Behind the Brand: Igee Okafor
Igee Okafor is a digital content creator working in the menswear, and lifestyle industry. His instagram presence is the perfect combination of subtle elegance, sophistication, and inspiration, all wrapped up into one. We spent some time talking to Igee about the various aspects of building a presence online and what the term “influencer” means in today's day and age. As the head content creator of www.igeeokafor.com the Lifestyle blog, Igee has secured successful collaborations with some of the industry's most respected tastemakers, including MR PORTER, GQ, Netflix, Gap, and many more. Read on to learn how he got his start, his tips on staying organized + focused, editing for Instagram, and more.
Instasize: How did you get started in mens fashion?
Igee Okafor: I actually have the internet to thank for my start in men’s fashion. I got in through being a men’s style contributor for a couple of small fashion outlets. It’s so funny because at that time, I didn’t know that i wanted to be in fashion. I just knew I had an interest in sharing my thoughts in that department. Through contributing, I fell in love with the education aspect of it all on both sides: educating others, and educating myself through research.
My mother eventually forced me to start my own personal style blog in 2013, and I kept it up while also going to college, and interning at magazines like The Examiner, and Nylon. I decided I needed to start building my profile as a menswear content creator so, I started attending industry events through work, and using instagram as a promotional tool for the content on my website. Through both platforms, I was able to get connected with the GQ Insider program which was at its peak at the time. Since then, it has all been a working progress.
IS: What inspires your taste in fashion? and how would you describe it?
IO: I am a fan of the kind of elegance I saw when I watched old hollywood movies as a young boy. The poise, the grace, the minimalism of it all. I believe minimalism is something that has always resonated with me. Nothing too complicated. Clean, beautiful, clothes with great fit that are easy to style. I’m also really drawn to certain movements I see in modern fashion, and pop culture today. For me, it’s all about mixing the two in a way that respects each era’s origin.
IS: Do you work as an influencer full time or are you balancing multiple jobs?
IO: I decided to create digital content full time in the summer of 2017. Before that, I was working for magazines, and digital marketing agencies while also keeping up my self titled menswear site.
IS: What is a misconception about working as an influencer?
IO: I think a lot of people have this idea that we don’t do anything except take nice pictures specifically for Instagram. I don’t take offense to it anymore though because it’s still kind of a new career path that not a lot of people know about. Also, as content creators, bloggers, influencers or however we choose to identify, I believe most of us unintentionally glamorize the space.
We don’t share things like being on email all day, putting together pitch decks, being in meetings day in - day out, scheduling shoots, budgeting, editing, and so on. We only share the highlights of what we do. That’s a working progress in itself.
IS: Do you consider yourself an "influencer", if not, what is a better term to describe your work?
IO: Accepting the title, “influencer” is something I have struggled with for the last few years. On one side, I understand what it means in regards to why your followers engage so I accept it, and on the other hand, I think the word itself can be a bit pretentious, and overblown. It’s just such a general, and generic term you know? And it’s as if everyone gets looped into one category.
It’s like yes, you’re an influencer but what does that actually mean, and what do you actually do? Some of us who get looped into those categories are writers, producers, actors, creative directors, stylists etc. Sure, we have people that follow us who are influenced by our decisions, and actions, but it would be nice for those specific talents to be highlighted.
Let’s look at it like this: Beyonce is influential right? But her job title isn’t “influencer”. She’s a singer, actress, and entrepreneur before she is anything else. Doesn’t take away from her power, and influence and we all know the kind of influence she possesses on this earth. Same for iconic legends in our community like Diddy, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, and Kim Kardashian.
When people introduce themselves as influencers, I always urge them to go into detail about how they actually do that, and what it means for them. Being an influencer is not something you introduce yourself as, it’s something you just are doing what you do.
I see myself as a digital content creator working in the menswear, and lifestyle industry. With my job I am lucky enough to wear many hats. I’m an editor, I am a writer, I am a creative director, I am a stylist, and more. I come up with visual/written ideas that could possibly aid a brand’s identity. Sure, there could be a better word that sums all of that up, but “content creator” does it currently.
IS: What are a few keys to staying focused, organized, and consistent?
IO: When it comes to staying focused, organized, and consistent, I understand it’s still a working progress for me.
I’m a very routine man, so scheduling works really well for me. I have to wake up at a certain time for things to fall into line. Otherwise, I am not able to get anything substantial done. I’m not sure that there’s a specific formula that works for everyone. I have friends who work better at night, and others later in the day.
When it comes to staying focused, I believe one just has to be disciplined enough to know what they want, why they have to achieve it, and why they have to do the things they have to in order to get to the destination. Once that is understood, and accepted, you’re ready to go.
Consistency is arises from a combination of routine, and discipline.
IS: What are your top 3 tips when it comes to creating and posting content to Instagram?
IO: My three top tips for creating, and posting content on instagram:
- Make sure that image/video conveys a message that your audience will find useful.
- Make sure the image/video itself is as high quality, and as authentic to you as possible.
- Don’t be lazy about your copy. Say something significant.
IS: What has been one of your favorite aspects of being an influencer?
IO: Working in this industry for the short time that I have, I have to say without its people, the experiences wouldn’t mean anything. I’ve gotten to learn, and grow with some incredibly talented individuals ranging from designers, to musicians, to marketing, and PR. There are so many moving parts that go into creating what the masses are able to consume, and being lucky enough to be able to continuously learn about that through people is my favorite aspect.
IS: Do you have any editing tips, hacks, or apps you live by?
IO: My style of editing changes every now, and then. I believe for me, things started off a bit crisp, and clean. Traditional editing which comprised of basic color correction, and airbrushing. Now, I like to mimic the old hollywood style of photography: an influence I have carried with me since I was a young boy. I like the black and whites, low highlights, and whites. I like a lot of grain as well. I use Lightroom to edit my images. There’s an app called Unfold for instagram layouts which I also really enjoy!
IS: What message are you trying to convey to your followers through your content?
IO: I started www.igeeokafor.com five years ago as a way to educate people on my perspective on menswear. It was supposed to serve as a form of empowerment for men getting to tackle subjects society didn’t deem “manly” enough to tackle. That focus hasn’t changed. The menswear/lifestyle industry is always changing, and I put it upon myself to continue to educate as it evolves. For me, it’s all about men knowing that there are a variety of options that exist to help make their day to day a bit easier.
IS: What is a piece of advice you would give to someone looking to dive into men's fashion online?
IO: It really depends on what part of men’s fashion they were looking to get into. There are so many things that go into making its various departments very successful, but here’s something that anyone can run with: Your instincts, and your perspectives are all you have. In this industry, having a strong point of view pays off in the long run. Pay attention to it. Be educated, be humble, and work hard.
Igee Okafor Social Contacts
- Website: igeeokafor.com
- Instagram: @igeeokafor
- Facebook: igeeokafor
- Twitter: IgeeOkafor
- Tumblr: igeeokafor