Cultured in Culture is a short series I started last year when I visited Freetown, Sierra Leone. In all honesty, it was meant to be a one-off piece that turned into a mini-series. I would encourage you to catch up on the last two here and here.
As a stylist, I have always tried to infuse different cultures into how I put an outfit together. Cultured in Culture also borrows heavily from places and the people in those places. I mean, culture is mostly about people right?
For someone who was born into one culture and partly raised in another, I have always been intrigued by other people’s way of life. I remember watching action movies based on or set in Thailand such as Kickboxer, Above the law, Police story and much more like them. I can unequivocally say now that I had no business watching those movies at that age. More recent movies such as Bangkok dangerous and the cult-classic Ong-Bak all let my imagination run wild.
And just like that, 2017 is gone. I can still remember vividly every key moment of my work on Cuts for Him like it just happened. From my trips to the middle east to having a key meeting with one of my favorite grooming brand, Elemis. The sketches I make before a shoot, to waiting for the golden hour to shoot the perfect pictures. Oh, the memories. 2017 was a great year for Cuts for Him. I may need a couple of months to properly label 2017 but I know for sure that it was a key year in the life of Cuts for Him. A year of creative expansion and opened opportunities. Opportunities to work with bigger brands and better creatives.
To help me articulate, here are photos of key work and places I went to in 2017:
The above shot was taken for a piece I did on identity. The piece itself is called Cultured in Culture and can be found here if you fancy reading it. One of my most personal pieces.
Like the first photo, this one just above is a personal one. In fact, it started the Cultured in Culture series. This series looks at being born in one culture but growing up in another. The crossroads these cultures brought into my life. Have a read here.
I am not even going to lie, I was a bit apprehensive the minute I got off BA0109 from London to Dubai last week Thursday. I would like to think of myself as an experienced traveller and have heard many a story about Dubai. Most of the stories have been positive and have been how the Emiratis have managed to turn a piece of dry land into an oasis of wealth and prosperity, albeit with diminishing oil reserves. However, I have also heard stories from cultural sensitive issues such as how to behave in public, to what may sound ridiculous to the average westerner which I won’t go into. Sometimes it’s just a little bit hard to know what is fact and what is Chinese whispers.
It was about 35 degrees Celsius on a Thursday afternoon when the vehicle I was travelling in pulled up to a gate in Aberdeen, West of Freetown. I chuckled and said to my drive “we don reach sef?”, which translates as “are we here already”. Either I was too busy on my laptop to notice the drove from IMAT (where I was stayed for my holiday), or the journey was much shorter than I anticipated.
By the time the gatekeeper opened the gate to let us in, I was already out of the vehicle and trying to figure out where the reception area was. I absolutely dislike sitting in a vehicle waiting for gates to be opened, drivers to park properly or even being held up in the Freetown traffic. In fact I do not like to be chauffeured around but as someone who cannot drive, I have very little choice in the matter. As a result, I try to spend as little time as possible in any vehicle. The minute I sense there could be a slight hold up, I am out of the vehicle walking towards my destination.