There is a new fashion brand spurring from within the soul of West Africa. It is approaching the subject of what we wear with versatility, merging the worlds of kids and adults with the range of products it produces. Jolly Finger is its name, and its products include classic, exotic, vintage, arty, and streetwear being produced in the shape of shoes, sneakers, bucket hats, cooling breathable masks, designer gloves, tote bags, special limited edition of Jolly Finger bags and full body clothing that come in summer/winter collections. David Odiah Jr. is the CEO of this brand, and we speak to him about his creation, its purpose and the hopes and aspirations he has for it.
Let’s just talk about everything from the start with Jolly Finger; what’s the mission with the fashion brand. What do you hope to achieve from it?
My mission is to bring my collections, my fashion brand and every other idea I have into substance in reality and for the world, after seeing them, to marvel to see that we Africans are just around the corner with the most amazing ideas.
So, basically Jolly Finger will be doing more partnership and collaboration, meet and work with other brands in the world of art and fashion. There’s a new collaboration series dropping soon from “Jolly and Jiggy”. “Jolly and Jiggy” is a brand owned in partnership with Sylvester Kobi Yeboah Ntorinksnsah, the founder of Medallions Classics Ghana. There will be more collaborations in the nearest future.
Okay. So if I’m getting you right, you hope to collaborate more with brands through ypur own brand and showcase your work to the people within and outside the continent. For the world to see that African fashion is still alive…
Yes. We could put it that way.
Okay then, let’s talk about the long term goals. What are the things you hope to achieve in the next couple of years with the fashion brand, Jolly Finger?
Asides greatness. Jolly Finger would be making a lot of wears both for kids and adults. Couple of pants, shorts, jeans – that sort of thing. I’m looking up to making sneakers as well in the near future. There will be lots of collaborations coming on and all that.
So, with the brand you’re going to be collaborating with artists right? African artists?
Yes. African artists in terms of merchandising. I’d be collaborating with a lot of artists in terms of merchandising and all. Some artist somewhere might want to come up with his merchandise and I think Jolly Finger is ready for these sort of partnerships. Most artists love to collaborate on merchandise. And I see major artists in the world collaborating with brands. I think it’s high time we come up with things like that here and support our own artists.
The next question I want to ask is about yourself as a person. You have started this brand and I know you want it to be successful. But then, as a person what connects you to passion? What drives you to want to create something that would be lasting in the fashion industry?
I like this question a lot. People don’t know this but in my upbringing there has always been fashion in the mix. My late dad influenced me a lot. He started out as a fashion designer before he got his job with the NPF. Growing up I had a connection to him. I’m not surprised now that I want to be a fashion designer now. I want to be successful at it and at being a Creative Director.
Later on in my life I found myself getting close to some artists and working with them. And they give positive remarks about my work. At a point I started getting why-don’t-you-style-mes. My styling journey kick started from then on. I was now styling well-known artists, emerging artists… and I observed my growth at every stage. These days I keep saying to myself
‘come on! How didn’t you see this in yourself?’
I began to meet tailors around to help make organic clothes for artists. As I’m growing, I began to see a lot of brightness in it. And I was like let me focus on this.
Although, no doubt, the clothing line industry has the widest range of customers and all people on the planet wear cloth – different designs, quality texture, style and all that – but you know I just strongly believe that Jollyfinger will find its place in the world.
This is interesting and it leads me right to my next question. You’ve just said that the different people wear different fashion products in Africa. Now, about your brand, what do you think it is going to represent? Who are the people that you think would be wearing Jolly Finger? How do you think you’d be able to reach out to those kinds of people?
Initially, I’ve always wanted to only reach out to people in terms of merchandising. I always want to create things that people can relate to. I want it to be a finger print thing. Where you have some signs that everyone, even kids can relate to.
I will be making a lot of outfits for kids. And the one of one style I was talking about as well.
When it comes to styling, I learnt how to create a Mood board. If you have to create a mood board, you have to have a theme. A mood board is always like prompting you to think out of your own box. You create inspiration. It can be anything. It can be your laptop. It can be a thing with animals. So, working on a mood board would make me stand out in terms of my product, design wise, and I think that will naturally resonate with people who see the product and are attracted to it.
I get what you mean. In terms of specifics, is it safe to say that Jolly Finger is basically targeted at adults and kids?
Great! This next question is about the product itself. Earlier, you mentioned that you were looking into shirts, sneakers and things like that. Can you just give me a proper breakdown of the kind of things? A brief overview of what the product is going to be like in quality, and what makes it up in material?
Okay, nice. Quality wise, it would be amazing. I can bank on myself. You can also bank on me because I will be using a lot of mixture fabrics that have good texture.
With the shoes, I make a lot of shoes like half slippers and corporate shoes. In the near future I will be making suits and wedding gowns. For now, I will be targeting the Jiggy & street wear and a bit of corporate wear as well.
This sounds so cool and makes a lot of sense. I have one final question for you and this is it; in fashion or generally in life, what matters to you the most and why?
I’d say family. I was born and brought up in a family of six. I grew up in Ikoyi, Obalende police barracks. I’ve seen a lot of things. I have seen a lot of families fall apart, which is very sad. I have I’ve learnt that no matter what, you stick together. This is why family is one thing that is very important to me, after which comes Loyalty.