Sitting down with the creator of FinesseUK, Kenneth, 23, he was able to share how hard he works for his brand to make an impact. We were briefly able to get into his inspirations, the fashion trend he hopes to die, and how he’s gotten into styling for his runway shows.
When did you realize you had a thing for fashion?
From birth, my dad kept me well dressed. It’s kinda like a family tradition thing to be fly, you know? Dressed in the finest. They’re a lil bit more over the top than me but, with that it comes with a lot of money and stuff. Being in college, you don’t have a lot of money… so, I just thought maybe I should just come up with my own brand so I could stay fly.
What were you wearing and thinking was dope?
You know what’s funny? When I was younger I wore suits!
Yeah, I used to wear suits to school. I got into a news report article for like “best dressed”.
You wore suits everyday?
I wore suits once in a while, because like my grandfather is an ex-pimp. Like real a real pimp, like not like no fake— like real time, big time! My father wasn’t really a pimp, but he kinda like was in those footsteps. They always wore the finest silks, Stacy Adams, you name it! All types of minks and shit like that, so I was just used to seeing them do they thing. I wanted to follow in their footsteps, so I would wear suits. I would get cracked on and stuff, “why you wearing a suit to school!?”, but to me I thought it was dope, so I kept it going.
That was in high school?
Nah, that was in elementary. In middle school and high school, that’s when I started getting into fashion urban wise.
You was getting into Nike and Jordans?
Honestly, I never got into Jordans like that, my parents would buy it… but I was never crazy over that. I didn’t really think Jordans and Nike was the only way to be fly, you know?
What fashion trend do you hope to die?
Honestly I’m not feeling that Adidas with the Nike and Jordans… like, if you wearing Adidas joggers, sweatpants, and sweatsuits… stop wearing Nike and Jordans with that! Adidas got their own sneaker collection, to me thats just bama. I seen somebody wear a whole Adidas suit with Jordan’s on, like “c’mon bro”. Adidas is cheaper than Jordans, you feel me? So, get you some Adidas!
What fashion trend would you like to see make a comeback?
In the eighties, I felt like it was more so people who knew what they were doing with the fashion. They were wearing [clothes] like Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, you know? ‘Cause there was more money. Everybody was big on names and fabrics, stuff like that. The nineties was more so colors, they were mixing and matching Nautica, FUBU— they were doing a whole bunch of crazy stuff ‘cause they could get away with it.
So trend wise, what would you like to see?
More people in tune with fashion. Not just trying to wear stuff to get away with it.
You can’t go a day without….
Vacuuming my car.
You can’t leave home without…
It’s not a party if you don’t have…
Got my mind on my…
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m definitely inspired by A$AP Rocky, that’s one of my favorite artist as a whole in music and in fashion. I would explain myself as modern… I just like fly shit. I could be wearing something that looks crazy to somebody else or I could wear something everybody is cool with, I don’t know I just do me! I have to!
Have you ever styled anyone for an event? If not, would you look into styling people?
Yeah, I’ve styled multiple people; I styled for my own shows, that’s probably what people don’t know. I did fashion week twice, Rhode Island and Boston; I also do a lot of colleges. I’ve styled friends, I haven’t really styled any major artist yet. I have styled my cousin, he’s in a music group called “Love Parq”. I style them, they’re out in Philly. That was one of my big looks, they had a video shoot, so they flew me out to Atlanta to style them. I always enjoy styling them which is how I started my brand.
Who would you love to dress in Finesseuk?
Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti.
Party animal or homebody?
Reeboks or puma?
I’m a Puma fiend.
Adidas or Nike?
I love my uptowns, Nike.
When coming up with designs for Finesseuk, what is your creative process?
I travel, I go to certain cities that are popular. I like to watch the culture, I like to watch around me— what’s going on. What people like to wear, how they wear— whether its wrong or right. Instagram is a big one too, I try to follow back those who are in tune with the fashion. It could be a design that nobody knows, and I just might add my little twist from them. It could [also] be a designer that everybody does knows and I might take something.
Who/what are your inspirations for your designs?
Rick Owens is one of my biggest inspirations. For anybody that don’t know, Rick Owens is like a famous designer, this dude is like amazing! His shoes is like $1200, it’s like trophy once you get a pair. To flatter myself, I just got some Rick Owens; I just feel like that was an accomplishment. Alexander McQueen is another one— So, those two, my father, my grandfather, and A$AP Rocky.
Top three favorite brands?
Rick Owens, Alexander McQueen, and Y3.
Favorite songs out right now?
Benjibluebills featuring YG ADDIE- Heat Drawn
Lil Yatchy – Dats Cap
A$AP ANT- Acne Jeans
What is your favorite thing about having your own brand of clothing?
Giving my stuff to celebrities, getting a dope picture from them, getting feedback from them, seeing my stuff on the runway, or just like dressing myself! It’s dope!
What is your least favorite thing about having your own brand of clothing?
The hard work you put into it. I’m not gonna say I don’t like working hard for my brand. I love woking, but people don’t see that part. People only see— for instance— me stuntin’ on the Gram [Instagram]. People don’t understand that I’m marketing myself, so that I can make my brand cool. They don’t see anybody— the hard work they put into their work.
A lot of people don’t understand that there’s always a grind behind things. People don’t understand that you have to work for stuff, not everything can be handed to you.
Was it easy to launch Finesse UK?
Yeah, it was easy I was already a popular kid. Growing up I used to go to parties, me and my boys would go and turn those parties out. Then when I moved, I kinda was just real hungry to figure out what I’m going to do with myself. I would be tour with my cousin and I would just be with them. People would always ask “who are you?”, because I dressed so well and I figured I wanted to be about something. I just don’t want to be this fly kid, I just wanted to be a designer-stylist.
What skills do you find necessary to run a successful clothing line?
Having a clothing line is different from having a brand. People think you just slap logos on your shirt and that’s it, like nah. A brand is a person trying to market themselves. A clothing line, you gotta brand, market, promote, and then you gotta create; There’s different levels. When you have a clothing line, your main focus is your garments, it’s like real stuff and it’s expensive. You gotta know the difference between the two, do research. You gotta know what to do, how you gonna go about it, and have a plan.
You travel a lot, have you found any inspirations being outside of Springfield?
Hell yeah, I’m not from Springfield; I’m originally from Maryland, so it’s nothing to travel. My parents were in the military, so we always traveled. That’s what I learned from them, if you don’t travel, you just don’t broaden your mindset; You’re not open to more art. For me, traveling broadens my mind, like letting me see certain things, lifestyles, what I want, and don’t want to do. It’s even motivation, people be ballin’! They be having what you got and then some, it’s just a motivator like “I need to get on my shit!”.
I like steak and lobster! I like going to Ruth Chris [Steak House] in New York and locally Texas Roadhouse.
Do you find any inspiration here in Springfield?
I got people who inspire me, like Teka Jones. She’s lit, she’s like the prime example of not talking about it, but being about it. That’s what I’m strong about. I don’t wanna be bias to anybody and what it takes for them to be successful, but I see everybody. I see everything that goes on in the city, I see everybody’s attempts, I see everybody’s copy, I see everybody’s everything. I can’t take away from them, nor can I add to it, so all I could say is: as long as you trying and you really being about what you trying to do, I support it. You’re inspiring to me… but, if you’re just talking… honestly I’ma come off like how people look at me. It’s not that I’m cocky, it’s not that I don’t like anybody, it’s simple! If you not about what you’re talking about, I’m simply disconnecting myself. Simple as that.
I respect it.
Simple as that, as far as inspirations: Teka Jones is a inspiration to me. VawnDid TV, they’re twin brothers; they travel, they be touring with French [Montana] and Dave East. It’s just good to see people like them really progress and do their thing. My team is inspiring, they ain’t from here but they used to live here! My boy Corey, Kontro, and my brother Lavish! Lavish work hard for what he want, I seen him really hustle. He’s about to open up a store; he’s just doing big things.
Winter or fall?
Fall, it’s not that cold and I love layering.
Spring or summer?
I be fishing a lot. I like spring, because they [fish] be spawning. Tell Ant Beale I want all the smoke when it comes to fishing!
Should we be on a look out for anything new this spring/summer?
I’m coming out with some pants to go with all the shirts; It’s going to be a little bit more exclusive– some socks, and fitteds. We also going to Paris and the United Kingdom too!
Follow Kenneth on Instagram to keep up with more!