STEVE NASH FOUNDATION SHOWDOWN, NYC

Fresh off his retirement from the NBA, Steve Nash kicked off the summer season with the Eighth edition of his annual Steve Nash Foundation Showdown, at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park in the Lower East Side of NYC. The Showdown, a friendly/competitive charity soccer exhibition between professional soccer players and NBA players with a knack for the game, was a stellar match driven by a unique cause — assisting underserved children in their health, personal development, education and enjoyment of life. Among those participating were sports figures such as Alessandro Del Piero (Italy’s World Cup star), Guiseppe Rossi (ACF Fiorentina), Luol Deng (Miami Heat), Chris Mullin (NBA Hall of famer), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers), and of course the two-time NBA MVP himself, Steve Nash. Below are some of the images captured during the match.

 

 

Tastemakers: Aaron Yeboah Jr.

Inspiration can be a powerful motivator. Aaron Yeboah Jr. strives to challenge convention in his creative pursuits. It’s all about harnessing perspective, enriching others, invigorating a growing community, while discovering more of his passion. Learn more about his journey with us.

 

Genteel Flair: How did your creative brand and initiative, 2dots Space come about?

Aaron Yeboah Jr.: 2dots Space is a vision in progress. Somehow someway everything has been connected and accumulated to what it is now. I started with just the blog aspect. Featuring the works of creatives around the world. I got inspired by every single work, leading to curiosity about how and why some of the creative works were done. I started interviewing creatives around the world. One major response that stood out for me from every interview I did was each creative’s response to their definition or opinion to creativity. They all had brilliant and interesting take on creativity. In 2012, I started Creativity Decoded as an informative project to focus solely on creatives’ take on creativity.The ongoing project has received contributions from over 200 creatives.

I tested the waters creating the first volume 2dots book in 2013. I reached out to several creatives and I was surprised and honored they trusted my vision to present their work in a publication. They all loved and appreciated the book.

The success, assured me I can really do more. I re-accessed my life and discovered my passion for art and creativity is beyond just appreciation, but being a part of it as well. I decided to put all my projects under one umbrella thus, 2dots Space. 2dots Space is my way of giving back to the creative community.

It’s a space for my creative journey and growth. I am nurturing my creativity and visions into something beyond that will help humanity in general. Whether it’s inspiring people, creating beautiful and meaningful works or helping bring an artist’s vision to life. 2dots Space is the vessel for creativity.

GF: What qualities did the brand afford you, that you weren’t privy to in other areas of work?

AYJr.: Genuineness. We live in a digital age where everything is fast paced, and it is hard for genuine work to be valued and sometimes respected. My focus is to touch people’s heart and get their attention,  not for them to just like, reblog or follow. To deliver innovative cross-platform solutions to communication and visual design. To use creativity as a tool to inspire, educate, and empower.

GF: What served as the catalyst to beginning a creative platform? What are some hardships you had to overcome in the beginning stages?

AYJr.:  I am still in the early stages, the hardship I have overcome so far is my finding myself and knowing my creative path. I believe I am a great visual taste-maker when it comes to art, design and creativity. I believe I have a strong eye for great work, talent and skill. I figured out what I am capable of.  I know so far my stronghold is editorial and graphic design as well as creative direction.  It is a natural growth, I am still learning and exploring. I see my self as a student of creativity.

GF: What is the significance, if any, in the name “2dots Space”?

AYJr.: ‘2dots’ reflects connecting the dots in everything. ‘Space’, as in a space for infinite ideas, no creative limit or boundaries.

GF: How involved are you with every aspect of the brand? Are project ideas and executions a one-man job or a team effort?

AYJr.: For now, it’s just me. I do everything myself. I have however started a new initiative 2dots Collective, working and collaborating with creatives. So far, I have collaborated with London-based photographer Tiffany Phan.

I worked with her to design her debut street photography book. I also collaborated with artist Ojo Agi, presenting her series ‘Daughters of the Diaspora’ in an editorial form. As well as designing an editorial for photographer Eric Gyamfi’s ‘The Old Ladies’ Of Gambaga Witches Camp’ project.

With each collaboration, team effort is very important. I make sure I am on the same page with the creatives and understand their vision. I have a clear understanding that it is their creative expression, their craft, their vision. It is only right for me to respect their work. I come in to connect with them and bring their vision to life.

GF: How important is talent vs. learned skill? In what ways do both lend to what you do?

AYJr.: Both are very important. However, one needs to have a passion for what they are doing and also put in hard work in order to succeed or excel. In my case, I love what I do and there is a strong passion. I enhance my talent and skill by learning, experimenting and exploring, which sometimes leads to mistakes, but in the creative world I believe there is not such thing as ‘mistakes’. Mistakes either lead to a learning curve or evolve into great ideas. Mistakes are just an icing on the cake.

GF: Speak briefly about your background (culturally and academically) and how both have influenced your craft, aesthetic, and career path?

AYJr.: I was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. As far as I can remember, I have always been captivated by the visual and audio artistry found within films, various genres of music, photography and various respective disciplines of art, design and creativity. They were an eye opening escape for me that allowed me to experience and explore a visual journey that changed my perspective of the world.

I moved to the States in 2005. My interests in creative expression continued to grow and evolved into setting up 2dots. As far as school, I initially majored in International Studies but switched to Communication Design with concentration on graphic design. I switched Majors to enhance my knowledge and skill.

GF: “African Lens” is a phenomenal publication, in concept, design, and content! What has inspired that publication and its direction, and what is your vision for it?

AYJr.: Thank you. African Lens is a publication that celebrates and showcase African photographers in the motherland and the diaspora. I wanted to create a staple for African photographers (mostly young photographers) to tell their stories and express themselves. Since most stories told in Western media about the continent of Africa leaves negative connotations, African Lens hopes to shine a light on the beauty, rich and diverse culture of Africans both in the motherland and migrants to foreign land. My vision for African Lens is for the publication to stand the test of time. Be a staple for African photographers to share their stories.

GF: Up to date, who are some of the people that have served as your biggest influences?

AYJr.: There are a lot of them. I can definitely say Jeff Staple and David Adjaye are on top of the list. I am inspired by all the greats: designers, filmmakers, musicians, craftsmen, poets, all creatives in their respective disciplines.

GF: What are your plans for 2dots Space?

AYJr.: I am moving to Ghana this September. I have a lot of great ideas and creative endeavors I would like to do. For now, the ultimate goal is to setup a creative space in Ghana.

GF: What would you say is your purpose? How is 2dots Space, and other related projects helping to fulfill said purpose?

AYJr.: My purpose is to change the status quo and push creative boundaries. Working on making 2dots Space a creative force in Ghana, Africa and beyond. 2dots Space is devoted to establishing a creative platform open for expression as well as helping and guiding creatives. Having projects like African Lens, curating exhibitions, providing creative direction, plus other creative endeavors, I believe will help the amazing talents and creatives out there. In general, art, design and creativity can change lives, create careers and give creatives, especially the youth, a voice and a platform to express themselves.

For more on Aaron Yeboah Jr.’s work, and the release of his upcoming publication ‘African Lens, Volume 2,’ visit 2dots Space.

Style Is: Kamau Hosten

Style is “developed. It comes from one’s experiences; education, travel, influences. It has little to do with clothing. It’s a way of living, of being. Your style encompasses how you carry yourself, how you address others, and the impression that’s left when you’re no longer in the room.”

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Featured image, courtesy of Bevin Elias of ByElias 
My name is Kamau Hosten. I’m the founder of The Ideal Pursuit, a men’s website focusing on elegance in all matters. Additionally, I’m a contributing writer to A&H Magazine and the East Coast Visual Merchandising Manager for Brioni.

Subtle Accents with Muston & Co.

Legendary entertainer Fred Astaire is one of my favorite American style icons, a combination of grace and charm that spoke effortlessly through his unique rendition of ‘prep’. So when Lee Muston of Muston & Co. shared his idea with me, I was as much inspired as intrigued. I asked him to share his take on an updated version of an Astaire signature.

Genteel Flair: Why men’s accessories? What gap did you see in the market?

Lee Muston: I love menswear and wanted to capitalize on another point of self-expression for the men’s wardrobe. You see a million Instagram shots of a guy’s chest with a tie and pocket square so I wanted to create a similar point of self-expression for the waist.

GF: What inspired you to adapt this particular idea?

LM: The idea had been dancing around in my head for awhile. After finding strips of fabric at vintage stores and tying them around my waist as well as seeing certain style influencers wearing ties around their waists I thought to myself, “there has to be an easier way to wear that look”.

Thus, I re-purposed a preppy classic to reflect a more Italian sensibility with fine silks and wools from Italy and England.

GF: Do you see your product as an occasional accent or wardrobe staple?

LM: It could certainly be both depending on the style. I wear my belts everyday and some of the more subtle styles such as the chalk stripes or glen plaids could easily go with anything. But I also find myself wearing the red foulard and yellow paisley just as frequently. It’s pretty easy to get adventurous with a belt without looking too eccentric.

GF: What can you share about future product development?

LM: For the immediate future we’re sourcing new fabrics (which is a never-ending quest) and introducing silver rings. Further down the road we’ll implement buckles, leather tips and more, so stay tuned!

GF: Do you plan to stay online or are there in roads to brick and mortar retail?

LM: Staying online for now – rent’s high in New York!!

My personal style right now I’d call “sprezzy prep gangsta”. I always love my soft shoulder blazers and loud scarves, but lately have gone on a fitted and kicks bender, and anchor it down with simple chinos or jeans and an oxford shirt. And also of course a great looking Muston belt!

Some influencers right now who I think are absolutely killing it are Danilo Carnevale, Justus Hansen, the boys from Sciamat and Minn from HVRMINN.

I feel menswear now more than ever is implementing a sporty element to tailored looks with sneakers, t-shirts, down vests, etc. That mix plays well with our belts as they’re not anchored to being solely dressy or solely casual but ride the line in-between. You can sport them with jeans and a t-shirt just as easily as you can with a suit.

Our Instagram illustrates the range of looks you can wear with a Muston belt.

You can shop some of our favorites here!

A New Take on Retail with Bonobos

Bonobos unveiled their premier flagship on Fifth Avenue last night to a crowd of patrons and influencers. Founder Andy Dunn shared the impetus for the Guideshop concept, bridging the gap between e-commerce and traditional retail. “People want to touch and feel [the clothes]. This gives them the opportunity to get styled and fitted before making a purchase.”

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Bonobos has been at the forefront of what used to be a risky industry, first perfecting the chino and now expanding to a full range of men’s apparel. The Guideshop provides customers with a seamless shopping experience in the two story, 4,000 square foot space at 17th Street.

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Guests were welcomed with array of cocktails and wines, ales from Brooklyn Brewery, hors d’oeuvres from Chef John DeLucie of Crown and The Lion, and music by DJ Fraco V. Artist Kyler Dannels mastered the design accents with custom porcelain sculptures, floor-to-ceiling paintings, and elaborate window displays to complement the interior layout of Bonobos’ largest space.

This launch was in conjunction with the Bonobos Orphan Project – a new charity campaign that will raise awareness and funds for the threatened ape that is the e-tailer’s namesake.

The evening was capped off with the formal introduction of CEO Fran Della Badia, as Dunn steps into a new role as Executive Chairman. Guests left with a ‘swag bag’ featuring a Bonobos pocket square and a celebratory Nicaraguan Robusto from Madison Avenue staple, Davidoff Cigars.

The Guideshop officially opens today at 10 AM, so make an appointment or pop in for a “perfect fit and painless shopping”.