bred 1’s, royal 1’s, all the 1’s really.  I used to wear Yeezys a lot but its getting saturated in the market now. I try to stay away from wearing them all the time.  If I get a pair early, I’ll throw them on.  I really like my Nike Presto x Acronym kicks, they’re extremely comfy and their colorways.   Last but not least, my Air Max 98 ’s. I never really got in to the Adidas NMD wave.

    FRENDY:  Who do you feel has the best style in the entertainment industry right now?

    ANG:  A$AP Rocky.  I respect him because he barely wears what’s “in."  The guy literally flies to Japan to buy brands nobody knows about so you have to respect that.  He started so many trends it’s insane!  He is always ahead of the game and steps outside the box.

    FRENDY:  On one of your recent insta stories, I saw you were putting your followers on to alot of rising brands. How often are you researching for potential new gear?

    ANG: Yes I was, people don't understand that I’m young and got into this just a few years ago.  Most of them will say I am a “culture vulture” but I am the furthest thing from that. So for those reading just know I spend hours daily looking at what's up and coming in fashion. I will literally sit on my computer and log on to Japanese sites that aren’t even written in English and Google translate it to read articles on what's next. 

    If we want to talk about Supreme culture, I literally learned about each season, each piece and so on. Till this day I am researching meanings behind their pieces. So no, I did not just see Supreme and decided to hop on buying stuff for fun.  I put the effort into learning about it, which most do not do. That's what a culture vulture does, buys stuff to say they have it and not know anything about the brand’s ethos. I hate that. Daily, I am always looking for new stuff to get and new brands that people don’t know about. Aaron will always we call me and say, “let me guess researching?” I enjoy doing it.  It’s fun to learn about upcoming stuff and their origins.

    FRENDY:  Since your passion for fashion runs deep, did you ever think about fully diving into the industry with your own brand or investing in one that you really believe in?

    ANG:  No, probably not.  I am to busy with ProLocker and other stuff. I rather support brands by buying their clothes, never really thought about creating my own but who knows maybe I could do it.   I definitely put the time into researching about it.

    FRENDY:  You have the money, cars and clothes but is there a special lady out there you’re sharing it all with?

    ANG:  *Laughs* Well I definitely don't have it all.  There are way more important things in life than money, cars and clothes. In terms of special ladies, I am single but have a one on the radar. Once you get a girl, “you have to put her in designer,” as Future says. The guys always make fun of me though by always saying “Nits brings the tings to Fring’s”.

    FRENDY:  That’s hilarious.  Well I’m sure there are tons of tings who are willing kick it for a day...or couple of months.  Since you’re always in the latest gear, is it a requirement for them to have a sense of style or it doesn’t really matter?

    ANG:  * Laughs* Actually yes I if I were to date a girl I would want her to be into fashion like I am. She doesn't have to wear the latest stuff but definitely needs her own sense of style 100%. It’s always cool to have a girl that can relate to what you like. At the end of the day though it's not everything! But yes I would prefer it.

    FRENDY:  For sure, it’s all about being on the same frequency. Man, it was a pleasure having this conversation. Looking forward to see what you and the fellas will get into next.  One more thing I need to know before we end though, if you were stranded on a desert island what three things would you bring?

    ANG:  Likewise! If I were stranded on an island the three things I would bring is a boat to get off the island, food, and a laptop with 4G so I can stay up to date with gear.  Stay Woke!

  • The First Real Ye x Adidas

    Will the first real Kanye West x Adidas Originals sneakers please stand up?!  

    Apparently, we were all bamboozled by Hypebeast a few weeks ago when they showcased what was presumed to be the first "failed" version of the collaborative sneakers between Ye' and Adidas.  Luckily, The former Vice President of Marketing at Adidas went on instagram yesterday to air out the notorious lifestyle blog for presenting a photoshopped version of the kicks.  Furthermore, he went into the archives and displayed the authentic joint footwear!

    Check out the realness below:

  • Racks Is At It Again

    This week Supreme released it's first Fall/Winter 2015 instillation that had hypebeasts throughout the nation salivating!  Per usual, the line of rambuctious buyers waiting in front of the shop's New York location was monstrous due to the new releases.  

    Yesterday, the lovely Emily Oberg of Complex News went over to Supreme's SoHo hotspot to chat with it's die hard "fans" as they were patiently awaiting to splurge all of their allowance money on the latest gear (and crowbar).  Shout out to the homie Racks Hogan aka The Stylish Stoner for stealing the show (haha).

    Check out what went down below:

  • Hypebeast Speaks With Brittany Sky

    I’ve known Brittany Sky ever since she attended St. Johns University. It feels like yesterday when I saw the Queens raised princess for the very first time 5 or 6 years ago on BAPE's second floor. It was during an extremely busy work day filled with overly-enthused hypebeasts (no disrespect) but all the commotion seemingly came to an end when the captivating 'melanin monroe' entered my domain (haha).  I actually didn't have a chance to converse with Brittany at that particular moment simply because I was too busy ringing up customers--but her smile was surely memorable.

    To keep it clean, I don't precisely recollect how we became friends but it happened!  Anyways, I just wanted to emphasize that the multi-talented beauty is excelling in this male dominated industry.  Recently, notorious Lifestyle and Fashion blog Hypebeast sat down with Brittany to discuss her multitude of talents.

    Indulge in the inspiring clip below: