Style Enthusiast and Blogger Igee Okafor, of igeeokafor.com, gives us an inside scoop into his world of lifestyle blogging. Okafor is prestigiously known for his influence in Men’s fashion blogging and impeccable photographs.
What inspired you to start blogging about your life?
I like to think I share my perspective on a few of my interests. Mainly menswear, lifestyle, and overall culture. I started following blogs around my sophomore year in high school. It was around the time where everyone was sort of figuring out who they were and what parts of them could be extended. I found fashion to be very magical and relevant to everyday life. I also found that in the blogging place, there were only a few people who looked like me. However, it still didn’t prompt me to get into the space. I simply admired it.
I knew I wanted to be a part of fashion. Whether I was a stylist, model, choreographer, I just wanted to contribute to this interest that seemed to consume most of my attention. All my life, I have been very inspired by art and I felt the best way I could contribute to that was performing at some level and creative writing. I really enjoyed creative writing – the storytelling and opinion giving aspect of it. Somehow, that transitioned into doing it for menswear. I would always post pictures of my outfits on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram giving my opinion on why I chose to wear what I was wearing. Somehow, it happened to catch the attention of a Canadian blogger who asked me to edit the men’s style section of her website. I want to say this was in 2011 or 2012. I did that for a bit, and then my mother who doesn’t typically enjoy me working for other people because of her entrepreneurial spirit challenged me to go off on my own with a blog. She gave me a deadline and I met it. As they say, everything else is history.
What are you well known for in the blogging industry?
Perhaps, my personal style. It seems to receive the most engagement.
What are your accomplishments? And what opportunities did these accomplishments bring?
I have been lucky and blessed enough to garner a wide variety of people who enjoy and relate to what I do. The biggest accomplishment has to be getting to a place where I can continuously partner with various people to teach in a way that is well received and useful to the way people live their daily lives. Everything that surrounds it inclusive of brand partnerships and overall creative endeavors hails from that source.
What are the hardships of blogging?
Just like any other business, blogging comes with certain challenges. For some like myself at least, for now, it’s a one-man show. It’s one person answering emails, booking photographers, pitch decks to send to brands, attending/hosting events, traveling, writing articles, producing shoots, editing, copywriting, styling, and so on. In an industry where it’s important to consistently engage an audience to aid heightening an extensive work platform with brands you have to cater to, the hardship is exhausting, and the possibility of a creative burnout. It’s not abnormal for business owners. It’s just important to learn how to minimize that stress and risk.
So Igee, What keeps you motivated?
My passion for conversation and creative expression, the life I ideally see for myself, my support system, and other creatives who inspire me to push harder.
What do your family and friends think about you blogging?
They’re all entirely supportive. As I mentioned earlier, my mother really is the one to thank for all of this. I’ll forever be grateful to her!
How did your brand expand?
In a nutshell, somehow, I went from writing articles and creating content on my site in my college dorm to working with global brands like GQ, and MR PORTER to do the same thing. When I started off, I did not think it would turn into anything. I just wanted to write and share experiences I deemed interesting. I was experimenting and sort of dabbling in everything and today, I have a better idea of who I am and what kind of man I aspire to be. I know my audience and I do my best to cater to their wants while also staying true to myself regardless of what’s trending or what people think I should be doing.
What are your go-to pieces for the winter?
A cozy and well-fitted turtleneck, a well-tailored suit, a parka jacket, a wool coat with wide lapels, Chelsea boots, eyewear, and scarves.
Were you always this interested in photography and mass media as a child?
To an extent. I was always interested in visuals. I knew I had a certain taste level with a keen attention to detail. It showed in the movies I was gravitated to, the colors I used in my coloring books, the way I perceived and wanted people to look. Taking up photography at a young age was an extension of showing people how I saw the world.
Your favorite blog post that you have done so far?
I put the same energy into all of my blog posts. That’s a difficult one. Haha!
Can you recall your favorite photoshoot?
I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the best people for as long as I have been blogging, and I am happy to say, I have had nothing but the most fabulous times on set. This year, I was able to partner with luxury watch brand, Carl F. Bucherer, on a holiday campaign and the entire experience was nothing short of phenomenal. I got the opportunity to work with Gabrielle Donatti, a really talented cello player. I had never worked with another artist in that way. The creative director, Yiannis Papadopoulos did a fantastic job telling my story with emphasis on my more performance art side which I do not typically get to show often.
The entire production was creatively well thought out. I mean, we did work on it for months. The crew was so kind, personable and loving. It felt like I was part of a family and that’s how I like to feel when I partner with brands. They made it a point for me to enjoy every aspect of the newfound relationship versus having a meeting, doing the job and going about my day.
How has your life been after college?
A series of surprising events. So much unexpected activity has transpired since then. For example, I quit working in digital marketing two months into graduating to make a full-time business out of my passion. I am learning how to do things the adult way – so quickly in a way. Is it challenging? Absolutely! In more ways than one, but I am having a wonderful time.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A global lifestyle brand modeled after what the likes of Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani, Victoria Beckham have managed to do so gracefully.
Advice for your readers and other men/women that want to pursue blogging?
To read my article, “Eleven Lessons Content Creation Has Taught Me: An Open Letter To Young Creatives