Interview with Esosa Imoisili from Central Cali Sosa

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December 3, 2014 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and Occupation?
EI: I am 35 years old and I am a financial advisor for one of the larger brokerage houses in the world.

VR: Your educational background?
EI: I have a degree in Finance and Economics with a minor in accounting.
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VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
I am married and I have a daughter who is almost 2. My wife, in her own right, is very stylish. Her style is very classic. You might not pick out the individual pieces but when you she puts it together, she makes it look elegant and timeless. So, in a way, I draw inspiration from her. To make my style timeless and to convey elegance is pretty much my goal when I shop for clothing. My daughter is already developing a sense of style. It’s funny and fascinating to watch her pick out her own shoes at this age. She is not even 2 but has a strong sense of what she likes and what she abhors. I expect that, as she grows, she will have a stronger sense of her own style and hopefully will be brave enough to be herself and stay away from the whims of fashion trends.

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VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
EI: My parents were stylish people as well. My family is Nigerian and Nigerians are, by and large, very much into fashion. My mother and father were no different. I got my interest in style from them. Watching them get dressed for a wedding, a party or even church was fascinating. Nigerians are a very colorful people and love to use them in everything, including their outfits. So, to see that on display at an early age was amazing. My sister is also very stylish. She has had blogs write about her shoe collection. So, really she is no slouch in that regard. My brother, on the other hand, is not into fashion as much. He looks at clothes more for utility than anything else. Hopefully that will change as he gets older and moves along farther in his career.

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VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides classic apparel?
EI: I am an avid sports fan (mainly basketball and American football) and I am very politically active. I played basketball from elementary school all the way through my university years, so I will always love sports. I have become more politically active during the last 12 years or so because I feel as an adult you should do this. You should know where you stand on issues that affect you and be engaged enough to follow through with those views. The correlation between politics and fashion/style, in my opinion, is that people will be more willing to listen, or at least take you more seriously, on your political positions, if you look like you know what you are talking about.

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VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
EI: It started as a child, obviously. But it was more inherent at the time because I was too young to realize what I liked and how I could make it work for me. It really hit home more when I was in college. I am a kid that comes from humble beginnings. Even though my parents did not have much, they had enough to get us through. So, when I was in college, I had just enough to make it through on my own. This was due to the fact that I was on a sports and academic scholarship. I had three outfits and that was it. I had a friend, who always had great style and a great presence, and people looked up to him for it just like I did. So that’s when my love for style really started and my exploration into developing a personal style began. This is due to my observations of how people treated him differently due to his gentlemanly attitude and his style. I made a lot of mistakes at first, because that’s what you do when you’re trying to figure out what your style is. However, what I realized is that when a man explores who he is stylistically, he’s also subconsciously searching for what kind of a man he is. That’s why I feel that, when I was comfortable with who I was stylistically, I found out what kind of a man I was. I’m not saying that style was everything but it was one of the factors that helped me figure it out. Fashion cost me money because trends came and went with the season and had no staying power.

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VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?
EI: From magazines such as GQ and Esquire at first. Those were one of the few sources for men’s style that were really accessible when I first started my search. The Internet was not as informative or as expansive as it is now. I learned the basics from there and proceeded to try out different labels to figure what labels made me look somewhat like the guys in the magazines. It’s taken over 10 years but now I have reached the sartorial point where I can try something on and mentally note what I have to nip and tuck and how much. I think it’s easier now because my eye has been trained to notice what works for my frame. Salesmen were a no-go for me. I was always pointed towards the made to measure or bespoke route due to my size (6’9’’, 113kg). So, I had to figure out things on my own because I did not have the money to afford either of those luxuries right out of college.

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VR: How did you first find Styleforum and what has kept you active over the years? When did you decide to set up a Tumblr?
EI: I found Styleforum as a referral from Glen O’Brian, the style guy from his monthly editorial in GQ magazine. At the time I was trying to ascertain what the difference in quality was between a $200 suit and a $2000 suit. To my surprise, I found that salesmen at some of the top stores (Barneys, Saks, etc.) could not definitively tell me what the difference was. So it was kismet that I found Styleforum the way I did because it answered all my questions and then some. I have been an active member for years because Styleforum, at least for now, is the best source for anything menswear. There are some passionate people on there that have created a great place for the dissemination of menswear information and inspirational outfits. I have learned a lot from there in terms of fit, construction and color co-ordination. I still have a ton more to learn but it’s great to have a place to go for information on the larger luxury brands as well as the obscure no-name ones. I have found some gems thanks to that place. This is what led to me to starting a Tumblr this year because it’s a diary for my outfits and what I put together. The primary goal of my page is to share, but also to a smaller level to chronicle what I am wearing and how I am putting outfits together. In my profession, appearance is everything. If you come across ostentatious, then you scare clients away, but if you come across well-put together and professional, then clients, to a certain degree, want to hear your ideas and what you have to say. Not saying this is universally true, but what I have found from my experiences to have merit.

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VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?
EI: I don’t have an absolute favorite. What I have found stylistically, though, is that I favor cuts that have some structure to them. So, in terms of Italian styling, I favor the Roman cut. I find that, for my body, I need structure to smooth out certain parts and enhance other parts as well. I find that the brands that favor this style are makers like Canali, Brioni, Trussini, and Tom Ford for YSL, among others. These are the brands I own and wear. I also like mid-tier labels like Suitsupply’s Napoli cut. They make a good quality suit for a great price that, once tailored, looks like a $2,000 suit and will last you a couple years. I am definitely a fan of the Suitsupply label.

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VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your commissions?
EI: I have discussed my love of structure for a suit. I feel that, when it’s done right, it leaves a powerful impression. For my commissions, I try to toe the line between power, elegance and subtlety. I want the person who sees me in a suit to say “He looks good!” but when asked why, they cannot explain or point out a single item that makes it work. It all works harmoniously. That is what I look for when I purchase a suit or the few times I have had suits commissioned for me.

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VR: Why should Keikari’s readers have a look at your site?
EI: Well, honestly, that’s up to your readers. My page is open for those who are looking for inspiration on cuts that work. I also provide inspiration for taller-than-average men who are trying to figure out what works for them. I will not say that my fits are out of this world or that my style is better than anyone else’s. What I can say is that my page conveys the triumph of a man finally finding comfort in what works stylistically. That’s the most I can promise.

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VR: What is your definition of style,and who or what inspires you?
EI: The well -dressed men I see on the Internet or on the street inspire me. This is because I know that a truly well-dressed man has gone on a very long journey emotionally, financially and stylistically to get to his sweet spot, and that is one of the most admirable things I feel I can witness. It takes perseverance, money and stubbornness to break away from the herd and stick to what you like. That to me is truly style and true style inspires me. True style is timeless and comfortable and carefree, but it also looks good. That is what I aim for and that’s my wish for anyone who is on the path to figuring out who they are stylistically. To find that comfort and ease in who they are because you will always look your best when you feel that way — no matter what you are wearing.

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VR: You mentioned you’re 6’9” tall — what are your style tips for men over two metres tall?
EI: Find what brands work for your body type and do not be talked into looking into an extra long. Look at a long first and see how it fits. For the most part, if it covers your bottom, fits well over your chest, covers your collar adequately and is long enough in the arms, then you have a start. Then you can start looking at the bells and whistles of the suit, like lapel size, button stance, pockets, etc.

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Photos: Esosa Imoisili

http://www.centralcalisosa.tumblr.com


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