INTERVIEW: BAD PERCEPTION BY OGEMDI OBIWURU + WILL BRAD
Bad Perception is a clothing line that's designing a new way of thinking when it comes to fashion and lifestyle. What started off as a brand in Long Beach, California with a skate culture aesthetic is now becoming a more high-end line of cut and sew garments. Self-taught designers, Ogemdi "Osso" Obiwuru + Will Brad started off hustling $10 T-shirts in local malls and taking risks to get access to industry events filled with their idols. I had the opportunity to speak with Osso this pass week and learn more about the inspiration behind Bad Perception and what it stands for. After deciding to pursue a different career than what they set out for in college, Osso and Will teamed up to combine their passions for street wear fashion and various types of art in business. For the creative direction of Bad Perception, these two designers conceptualize menswear pieces that they expect to break barriers and inspire a new way of thinking. A lot of their designs, including a signature "Perception" black belt, are inspired by Japanese culture and martial arts.
The foundation of Bad Perception was built by the hunger of two young creatives facing adversity and wanting to do things differently than their peers. In business, they navigate through obstacles and turn their dream into reality through the will-power of wanting to succeed. Simply reaching out to established designers and public figures they look up to and starting conversation has been the reason for growth and improvement as independent designers... And a lot of that is credited to their perception and outlook and life.
"The brand is called Bad Perception, more-so with emphasis on the 'Perception' that suggests, 'Change your way of thinking.' You might be black like us, and not come from a lot of money and not have a lot of connections, but it's all about how you perceive those obstacles. This past month has shown us that you create your own reality; you create your own destiny. I really believe in the law of attraction. I was watching interviews with certain people, and I noticed that the artists and everyone I've been looking up to... I've been meeting them in the past month. It just happens, and I feel like that's the law of attraction. The energy you put out, it really does come back to you. If a lot of artists and creators just realize that the pain you go through is actually for a reason, maybe they wouldn't quit so soon. A lot of people don't even see growth until after 3 years. I really learned, on the flip side from meeting people at the top of the game, that they have problems just like we have problems. They just don't show it all the time."
From working in retail for years, to spending time at an agency learning the ins and outs of the industry, Osso and Will value their real life experiences as essential pieces to their story; the good and the bad. They are able to find joy in pain and heartbreak, and recognize the beauty in every struggle. That's where they pull their inspiration from and they hope to be able to use Bad Perception as a way to inspire younger kids to do the same.
"It's bigger than fashion, we're really connecting with our customers. Younger kids tell us how much our brand and our story inspires them. Where we're from, in Long Beach, the only way you make it out is if you're an athlete. Not too many kids have a creative outlet in which they can make a name for themselves... And that's what we're doing. We're changing the way they dress, their conversations with each other, and their fashion minds. I get to be the big brother-figure that I never had. I never had anyone my age talk to me respectfully and encourage me to find my own creative outlet."
Bad Perception's message has evolved since it's creation back in 2015. It's a reflection of how an idea to start a fashion line turned into a real passion for the industry and its influence on the world. In a sense, Bad Perception's approach to fashion is to use it as a tool to promote positive thinking and originality.
One Bad Perception T-shirt design that really stands out is the "Daily Dose" tee from their most recent drop (08/17/17). It represents not getting caught up in the vicious cycle of imitation and re-creation that's so easy to slip into.
We're bringing a new way of thinking. When you see a garment on a rack or "Perception" on a tag, it's challenging YOU to define it. How do you perceive life? Define it for yourself.