In the last 10 years, the fashion industry has changed in dramatic ways. Storied retailers have collapsed under the pressure of competing with online behemoths like Amazon. Racial and body inclusivity has become increasingly front of mind for brands looking to stay afloat in a nation that is more diverse than ever before. And fashion influencers have become just as important as traditional marketing techniques when looking to compete for sales in an increasingly saturated market. To get a better understanding of what a men’s fashion influencer actually does, we sat down with Chukwunonso “Nonso” Ezekwueche, who is blazing a trail in this now highly coveted space.
When did you first become interested in fashion (who/what influenced this interest)?
Fashion is something I have cherished since I was a child. Growing up, my biggest fashion influences were my father and my brother, as well as some other people I was surrounded by. I was a really bright child so I easily emulated the stylish people I saw around me.
What inspired you to transition into the fashion industry full-time?
I would not say that I work in the fashion industry full-time, yet. In addition to my work in fashion, I have a career in the pharmaceutical industry. However, fashion is something dear to my heart and it is a way for me to express my artistic side to the world and who knows, I could transition into full-time fashion influencing in the future.
Can you describe for our readers your specific role in the industry and how you work with particular brands?
I am what is popularly called a men’s fashion influencer/content creator. This means that I try to influence the buying decisions of people and point them in the right direction regarding what and what not to buy. I am of the opinion that we do not necessarily need to splurge on very expensive outfits to make a fashion statement and I show men how I dress nicely without breaking the bank. I also work with brands across different industries to help them create great content that would resonate with my audience. This helps increase brand awareness, recognition, loyalty and sales.
How do you determine what brands to partner with?
I reach out to brands with visions aligned to mine and that have varying price points. Many times, brands reach out to me after reviewing my social media. I also receive paid sponsorships through local influencer marketing agencies in my city and elsewhere affiliated with different brands.
What difficulties have you encountered working as a Black man in fashion?
The fashion industry feels saturated because there are many influences out there. However, I am always striving to stand out. Also being a Black man in any white-dominated environment comes with its challenges, but I do not let this fact deter me from success. Starting off, it was a bit of a challenge to get brands to collaborate with me, but over time more doors have opened.
What advice would you give someone who is considering entering into the fashion industry?
It won’t be a tea party at first. You will face challenges but believing in yourself and what you have to offer will definitely help you keep your head above water. Find a mentor to guide you, be teachable, ask questions, do your own personal research, network with other fashion creatives, no man is an island and soon you will see yourself flying.
Photo Credit: @_Nonsky