Leaders Style

Stylin’ and Profilin’ with Branëu Founder Dawayne Taylor

We’re back with another Stylin’ and Profilin’ series. This time around we’re highlighting fashion brand Branëu, a men’s & women’s luxury brand located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. Inspired by Rap moguls and streetwear alike, rap moguls and streetwear alike. Founded in 2013 by Dawayne Taylor, Branëu seeks to push the culture forward by presenting “Brand Nëu” products, which consist of quality fabrics and fittings to develop clothing for those who share the company’s creative vision and appeal.

Branëu doesn’t stop at just outfitting the world’s innovators; the brand also aims to delve into endeavors concerning youth entrepreneurship and financial literacy to ensure that upcoming generations carry the ideals that Branëu represents. Through the influence of fashion and its built-in community, Branëu eventually seeks to develop a school that allows creative leaders to emerge through an extensive and varied business curriculum.

Those ideals include financial literacy, small business management, public speaking, leadership, and entrepreneurship, as well as day-to-day business logistics. It’s rare to see a fashion brand so intertwined in other areas such as entrepreneurship, and yet Branëu encapsulates that day in and day out. ONE37pm spoke with Taylor more about the brand.

ONE37pm: How did you first develop the concept of Branëu?

Taylor: I started with the terms Brand New, then we worked on forming a shorter spelling and as we researched accent marks we liked the layout with the umlauts over the ë. As for the style of the brand, I thought about what I like to wear from street and formal, although we haven’t got to formal wear yet we will in the future. 

ONE37pm: You guys are located in Richmond, Virginia. What is it about Virginia that made you specifically want to base the brand there?   

Taylor: Virginia is known for so many things but there haven’t been any big fashion brands to come from Richmond, Va. So I thought why not be the first? We do have Pharrell in Virginia Beach who has done really well with fashion. Funny story: we actually moved to Los Angeles and attended Complexcon where we met and gave Pharrell a Branëu hat. After COVID happened we decided to move back to Virginia.

Living in L.A. inspired me to learn more about Richmond, Va. As people generally stay in one area although they live somewhere for a long time. We were like tourists every day in Los Angeles. So now I plan on incorporating more of Richmond VA into Branëu designs although I still travel to Los Angeles frequently as we have several designers and manufacturers there.

ONE37pm: Branëu was recently seen on Jabari Banks from the new Bel Air show. Could you tell us more about that? 

Taylor: The head fashion stylist saw our brand and really liked the quality and fit. He asked us to send some of our pieces not knowing if he would use them in the show. When the world saw it, that was our first time seeing it too. Jabari wore our Neu Hybrid Swim Shorts that can also be worn as street shorts, and he also wore our Logo Hoodie in White. It was an amazing feeling to see all our hard work get a platform that the world would see!

ONE37pm: What can we expect as we approach the second quarter of 2022?

Taylor: We are in the development of several spring/summer 2022 releases that will be launching around May and we are currently working on Fall/Winter 2022 designs to go into production. 

You can continue to keep up with Branëu via their official website.

Leaders Style

Women’s History Month Thrives With Scottie Beam, Monica Rose and More

As we wrap up Women’s History Month, we’d like to take a minute to recognize some of the amazing campaigns that took place over the past few weeks. One of those was an ambitious project from Foot Locker which featured the very talented Scottie Beam, Monica Rose, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and my girl Vic Jacobi.

This month, it was the specific goal of Foot Locker to rewrite the rules for workplace attire as women are no longer confined to outdated dress norms that have dominated our societal clothing standards for decades. To challenge these outdated norms, Foot Locker partnered with Monica Rose to create custom looks for real-life female entrepreneurs and leaders.

Foot Locker
Scottie Beam, Monica Rose, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and Vic Jacobi.

This initiative included a project where Rose helped style four modern-day working women at their flagship store in New York City to provide her expertise by curating looks for each woman including those who work in an office environment, work from home or freelance, are always on their feet or on the go, and are interviewing for the next step in their careers.

These looks were modeled by Beam, Wu, Barthole, and Jacobi for a stunning photoshoot, capturing each lady’s personality and style effortlessly.

ONE37pm spoke with ​​Holly Tedesco, VP of Marketing at Foot Locker about this project, and more. You can check out the full interview below.

Foot Locker
Monica Rose

ONE37pm: Thanks for chatting with us Holly. As we approach the end of Women’s History Month, you guys recently put together a campaign with celebrity stylist Monica Rose. Could you talk a little bit more about that?

Tedesco: Our Foot Locker Women’s team had the honor of working with Monica Rose, who created custom looks for our talented real-life young female entrepreneurs Scottie Beam, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and Vic Jacobi. As the pandemic has shifted our traditional ideas of what “work attire” looks like and because we use personal style to express who we are through what we wear, we wanted to show how we can all rewrite the rules, no matter where we work.

Foot Locker
Scottie Beam

Whether it’s an office environment, those who work from home or freelance, those who are always on their feet, or someone who is interviewing for the next step in their careers, we have a range of brands that are versatile, no matter what the day looks. It was inspiring for us to see Monica create unique looks for each woman that were not only professional but also trendy and focused on providing comfort and confidence to the wearer.

Foot Locker
Vic Jacobi

ONE37pm: Now you guys also had Scottie Beam, Jessica Wu, Jennifer Barthole, and Vic Jacobi. What was it like working with them?

Tedesco: It was wonderful being able to work with such a dynamic and talented group of women –– they brought great energy to our set! Scottie, Jessica, Jennifer, and Vic really embody the values of Foot Locker Women’s and we knew that our consumers would feel the same. Each look that Monica Rose created really showcased each woman’s unique personal style and reflected their current fields as well.

Foot Locker
Jessica Wu

ONE37pm:  Foot Locker also partnered with Bottomless Closet which included a $30,000 donation to be used for year-round meaningful resources and tools all aimed to further set women up for success in all stages of their careers. Could you expand more on that initiative?

Tedesco: We are honored to partner with Bottomless Closet – they are a fantastic organization. We love that beyond our donation, the Foot Locker Women’s team members are able to connect on a personal level with workshops throughout the year on everything from interview skills to personal branding. It has been amazing to work with Bottomless Closet and its participants and we’re looking forward to continuing to provide support for them.

Foot Locker
Jenn Barthole

ONE37pm: What do future Foot Locker initiatives for women look like?

Tedesco: We’re really looking at our women’s business as a place to continue to grow and deepen our connection. From offering an incredible assortment of brands that speaks to her footwear and style needs to connecting to support her wellness and fitness goals, to being a place of inspiration, it’s really about translating what she wants into our experience.

This year we’ll feature more from our first-ever Women’s Creative Director – Melody Ehsani, continue to build our community through activations and events, and deliver product exclusives, like COZI, our very own Foot Locker Inc, Women’s brand.

Big things are in store for the future. Be sure to keep up with all things Foot Locker via their official website.

Leaders Style

How FootJoy Continues To Be One of The Global Leaders In Golf

When it comes to brand longevity in sports, fewer companies have stood the test of time better than legendary brand FootJoy. Established in 1857 under the moniker Burt and Packard Shoe Company, the Massachusetts-based business worked for over a century to establish a dedicated golf fan base consisting of devoted customers before officially becoming FootJoy in 1985 after being acquired by the Ashnet Company from General Mills.

In the nearly forty years since then, FootJoy has become the number one seller of golf shoes and gloves in the United States and continues to build its already extensive resume through state-of-the-art apparel and groundbreaking partnerships. Their latest collaboration is a new footwear collection with global luxury brand Buscemi called “The Player’s Shoe,” which is a cutting-edge limited-edition design, available in two different upper designs making them ideal for all types of golfers.

The FJ x Buscemi collection features the same world-class performance players expect from Premiere Series but is elevated in design with a luxurious touch from one of the world’s foremost experts in footwear fashion. “The Player’s Shoe” is engineered with premium full-grain leather offering unparalleled beauty and constructed to resist stretching, providing a discerning sense of style. Equipped with Softspikes, the shoes deliver a no-slip grip allowing you to hit the course all day long with style and comfort.

With the Masters just a little over three weeks away, we caught up with FootJoy Senior Vice President of Consumer Experience Ken LaRose to talk about everything the brand has been up to as of late.

The Players Shoe

ONE37pm: Thanks for chatting with us Ken! Congrats on the partnership with Buscemi. Could you talk a little more about that?

LaRose: The Buscemi partnership is a fun collaboration. We had a very exciting opportunity to collaborate with Jon Buscemi who is a self-proclaimed golf nut and a huge fan of the brand. There’s big mutual respect between us, which helped lead to this partnership.

ONE37pm: What does FootJoy look for in a potential partnership

LaRose: First and foremost, FootJoy is a golf brand that is meaningfully rooted in the passion for the game of golf, so that is what we look for in our potential partners. We also look for partners that can add a new dimension to our brand, for example, Buscemi. Ultimately the partnership has to be something that we fully believe in.

ONE37pm: Why do you guys have collaborations such as this one?

LaRose: Simply because it’s fun! Our consumers love our collaborations, our team enjoys having the opportunity to work with other brands, and it adds excitement and captures broader communication in an authentic way. Our collaborations are about celebrating authenticity and reinterpreting heritage. We’re constantly trying to find compelling and interesting ways to engage with new audiences.

ONE37pm: What is the overall strategy behind FootJoy?

LaRose: FootJoy is the global leader from head to toe in golf. We’ve been around for over a hundred years, and having said that, we are very much focused on how we can lead the game going forward. There is a lot of energy spent on how we can elevate for the future, and what we can do to enhance the consumer experience. There’s a ton of passion around the sport of golf and a lot of ways to participate in great things for the game.

ONE37pm: The Masters is coming up next month! Any plans?

LaRose: We can’t say too much right now, but we do have something planned for The Masters. As a hint, we have a pretty impactful collaboration with a West Coast Designer. We are also doing something around the PGA, The U.S. Open, and The Open Championship. So we definitely have a strong lineup this year!

An exciting lineup indeed. You can continue to keep up with FootJoy’s latest announcements on Instagram.

Leaders Style

Meet Abel Teclemariam and Nestor Hernandez: The Celebrity Game Designers

As we officially wrap up All-Star Weekend and head into the second half of the season, there’s just one more story we wanted to share. Meet Abel Teclemariam and Nestor ‘Lil Nes’ Hernandez, the teenage designers who made their designing debut this past Friday at the Celebrity All-Star Game. The two were tasked by Converse to create custom jerseys for the celebrity participants as part of the brand’s ongoing efforts to offer greater access to young creatives. Hailing from Boston and Los Angeles respectively, both Teclemariam and Hernandez are both heavily involved in social and community work, which was also part of their selection. 

Abel Teclemariam

18-year-old Teclemariam designed the East uniforms, which were a nod to the resilience of the cities in the region, and took inspiration from street art and murals all around cities through the East Coast. 13-year-old Hernandez took on the West uniforms which paid tribute to 1990s culture and style.

Nestor “Lil Nes” Hernandez

We spoke with Teclemariam and Hernandez right before the Celebrity Game this weekend to discuss their budding design careers. 

East and West All-Star Jerseys

ONE37pm: When did you first discover your love for content creation? 

Teclemariam: I always liked to create art, but design specifically really became something I enjoyed doing starting around my freshman/sophomore year in high school. Once I joined the Possible Zone, I really found a passion for it, and decided that this was something I would like to do in the future.

Hernandez: It all started with my father, who has a background in design. With him working in design for more than 16 years, I’ve been around this field my whole life and once I started putting pen to paper, working on my own creative process to follow in my father’s footsteps, I instantly had a love for it. It just went on from there and skyrocketed.

ONE37pm: Walk us through the feeling you had when you first found out that you were selected to capture the content and behind the scenes for Converse’s celebrity game jerseys.

Teclemariam: I was in shock! It was hard to believe at first, and it’s still hard to believe right now, but overall, I was just really excited. 

Hernandez: Honestly, I was so starstruck. My father was the one who got the news and shared it with me and at first, I didn’t believe it. After that, it just felt amazing and so motivating, so I was super happy about the opportunity as well.

ONE37pm: What was the inspiration behind the content capture?

Teclemariam: The inspiration for the jersey was street art. I wanted to layer the design like the alleys I see all over the east coast, with tags on the jersey design for each city with a team in the NBA, and words that describe the communities of the East Coast.

Hernandez: The inspiration behind the design was the 90’s era of basketball, music, and style. Also, I wanted to incorporate how to address social injustice as it was and still is a big problem in the world. Using the movie ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ as a base for social injustice, we grabbed objects and shoes into a minimalist form to create the icons you see on the jersey. Some icons are also from the 1992 LA Riots, where we saw people starting to want more change around racial injustices around the world.

ONE37pm: How long did it take you to finish the design? 

Teclemariam: It took around two months for the initial design, followed by a few more months of edits and revisions and from there it was completed.

Hernandez: The whole design process took a year. From inspiration, to creation of the story and then the pattern, then finally creating mockups and samples, everything was super-fast-paced and nearly all done over Zoom with the various teams at Converse.

ONE37pm: Anything fun planned coming up? 

Teclemariam: I have a couple projects that I’m currently working on, and I’ll be coming out with a few designs for what could be my own brand. You can find any updates on my Instagram, but otherwise, I’ll be focusing on college.

Hernandez: I have a few exciting pieces in the apparel and accessories spaces with more collabs to come and work on my own brand, ‘SOLD OUT.’ I’m excited to show you what I have coming next. 

ONE37pm also spoke with photographer Andre Weiss, content creator for the East Team, who worked with the designers to capture pictures of the jerseys.

ONE37pm: When did you first discover your love for content creation?

Weiss: Growing up, I went from using those point-and-shoot cameras notoriously used by tourists, to taking pictures on my phone, to finally buying my own DSLR. Photography as a whole has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always loved it. It’s always been a source of fun and my progress and growth has never ceased to amaze me or those around me. And now, that love has expanded from not just photography but to videography and content creation as a whole. 

ONE37pm: Walk us through the feeling you had when you first found out that you were selected to capture the content and behind the scenes for Converse’s celebrity game jerseys? 

Weiss: I remember this past May, the Director of Teen Programs at the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Teen Programs -the place that made me who I am today as an artist – Betsy Gibbons, let me know that she had an opportunity for me and that she’d call me later that day.

When she called me and the word Converse came out of her mouth, the rush of emotions was all-consuming. I’ve always enjoyed taking photos, but never felt as though my work was good enough to work with a brand as esteemed as Converse on a project such as this, but I was ecstatic and so grateful for the opportunity to work with Converse on behalf of the Institute of Contemporary Art. 

ONE37pm: How long did it take you to finish the edit and what was your editing process? 

Weiss: The editing process took me about two months. I learned so much throughout the process – between new platforms and reshooting to make sure I had the best content – this was a massive growth opportunity for me as a creative and a chance to take on so many new things. I’m glad I had the time and support to learn but also the chance to receive feedback from my partners at Converse in order to improve and make the content even better. 

ONE37pm: Anything fun planned coming up? 

Weiss: I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and taking photos along the way – with spring break coming up, I’m hoping for a road trip or two!! 

All-Star Weekend was a blast. We look forward to seeing more from these very talented creatives.

Leaders Style

Rihanna: From Muse To Billionaire

As you all know, today is Queen Rihanna’s birthday, and the newly-turned 34-year-old has had quite an eventful past six months. Of course, last month it was announced that the singer turned entrepreneur was expecting her first child with rapper boyfriend ASAP Rocky, and in August, her net worth was valued at $1.7 billion officially making her a billionaire. While some of that billion has come from her record breaking music career, it’s safe to say that a good percentage (possibly majority) has come from her Fenty beauty and fashion empire.

With RiRi’s last album being all the way back in 2016, we’ve largely come to be reintroduced to the bad gal as businesswoman, and with all of her massive success in such a short period of time (four years), it’s easy to forget her humble beginnings as an ambassador and muse. So let’s revisit. 


Rihanna released her first album Music of the Sun in the summer of 2005. While that album along with her sophomore effort A Girl Like Me were both successful on the charts, it was 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad that catapulted Rihanna into another dimension of commercial success. With that commercial success also came a flurry of brands that wanted the then 19-year-old as one of the faces of their products, and one of those was CoverGirl, whom Rihanna signed a deal with in 2007.

The artist was the face of many CoverGirl products, making it her first dive into the world of makeup, and paving the way for her own Fenty Beauty brand that would launch ten years later. In a June 2007 interview with People, Rihanna stated that her CoverGirl endorsement was a dream come true. 

“My mom is a make-up artist so I really wanted to put on makeup and she wouldn’t let me because I was always too young. And now I can because I’m a CoverGirl. When me and my best friend get bored at night we go to CVS to buy a bunch of stuff to try. I like different colored eyeliner, I love different shades of lipsticks and lip glosses, anything with colors.”

Rihanna would continue to appear in many ads over the course of the next couple of years, it was also during this time that she would begin to capture the attention of the high fashion world.

Style Transformation

While the Good Girl Gone Bad era was noted for its many hit singles, it was also the period of time in which Rihanna transformed into a style guru in the making. It started with “the bob” hair cut (Rihanna famously cut her long tresses into a short bob as a part of her makeover for the album), which was eventually transformed into a short pixie cut a la Linda Evangelista.

Def Jam
Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad Era

That short pixie took Rihanna’s supermodel looks to the next level, not only setting her apart from her music industry peers, but giving her a rare high fashion/couture look that very few possess. 

Style Bistro
Rihanna 2009 Met Gala

We saw Rihanna pull up to the 2009 Met Gala in a tuxedo, give her own take on punk rock fashion, and even don elegant looks such as the Alexandre Vaulthier Fall 2009 dress at the 2009 Red Carpet Fashion Awards. Rihanna was making bold brilliant fashion statements, and the fashion industry was being put on notice as she was featured in a Gucci campaign that same year.

Iconic Fashion Moments

Before anybody can trust you enough to buy your beauty and fashion products, they have to rock with your beauty and fashion looks. Here’s just a few of some of Rih’s most iconic fashion moments between 2010 and 2015.

Red Hair Rihanna
Def Jam
Rihanna Loud Era

Rihanna debuted her Loud era with bright red hair in a move that was considered a bit shocking back in 2010/2011. We don’t see Rihanna with red hair that much nowadays, but it’s still the foundation for a lot of other artists who have since adopted the red hair look.

GQ 2012 Red Carpet
W Magazine

Rihanna sported a chic sporty athletic look at the GQ Awards in 2012.

2013 American Music Awards
Footwear News

If you ever had your hair straightened as a kid, then you are more than familiar with the bobby pin hair wrap that your mom and aunties did for you to preserve your style for the next day. Rihanna brought back that hair wrap look at the 2013 American Music Award along with a risque outfit as she accepted the Icon Award.

2014 CFDA Awards

Speaking of iconic fits, we present one of Rih’s most legendary outfits—her glittery sheer dress from the 2014 CFDA Awards. Known as the “naked dress,” Rih pushed style boundaries to the limit, creating a moment that will be remembered in fashion history forever.

2015 BET Awards

Rihanna kept it simple at the 2015 BET Awards, but still made a statement with her gold ensemble and light brown tresses.

Additional Brand/Endorsement Deals
Rihanna x MAC

From 2011 to 2017, Rihanna was the face of many more brands, further establishing as being one of the most marketable celebrities in the world. RiRi inked deals with Balmain, Dior, Puma, and more, and notched her second major makeup partnership with MAC in the Fall of 2013, which was a small preview of what was to come.

Fenty Beauty Launch

In 2016, Rihanna developed the line with LVHM, signing a deal to produce Fenty Beauty through LVMH’s Kendo division “Kendo Holdings.” In September 2017, Rihanna launched her makeup and beauty line Fenty Beauty. The beauty line included a full fledged marketing campaign, which also featured Tutorial Tuesday instruction videos from Rihanna herself. The brand was instantly renowned for its 40 shade Pro Filt’R foundation and Fenty Gloss Bomb, quickly selling out.

Rihanna also partnered with Sephora as another distribution channel, and recently announced that Fenty Beauty would be joining the Ulta Beauty family this March. 

2022 is also expected to bring about Fenty Beauty stores, where fans of the line can shop in person.

In the four years since its launch, Fenty has become one of the top beauty brands.

Savage Fenty

In May 2018, Rihanna debuted Savage Fenty, a lingerie line designed for all genders and sizes. Like Fenty Beauty, Savage has been incredibly successful, with many famous ambassadors such as Megan Thee Stallion, Normani, and Kehlani.

Savage Fenty is also widely recognized and praised for its annual Savage Fenty Fashion show which combines runway models showcasing the latest Savage styles, and performances from the industry’s finest.

So that folks is a small glimpse of how Rihanna became the billionaire she is today. It didn’t happen overnight, and as you can see, Rihanna went from being a brand ambassador to thee standard for beauty and fashion businesses over the course of a decade. If you have a goal and put your mind to it, you can truly do anything. Rihanna proves that.

Leaders Style

Rising Artist b. Robert Moore On His KITH Partnership and Black History Month

To create art is a gift of power, and to honor Black History Month, streetwear brand KITH partnered with three independent creators — b. Robert Moore, Delphine Desane & Ludovic Nkoth on a capsule of apparel featuring a statement piece from each that launched this past Tuesday alongside an art exhibit at the cultural retail goliath’s flagship store in New York.

b. Robert Moore

For b. Robert Moore in particular, this partnership represents a full circle for the Iowa-based artist, who as a recovering alcoholic and addict, has found peace through his artistic talent. Moore’s childhood in Iowa was spent growing up in a place that was predominantly white and not really diverse with a Black single father who was a Chinese martial arts teacher which is also pretty rare. 

Moore has a unique ability to find purpose in opening doors for connection, relation, healing, and discussion. Moore reclaims the narrative of independent and self-taught, boasting group exhibitions with prestigious galleries, including Allouche Gallery’s ‘Operation Blues’ and Band of Vices ‘Masterpiece II.”

In the past two years, the artist has grown his social media following from 600 to over 30K and has amassed celebrity fans such as Taraji Henson, Alton Mason, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and more.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Moore last week. You can check out the full interview below.

b. Robert Moore

ONE37pm: Congratulations on your partnership with KITH! How did this come to fruition?

Moore: Thank You! KITH actually selected my artwork, and it’s been a lot of support as I continue to build and develop my brand as an artist. The KITH team and I connected, and the opportunity aligned in terms of my culture and principles, so it was a great fit.

ONE37pm: This partnership represents a full-circle moment for you in terms of your life and career. Could you explain a little bit more for our readers?

Moore: Well, I’ve learned the power of saying no over these past couple of years to opportunities that I didn’t think were a good fit. I was able to create a piece and work with UNKNWN in Miami, and now I’m working with KITH. I’m proud to work with brands that align with my values, and it’s a full-circle moment with my art being featured on a global level. My piece was actually the first to sell out, which was amazing!

b. Robert Moore x KITH

ONE37pm: What was the thought process like in terms of creating this piece?

Moore: Well the piece was selected by KITH, so it was already created. There’s a lot of expression in this work that represents a lot of my life. I grew up in an interracial military household that was very conservative, and within the piece, you will see a boy with strings of hair as I have locks, and it’s about finding your roots. I quit my corporate job and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction, but I was able to find a healthier hobby through my art. Also if you look closely, you’ll see the year 1983 which is my birth year.

ONE37pm: As an African-American artist, what does it mean to you specifically for this partnership to come about during Black History month?

Moore: In 2020, I really saw a spotlight on the Black community and support that has fizzled out since. So I now carefully look for opportunities that are representative of our blackness and work.

ONE37pm: What can we expect from you in the future?

Moore: I want to continue to provoke the deepest thoughts in my work and challenge the status quo. I am going to keep looking for collaborations not just with big brands, but with smaller brands as well. It’s to be continued!

Make sure to keep up with Moore and all of his latest work on Instagram.

Sports Strength

Pro Skater Cairo Foster Gets Nerdy About Skating, Work and Navigating Two Worlds

Some skateboarders are known for their precision and consistency while others build off going bigger and redefining “gnarly.” Cairo Foster’s output as a professional skateboarder was neither and both at the same time—consistently gnarly, which is a rarity and something his skating communicated from his early footage to his final full-part. No drop off, no diminished skill, and always doing the hardest shit with enough playfulness to keep his skating fun and deceptively relatable in that you can’t do Cairo’s tricks, but if you could, that’s exactly how they’d look. 

There’s another constant in his career in that he’s always maintained a curiosity and engagement with the industry side of skating, eventually founding Populis which later became Popwar, as well as working on the brand side with Krux Trucks. While it’s not uncommon for a pro skater to break off and start a brand, Cairo’s curiosity and passion for skateboarding as well as his analytical perspective drove him deeper into the weeds of the skateboarding industry. Being able to traverse the streets as effectively as spreadsheets led him to working with adidas Skateboarding in digital marketing, social media, and now that he’s stepped away from the pro ranks, as the current Brand Manager for Mob Grip.

Zooming out, whether you’re watching his footage or looking at his brand work, you can see through-lines and again, consistency that reflects a lot of thought, attention to detail, and a sense of humor and lightness that grounds everything he takes on. It’s a nice reminder that whether you’re breaking yourself off to get a clip or pushing towards a deadline, getting shit done is always about finding a way to make it fun. 

That’s Cairo Foster and this is us getting nerdy about work, skateboarding, and how to navigate worlds that can feel so disparate at times.  

ONE37pm: You’ve mentioned moving around a lot in interviews. What were your parents doing for work that led to relocating so often?

Cairo Foster: My dad was in the Air Force. He did 20 years active duty and 16 years civil service. We moved a ton; sometimes I would move schools twice in a year. When I started high school, I spent a couple years in one place. I was getting into those formative years and it was split between New Mexico, Egypt then a couple years in Florida to finish high school. 

Did you notice how different the education systems were?

I was definitely too young to pick up on it. When I had my daughter and we were looking into elementary school options in Oakland, CA —Oakland has some really great schools and some really challenged schools—I was asked by a family member what my best experience was in school and I never even thought about that. I just remember being the new kid and getting in fights all the time.

But when I thought about it, in the context of my daughter, I realized my favorite school was in Egypt. It was an international school that was K through 12 and because it was private, the teachers were really invested in the students. When I moved back to the States for 11th and 12th grade, I went to public school, and then transferred into an art magnet school which was really good because it focused on creativity. 

So aside from constantly moving, you got fully immersed in skateboarding. Did that cause any friction with your parents, wanting to pursue skating instead of taking the college route?

It’s funny. I’ve thought about this a lot. I don’t really recall any moment where either of my parents were truly advocating for which college I was going to or anything like that. There was just an expectation that I was going to college because I was super-duper into everything science based. I was like, ‘I’m going to MIT!’ I look back on it and think, ‘Dude, you are so way off track to go into MIT. It takes more than just good grades.’ I had no idea.

The other reason I liked the 11th and 12th grade year at the magnet school is because there were a lot of skateboarders there who were super artistic—I never skipped school until I met all those quote unquote, “cool skaters”. And then when my parents were getting divorced, it was like, ‘I’m gonna skip school. I’m gonna go skateboard.’ It was really easy to pass all the tests or whatever.

I have this theory as to why so many pro skaters don’t go to college: it’s more than just the travel or obligations, because you can pull all that off and get a degree as some skaters have done. For a civilian, you go to school for four or eight years and it could be another four or eight before you see any benefit or even start to do what you really set out to do.

In skateboarding, you could go pro in high school, start getting checks, maybe even have a shoe or some big endorsements. Because you’re already doing it, it’s easy to think “fuck school.” Is that fair?

That’s very accurate. I dropped out of high school. I don’t have a four year degree. There’s a lot of reasons behind that. I chose to drop out of high school because they were going to flunk me completely out, even though I was getting straight As, because I wasn’t going and they had attendance requirements. I wasn’t emancipated but I didn’t live with my mom, so there were some legalities around it and I had to take care of my own shit. I thought it was better to not destroy my GPA, dropout, and get a GED. I had to start working more hours because I was living with a friend, and, to me, it was more enticing to go to California not necessarily to follow the dream of becoming a pro skater, but I knew how to take care of myself and make money, so why not do it in the best place to skate?

I couldn’t process the idea of how to work 30 to 40 hours, skate six to eight hours, because you’re so excited in California and then go to college. I eventually did go to college and completed a handful of years. I don’t have any degrees that I can be like, ‘Hey, check out this piece of paper, check out my document!’

I personally don’t like to talk about it too much because I’m a huge advocate of education but also, there’s a lot to be said about getting  that real life experience. A year of school, a year of life… could really help you rather than spending four years in a school aimlessly to get a degree you might not use and build a ton of debt. 


The flip side is that in skating there’s a lot of ways to monetize, but with that comes tough decisions. If you ride for something sketch people will look at you differently and that could impact all your sponsors. You managed to avoid that during your pro career. Was that hard to navigate?

To use a super tired word, I feel like it was really organic. I didn’t take a hard look at what my monthly income was from my sponsors until my daughter was coming and I had to provide for a third person and give them all the opportunities and tools for life. So yeah, that was heavy and I realized I needed to pay attention to it.

I never felt like I had the impact in skateboarding that required an agent or representation. I was making money and I could pay my taxes so it never felt like that bump was going to come. I think agents are great for advocating for their clients and finding opportunities though, because Lord knows there’s a bajillion opportunities out there. The amount of people I know that I’m surprised are sponsored by a CBD sponsor, I’m just like, ‘Oh, I would have never thought that that person would need backing from CBD.’

But hey, money takes care of our desires I guess. For me, I had to feel good about riding for someone. Can I look at myself in the mirror? That was my guiding principal. I’m not mad about anyone I rode for. 

It seemed like you were aware that you wanted to have ownership of your career really early on by starting companies. Was it that or just to have a vehicle for your ideas?

I wanted to start a company purely based on friendships and I think that’s what a lot of people do. Those super successful companies—whether it’s fabricated or real—like the Bones Brigade or Baker, they feel like a crew… they’re all homies. Riding for Real and being a part of Deluxe was amazing—everyone was super supportive. I saw how awesome Rasa Libre was and had grown from Matt Fields’ vision to working with Michael Leon and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a way to get Kenny Reed to ride for the same company as me?’

Looking back, I don’t think I would have asked Jim (Thiebaud) if Kenny fit on Real. To me, I just asked Jim if there was an opportunity at Deluxe to start a board company so that we could ride together. Deluxe had a lot going on before things changed with Rasa and Krooked was starting, so over time, I realized if I wanted this company to happen I’d have to look elsewhere. The opportunity came to talk to Giant Distribution who had New Deal which Kenny was riding for and we brought up the idea of doing a brand. I wasn’t telling myself, ‘Cairo, you got to figure out what the percentages are? What’s your business plan?’ It was just to start a brand with Kenny. 

So that ended up being Popwar which was a very different brand at the time. Can you talk a bit about that?

Popwar was originally called Populis and the idea was to inject—which was a bad idea in hindsight—a view on world politics. The name Populis was speaking to the population—let’s bring awareness to what’s really going on. It wasn’t like, based on conspiracy theories, it wasn’t based on right or left wing politics. It was trying to cut through the masses as a skate company and bring awareness to individuality.

I quickly learned you do need a plan and you do need to figure out percentages and you do need to get a team together and not just the homies you skate with. So working with Bod Boyle and Giant later brought in Yogi Proctor, and we started Popwar and got front row seats to understand how you take an idea and grow it with an actual plan. The problem was, I wasn’t fixated on running a company. I wanted to skate and travel. I think about Rick Howard. I’m the hugest Rick Howard fan and wished everyone of his parts were five times longer, but he also was able to create some of the greatest companies ever. I would imagine he had to sacrifice a handful of hours per week to focus on the company, as opposed to focusing on his skateboarding career. 

So Popwar was your first look behind the industry curtain. I’m jumping around, but you later worked for adidas which is a much more structured environment. I think something we champion almost to a fault in skating is that everything is DIY and isn’t formalized, but personally, there’s a lot of value in having both experiences. I remember walking into an advertising job with no training—not even knowing the language of advertising—and realizing I didn’t know shit and I learned so much so quickly because I was humbled.

It’s good to have that realization, because I think, whether it’s skateboarding, whether it’s politics, whether it’s religion, whether it’s sports, if you surround yourself with everyone that either thinks like you or thinks you’re the best person, you can’t learn. Sometimes you need to be around people who think 180 degrees differently than you to realize you can both cohabitate the same space of Earth, but you can learn a lot by exposing yourself to other ways of thinking and doing things. It can be weird going from a really core environment to something buttoned up, but don’t shut people off because they don’t wear the same clothes as you or have the same background.

Grind Productivity

Bill Gates’s Leadership Style: 5 Strategies He’s Famous For

What started as a passion to bring “a computer on every desktop and in every home,” Bill Gates has become a household name, as well as one of the richest people in the world.  Through perseverance, innovation, and hard work, Gates turned Microsoft into an uber-successful software company before stepping down as chairman in 2014. 

Greatness is never by accident, and being a strong leader is integral to many businesses’ success. Rumored to be a demanding boss who makes unrealistic asks of his team, it’s also been said that Gates is reasonable and well-liked, always championing his team’s achievements and encouraging dissent. 

Here’s a rundown of five leadership strategies Gates is known for.

He adapts to any situation.

In the early days of starting his company, Gates was so focused on becoming successful that he was a grueling boss that policed his employees, making sure they were working as hard as he was.  Known for regularly pulling all-nighters, Gates would even walk around the parking lot to see what time everyone had come into the office. “I worked weekends, I didn’t really believe in vacations,” Gates told BBC’s “Desert Island Discs”. “I knew everybody’s license plate so I could look out at the parking lot and see, you know when people come in.”

Knowing that this wasn’t a sustainable model (and that his employees didn’t appreciate this), Gates relaxed as the company grew. “When I was at Microsoft, I was tough on people I worked with. Some of it helped us be successful, but I’m sure some of it was over the top.” Gates wrote in his annual letter in 2019. “Learning to deal with your anger was something we all related to. It’s an important life skill, part of becoming a mature adult.”

He encourages curiosity.
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If you’ve ever worried that asking questions might display your lack of knowledge, rest assured that curiosity is a strength. Harvard Business Review has found,, “People with higher CQ are more inquisitive and open to new experiences. They find novelty exciting and are quickly bored with routine. They tend to generate many original ideas and are counter-conformist.”

Also know that you’re in good company.  When Bill Gates went back to his former high school to talk to students, he was asked what skills they needed to acquire to thrive in the coming years. “For the curious learner, these are the best of times because your ability to constantly refresh your knowledge with either podcasts or lectures that are online is better than ever.”
As we saw in 2020, the environment we are in can change at any time, forcing us to quickly adapt with new processes, climates, and industries. Staying curious can help us adjust faster and also aid in creating new solutions for problems.  One good way to stay curious? Read.  It’s a well known fact that Gates reads about 50 books a year, and credits it as the best way he learns.

He gives feedback.

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how you’re doing in a role if you don’t hear anything from your boss.  Scott MacGregor believed that was never an issue with his colleague: “A lot of people don’t like their jobs because they don’t get any feedback. You always knew what Bill thought about what you were doing. The goal, the motivational force for a lot of programmers, was to get Bill to like their product.”

Employees constantly seeking approval from their managers isn’t always beneficial either, but having regular touch bases and at the moment feedback can do a lot in aiding growth and keeping up morale and motivation.

He admits when he’s wrong.
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All leaders have made some mistakes, but it takes some real self-reflection to admit to it. 

Steve Wood, a programmer at Microsoft, believed that Gates’ ability to change his mind was unique. “He can be extremely vocal and persuasive in arguing one side of an issue, and a day or two later he will say he was wrong. There aren’t many people who have the drive, intensity and entrepreneurial qualities to be that successful who also have the ability to put their ego aside. That’s a rare trait.”
Personal matters weren’t the only thing that Gates admitted fault. When it came to business, he would admit that his greatest mistake was to allow Google to develop the Android phone. “These are winner-takes-all markets. So the greatest mistake ever is whatever mismanagement I engaged in that caused Microsoft not to be what Android is,” he acknowledged during a Village Global event in 2019. He went on to say that mistake potentially cost his company $400 billion dollars. “We would be the company. But oh well.”

He promotes collaboration.

Finding a vaccine for COVID has been a priority for Gates; in December 2020, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged an additional $250M to support “research, development, and equitable delivery of lifesaving tools in the global effort against COVID-19.” Gates also took this moment to call for global commitments and collaboration from different companies in various countries to help fight the pandemic. “…creating alliances, of Indian manufacturers and Western manufacturers, or different people working with antibody capacity, these types of collaborative forums have turned out to be super important,” he said in a video interview with the dean of Stanford School of Medicine. 

Working with others and utilizing different skill sets can be the difference in success and failure.  Gates knows that he can’t do it alone, even with all the money and resources he has access to, so he encourages partnerships in working towards a joint effort.

Leaders Style

An Ode to ‘Fruits,’ the Japanese Streetwear Magazine That Shaped Style

There’s no doubt that Japanese culture is filled with specific idiosyncrasies, some of which can be traced to its history as a deeply isolationist empire. Following World War II and America’s injection of a kind of hyper-capitalist ethos into their more traditional society, the strains of what appeared as bizarre to Westerners were hyper-boosted. Add onto that post-nuclear anxiety, impossibly speedy economic recovery and growing technological prowess, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for certain kinds of eccentricities.

This dynamic is perhaps most apparent in Japanese fashion, where elements of the country’s conservative attitudes consistently clash with a fever for newness. This extreme tension was captured most explicitly in the influential fashion magazine Fruits—a periodical that would eventually become deeply important around the globe.

Fruits was founded by photographer Shoichi Aoki, who in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s took to the streets of Tokyo to document the everyday styles he spotted in Japan’s most major metropolis. What Aoki found was a handful of ultra-specific micro-subcultures that were virtually nonexistent outside of that city—although, ironically, it was the publication’s international popularity that caused bastardized versions of these styles to be imported to the United States and beyond. In 2001, Western publisher Phaidon collected some of the magazine’s best images into books that garnered cult popularity in urban and suburban teens looking to Japan for counter-cultural inspiration. Certainly, Americans were drawn to what they biasedly perceived as “wacky”—and it was clear that these images in no way represented Japan as a whole—but its influence expanded nonetheless.

The images from Fruits remain absolutely striking to this day, and the styles captured are having a resurgence as everything from right before and after Y2K is living a second life in this current retro fashion cycle. The Japanese youths who created their own colorful interpretations of goth, grunge and punk cultures—which in some cases were morphed into their own new subcultures, like the visual kei, lolita and ganguro styles—should properly be hailed as major influences on the contemporary streetwear landscape. Harajuku, a small district in Tokyo filled with unique shopping destinations, quickly garnered a reputation as a hub of extreme fashion.

For those who grew up worshipping Fruits’ pages, it’s easy to see how deeply the Fruits brainworm dug its way into the zeitgeist. It’s not hard to spot the nods to Fruits in unfortunate places, like Hot Topic’s cheap Lolita dress rip-offs or the ubiquitous watered-down rave wear of Coachella attendees. But it also crops up in more opulent attempts at the lush and dramatic versions of dark glamor now seen in the second wave of nu-mutal and high-end haute couture—or in the revitalization of cyberpunk from brands like Dior. The gender-bending ethos of the Fruits children now deeply informs queer culture in the United States—so much so that recent pictures from New York’s nightlife scene are somewhat indistinguishable from Fruits’ more extreme imagery.

Fruits would ultimately shutter in February 2017. It was clear to Aoki that the colorful teenyboppers who roamed Harajuku’s streets had grown up—and that the youth of this new decade are far less inclined to extreme self-expression in the same way. “There are no more cool kids to photograph,” he said in an interview that announced the magazine’s end. Luckily, intrepid Instagrammers are now archiving Fruits looks on social media, preserving the legacy in a more up-to-date medium, and pages like the Tokyo Fashion Instagram continue in the Fruits tradition. 

Japanese streetwear has (for better or worse) since become much slicker, far more muted and streamlined in terms of color and construction, and increasingly organized around luxury brands. In fact, “Japan accounts for up to 30 to 40 percent of some global luxury brands’ profitability,” according to a 2017 study. The days of Fruits have come and gone, but—if you know what to look for—it’s obvious that we couldn’t have arrived at our current moment without Aoki’s vision.

Leaders Style

Inside Tyler, The Creator’s Intriguing Style Evolution

When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to watch Tyler, The Creator grow from a rebellious teen that was making outrageous music to a Grammy Award winner. While I enjoy his music, what really grabbed my attention was his style. It’s no secret that Tyler has been setting trends ever since his first televised appearance on the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon. The Supreme box logo hoodie would go on to become a wardrobe staple—and one of the most desirable pieces in streetwear. But this wouldn’t be the only mark Tyler would leave on the fashion world.

Tyler, The Creator’s Style Come Up

During his come-up as an artist, Tyler rocked bold colors paired with doodled Vans Old Skools. Patterns were a staple in his wardrobe: Whether it was polka dots, checks or stripes, he would wear it. The multi-media artist isn’t afraid to express himself, and his style shows that. What I love about him is that he dresses for no one but himself.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Golf Wang Phase

Later on, the artist started venturing more into fashion by introducing his own brand label, Golf Wang. The company became a lifestyle to his hardcore fans, which allowed them to dress like Tyler. There was a period where Tyler was a real poster boy for Golf Wang, and knowing what kind of effect he had on his fans helped him grow the brand to what it is today. To this day, you can still spot him wearing Golf Wang, his staple “G” logo hat never leaves his side, and he always wearing in one-of-one pieces that don’t get a public release.

Golf Wang
Golf Wang Fall/Winter ‘14 Lookbook

Post ‘Flower Boy’

Fast forward to 2018, and Tyler shows a different side of himself. After the success of his album Flower Boy, it felt like he evolved overnight into a more mature figure that would pivot from extremely loud colors and patterns to a more sophisticated yet fresh streetwear look. More elevated footwear paired with cropped pants would become a staple look for Tyler and naturally would become one of the most popular style choices across his fanbase.

Tyler, The Creator from his song ‘What The Fuck Right Now’

I know they see me. Pants got a flood, lil’ bit Katrina. Oh, you wearing Vans and Supreme this season? Stop lying to yourself, me the reason.

Tyler didn’t make any media appearances until he announced his newest project, IGOR. Once published, Tyler was ready to come out of the shadows and do his press run for the album. I was thrilled to see how his style had shifted. Seeing him go from loud T-shirts and wild patterns to tailored blazers and sweater vests signaled that Tyler had reached a different level. Don’t get me wrong, he still keeps it casual by pairing polo shirts with sneakers, but the way he was executing these looks were still more mature than anything we’ve seen from him before.

Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Dior

Nothing lasts forever, and in the current stage of streetwear’s popularity in the mainstream media, we are bound to see a shift. Sneaker culture is shifting towards more formal footwear like loafers, hoodies are traded for blazers and wearing suits is cool again. Seeing Tyler follow this progression just solidifies that this shift is really happening, and I am here for it.