OriginalFani is a staple to Atlanta culture. Whether it's gear collaborations, household items, or lending a helping hand styling someone's wardrobe, he keeps his hand in the mix of it all. We sat down with him to discuss what got him into fashion, how he has used Atlanta as a tool, and much more. Check it out below.
I don't believe you are a native to ATL but what brought you here and how has the city helped you progress?
I moved here from Chicago because my mom got a job teaching art history at Spelman. Atlanta is #1 in the hip hop industry. I have been able to navigate the city and make lasting relationships through collaborating with multiple artists.
Was there a certain brand or thing that introduced you to being fashion forward as far as style is concerned? And around what age did you start to form your style as it is today?
The first brand that really caught my eye was Ecko, LRG, Stussy, and Zoo York. I really started getting into brands and stuff around 15. Listening to Lupe Fiasco really put me up on other brands that weren't available to me at the time which pushed me towards the internet; Mastermind, Nike SB dunks, Adidas, Neighborhood and Bape. The whole idea of Japanese streetwear was super appealing to me, which I think had the biggest impact on my style today.
Let's talk styling Rae Sremmurd and is there anyone else that you've had the opportunity to do work for that people may not know.
I started styling my friend Jace of Retro Sushi for a couple shows and stuff, then later Two9, building a style for Curtis Williams. After they got signed to Mike Will, I got an opportunity to style him for a couple videos then later Rae Sremmurd in their early stages. Most recently I've had the opportunity to work with 24hrs and Kodie Shane and a few videos and album artwork.
Jumping topics, I would consider you to be a founding member of Two9. You guys came up as kids and now everyone is grown and respectively doing their own things, nonetheless still a collective and family. How have things changed now that you guys are older and in different headspaces than you were, let's say, 5 years ago?
I think everyone has just matured. The music industry has definitely changed a lot and moves at a much faster pace. I'm just glad to have had the opportunity to work with such an influential force in the history of Atlanta's culture. Experience has been the best teacher and the things we accomplished inspired me to be where I am today.
How important has traveling been to your career?
Traveling is very important. Again with both Two9 and Rae Sremmurd/Ear Drummers, I've had the opportunity to travel to so many different places and spread my brand which is essential to success in the world of fashion.
Relationships. You're big on collaboration, how important is it for you to have a genuine relationship with a person whom you collaborate with?
I think brands and people work differently. Every relationship is different the same way every deal is. But good business is definitely key in progression in any industry. Heavy collaboration is something I've picked up from a lot of my favorite brands. It is said that you will have to end up collaborating to win in the world of fashion any way you look at it, you most technically can't do everything by yourself.
What comes to mind when you hear these two names. Erik Brunetti & Jun Takahashi
When I hear those two names I think history, which is so important to know. I get that from my moms of course but it's just like, do your research, there are messages and concepts behind brands that make them more than a t-shirt.
Usually when you shop at Maniere, what brands or pieces are you usually picking up?
Human Made, Cav Empt, Neighborhood, Adidas, Carrots.
To conclude, let's talk the future for OriginalFani, the man and the brand. What's it looking like?
I plan to continue to add to my inventory. I have some major collaborations coming with some brands I used to wear as a kid. I'm working on an installation and a coffee table called Fani® as well before the year's end.