James Ikechukwu Esomugha, popularly known as Jim Iyke is a veteran in the Nigerian film industry having starred alongside popular leading ladies like Omotola Ekeinde and Genevieve Nnaji and created the blueprint for the Nollywood actors we see today.
As much as he is known for his acting, Jim Iyke has carved out a niche as one of the most stylish actors in Nollywood thanks to his bold sense of style. From wearing unique suits to his casual looks and signature shades, Jim Iyke knows how to put together a look.
Pulse sat down with Jim to discuss what influences his personal style and get his opinion on the direction menswear is moving in worldwide. You wont believe what he had to say.
Take a look below!
Describe your personal style and what influences your personal style
One’s style should be comfortable, it should be independent and it should totally announce who you are anywhere in the world. I think everything in life is what is around me, I try to wake up in the morning imbued with so much energy.
I draw my influence from everything, it could be what my niece is wearing, or what my sisters are wearing. I have six sisters and they are very fashionable so I can always something to draw from them.
I am an observer, I can go out there and there is a kid I saw once, I saw this guy who caught my attention and I asked my driver to pull over because he caught my attention. I’m a stylist and used to run one of the biggest boutiques in Abuja, I have seen all kinds of men walk in there with a $10,000 to $30,000 budget trying to shop and I look at them – forgive me for saying this – I constantly offload stuffs I can’t sell in the shop for them. I’ll tell you what style is, style is who it is to create things for yourself just because you can, nothing more to it.
So, back to this kid I saw on the road, he wore a shirt a certain way, and it looked exceptionally different, the entire ensemble couldn’t have been more than $50 and I asked him what’s your name and after getting over meeting me, I told him he dresses really nice. I told him, I’ve seen you twice and you dress really nice, so here’s what we are going to do, I rock it once and let it go, so every couple of months, stop by my house and somebody will have something for you and that’s how I became his unofficial wardrobe guy.
Tell us the story behind that infamous AMVCA outfit…
I wore shorts to the award ceremony and was castigated but here’s the story. I drew it, called a designer and actually flew this designer to Ghana because I was in Ghana then shooting Jim Iyke Unscripted.
I could see the disbelief in his eyes, so I told him to make pants and called another designer to make a pair summer shorts and at the award day, he came with a pant but I switched to shorts and he cut himself loose from me and told me not to put his name on the design.
I told him that ‘my passion and fashion is about my mindset, if you are not brave about it, if I am not provocative, if I’m not pushing the label, whoever sees what you did on a status quo or what is politically correct or fashionably correct or trending, it was designed by man, so here I am setting my own pace and style and you have a problem with it, you have been lied to my brother and it’s a sad lie.’
Who says in a climate that is doing 30 degrees and above I can’t wear shorts with a double breasted jacket, so I did it and everything went the way it went.
Two months later, Essence magazine voted Kanye, myself and Pharrell Williams as best dressed men on the red carpet and everybody said yeah, we said it, he was just ahead of his time and I said, no. Would you believe that this designer came back urging me to create a line with him? I simply gave him a double finger.
Tell us some of your favourite designers
I think nobody makes brooks shoes and gentlemen shoes like Tom Ford and I own a collection of them. I think I own a whole collection of Christian Louboutin shoes too. I think another person that totally different is Virgil Abloh from Off White. He is capturing the essence of hip-hop, stylish men/avant-garde culture really superbly. However, Kanye is losing it right now.
When Kanye came out, we had such high hopes and I was thinking by now, Kanye should be creating stuff that is seemingly impossible, I don’t know what happened but like they said, maybe, you need to go and finds a black wife to re-establish his creativity.
Name three fashion items you can’t live without
Obviously your boxers. Your business has to be always well packed. I make it a point of duty to always do that, I have gotten very rude comments when I wear certain pants and my business is everywhere, I resent that but I have found a perfect boxers for every occasion.
Time is the second one. I am very particular about time so wrist watch must be on point, Hublot is good for me or any designer you find appropriate to tell accurate time.
Finally, shades. I am never without shades because I take in moods, aura, and energy with my shades on. I read people and know whether to be passionate or dismissive and that can only happen with my shades on and without anyone noticing that I was studying the mood and energy around me.
Do you prefer the modern or traditional look and why?
Traditional. I am comfortable when I wear traditional clothes, your body breathes and it’s so cool and casual smart and it can be worn with a wide range of accessories.
When I rock my traditional look, I am comfortable but when I do the continental look, I just do them because of the constant change, variation and job.
Name three things a man should always be in terms of fashion
Confidence, if you lack confidence or self-esteem lacks the opportunity to look good but the confidence and power to walk into a room to hold your head high bring a lot of promise and self-respect.
The second thing a man should always be is a dreamer. A man should always have a dream, a dreamless man is a not a man. A man should never dream small, you should always dream big, at 72, my dad still dreams big at his age, so a man must just dream.
Thirdly, a man should always workout. Trust me, it’s vehicle because, with all your dreams, you need a vehicle to move you from point A to B to keep you going. Your body is a temple and workout is a fashion accessory that your body needs to look good and for you to be confident in what you wear. You need to workout and when you get into those shirts and suits, it won’t look ill-fitted or make you look like one of those Michelin commercials.