Nowadays, it’s said that you shouldn’t find a job, you should create one. Paul Famutimi has done just that. I sat down with the budding designer to find out more.
Famutimi, a third year civil engineering student hailing from East London, is all smiles despite the early hour. The idea, he says, has been a long time in the making.
He tells me “It’s been a while since I wanted to go into fashion but I felt like everyone was going into it at the same time. My mums always said I’ve always been the type of person that wanted to dress well and do my own thing, so it makes sense”.
Cozyvert, a brand aimed at ‘cozy introverts’ has gone from strength to strength in the last 12 months.
Of it, he tells me “originally I started off as a trainer resell business. It was exclusive things like Jordans or Supreme. Stuff that you would have to queue up for. That was just to build capital because I didn’t know that I wanted to do clothing straight away, it was a way for me to ease myself in.
“The more I got into the reselling business the more I found out about fashion and people like Virgil Abloh, Samuel Ross. These are people that I think have broken new ground in fashion and they’ve done that through originality and authenticity but I felt like anyone could do that if they put in enough work ”.
Once he’d decided that design was what he wanted to concentrate on, he set to work. He says “around February and March this year I started to do sketches and drawings then I finally decided okay I want to make it a clothing brand, I want to represent a certain lifestyle. I wanted to represent a divergent culture through clothing. Most of the time you can tell what kind of person somebody is by what they’re wearing so I wanted to use the idea of expressing yourself through your clothing”.
“I got a job in June, I was working every day in summer but I started to meet up with models and photographers and managed to get some shoots done then I launched the Instagram page. The more I met people and the more they reacted to the designs, the more confidence I got and the more momentum I built.
“In August I started printing and the printing was tedious because normally you’d send your designs to somebody else but my aunty has a graphic design business so I was literally on the ground doing it myself.
“The more time you put into something like this the more you want to finish it, and obviously, business is not easy, running anything is not easy, starting anything is not easy — you need consistency. I can’t lie, there were dry patches in summer where I was like flat broke and I was like shit. If this doesn’t pop it’s gonna be a letdown.”
Instead of launching a website straight away, Famutimi decided to hold a pop up to display his collection. Whilst innovative, the pop up proved challenging from the get go.
He says “It was like everything that could’ve gone wrong, went wrong. We had a car crash on the way there, it rained heavily the entire day, the posters wouldn’t stick up, the venue changed three days before and it confused people, they couldn’t find the place and they got lost in the northern quarter. The turnout was still good but it could’ve been better”.
However, he takes it all in his stride.
“The vibes were good! People came in off the street, they liked the concept, they liked the introspective parts. For instance, one of my jumpers is based around the idea of ‘fresh off the boat’. It used to be a derogatory term for an immigrant who couldn’t speak English well but now it’s just like fresh. Well-dressed.”
Riding the success of the first pop up, he’s already looking ahead.
When asked what’s next he tells me “Pop up version two. I’m doing a denim collection, I’m doing embroidery, I’m doing t shirts. I’m aiming for February because exams will have just finished, we’re going into the new semester, everyone is a bit more chilled so I want to capture that.
“I want to shoot an ad campaign as well. Hopefully there’ll be a launch party in London too. We’re trying to show up everywhere and London is my hometown but I feel like Manchester is key for the second one because this is where it all started. This is where I met all my friends and got my inspiration”.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. Whilst optimistic he notes “I’ve been doing it on my own, most people who start something like this do it in twos or threes so they can pool resources but I’ve mostly been on my own. It’s like a curse and a blessing at the same time.
“Sometimes I feel like I have to be everywhere at once. The grind has been the best part because it’s not easy but it’s rewarding. It can be painful but you really feel like you have something to prove.”
The official website www.cozyvert.co.uk launches November 10th. But for now, readers looking to find out more can follow the brand on Instagram at cozyvert020 or email Paul directly at [email protected].