After four years of studying politics, economics, and law at SUNY Old Westbury, designer Akida White, made his first public appearance through a line of opulent men’s and women’s streetstyle brand, Jue Paris. The New York based brand reflects lavish clothing through an urban environment while incorporating sentimental values of dreams, family, and pride into each design and garment sold in its webstore.
Get a closer glimpse of Jue Paris and the boss in charge:
IAF: Where did the name Jue Paris emerge from?
Akida: My mother use to crotchet [and] she had a brand called PJ – she named her brand after me. So I named my brand after her, but I also added my father — My father’s name is Patrick and my mother’s name is Juliet — so I flipped the name Jue Pa, and it became Jue Paris.
IAF: Jue Paris connects the street wear with high fashion, does labels matter to you?
Akida: Not necessarily, I mean you would obviously like to keep a title with your brand so you can connect it to something.
IAF: When did you start JueParis?
Akida: Technically started in December 2013 when I was sitting in my living room. I came up with the name and the logo and then I started doing designs and writing my ideas down and then I finally put it out to the public June 1 2014.
IAF: What inspired you to start JueParis?
Akida: I was always into fashion. I always liked good clothes — obviously we’re from the islands so when your parents are older they don’t really care about clothes — clothes were a luxury to them back in the day. I grew up seeing clothes and saying I can do this with this or why didn’t they flip it [and] put this on the back and put this on the front – it would have been a better t-shirt. I always thought about it and then I finally, in my sophomore year of college, started my first clothing brand called (cash rules). It was getting a little bit too urban for me, especially with the designs and how I was doing things so I just stopped [and] revamped [it].
IAF: Is this a one man show ?
Akida: You can say it’s a one man show basically. I do the designs [and] branding, but I do actually have a stylist who is also my friend, his name is Pierre. He helps me along the way in terms of guiding to see how he can style it.
IAF: What sets you apart from other brands?
Akida: I think passion for the most part. I think the fact that I love my brand as much as I do sets me a part from a lot of people. You know some people do it for the money, the fame, the attention… I do it more because I really enjoy what I do and I like to see people react to it. Like the guy at the Starbucks line was like ‘that’s a dope sweater man.’ I was like yea I made it. I love that reaction.
IAF: What does feisty mean to you?
Akida: I like girls who stand up for themselves, their stature and the way they stand and what they’re wearing tells you she’s not to be messed with and that’s what I look at to be feisty.
IAF: What does it mean to be a boss?
Akida: The way that you set yourself a part from peers and competition.
IAF: How would you describe your hustle?
Akida: Getting no sleep, I grind. There’s sleepless night, there are times where I just can’t sleep, because I’m thinking about what I want to do next spring. I just look so far into the future. I can say I have a futuristic hustle. I look into long-term. I even think about the days where I can’t walk down the street without people saying that’s the guy that makes Jue Paris. I think about things so far ahead that’s what sets me a part from my competition and definitely defines my hustle.
IAF: Do you believe in putting yourself out there or letting your clothes speak for itself?
Akida: Well, I’m already “mixxy” unfortunately, because I went to a college that was fairly mixxy, so I do know a lot of people and people already know me. Lets say if I’m at a party or something I’m not really worried about people noticing me but if somebody has on my clothes and notices that, I’m perfectly fine with that.
IAF: Do you believe there is a lack of urban designers?
Akida: I believe they’re discouraged from it, because they feel as though they will end up in an urban market. All these high-end designers are usually Chinese, Asian, French, [and] Italian, they don’t usually push African-American designers. I don’t believe that technicality should stop you from creating your art.
IAF: What are some of the difficulties you faced building your brand?
Akida: I’m a business major so I know what it’s like to start a business, it’s the same thing: money, timing, the most difficult thing I go through is no being able to throw everything at you guys. I’m so excited when I make something on my computer, I just stare at it like I want to put it on Instagram right now and then I can’t because it’s all timing.
IAF: Who is this babe you introduced to us?
Akida: I never had a pet and I always wanted a dog, so I made my own.
IAF: What are your plans for Jue Paris?
Akida: Lau NYC had a collaboration and we may do that again, hoodies, bubble jackets, and a few more surprises.
IAF: What are you most proud?
Akida: Growth. Seeing it grow, I had a brand before, but it didn’t grow like this.
IAF: Any regrets?
Akida: not necessarily, only thing is maybe “I should have done this, maybe “I should have done it sooner.”
IAF: What is something that you’d like to work on personally for Jue?
Akida: I want it to be a self-sustaining business.
IAF: There was a collaboration with Teyana Taylor, tell us about that.
Akida: It wasn’t a collaboration, she happen to be at Syrcuse and she thought our jersey was cute so we got her to take a picture with it.
IAF: In one word finish this sentence. JueParis stand for …
Akida: Dreams to me, it was just a dream to me. It is just all dreams, thinking of a dream [and] day dreaming.
IAF: Any advice?
Akida: Don’t let people discourage you. I chose the Eiffel Tower for that same reason, they were told the way it’s built and the winds in Paris, it cannot withstand the weather. It will fall within years and it’s still there.