Custom made Bow Ties, Chicago's Knits and Knotts

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I recently  sat down with up and coming Chicago designer Augustine Emuwa, I've  known him for some years as a MC on the scene usually working with Producer/Mc Rashid Hadee. A few months back I was over in London checking my twitter, when I saw his post saying he  would  make me a custom Bow Tie. I could pick my own materials shape etc... Fast forward a few months and Knits and Knotts is off the ground, and i'm wearing his "Two Tonys" navy/denim Bow Tie. Be sure to check out the website launch Feb. 22, 2011. www.knitsandnotts.com

HOW DID YOU GOT INTO THE MUSIC?

I
actually got into music at 7 years old.  During the time, my mom and I
were living in a shelter, and in interacting with some of the kids that
were older than me, I found rap.  The first song I memorized was Wild
Wild West.  My mom had promised me a birthday party with this song as
the theme, so of course in an effort to shine, I studied it.
Unfortunately, the party never happened, but the rhyming did...  I kept
it a secret from my dad, who later took custody of me at 11.  As a Nigerian, he thought that all things urban i.e. basketball, hip hop,
etc. were recipes for the worst.  I would record Big l and Biggie(Smalls) tunes
in silence off the radio.  My ability to freestyle caught fire in 8th
grade when after being called an "african booty scratcher" i quickly
made up a rhyme about one of my classmates as a joke.  My ability to
follow the rhythm of a beat came easy, maybe since I had come up between
two cultures of very soulful music.  Music, became my keys to
character, and proved be apart of my persona through out high school,
college, etc. Since my pubescent life, i've used music as a segway to
almost everything..  

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HOW DID YOU GOT INTO FASHION?


My
mom was very visual lady.  her father taught her that even when you
have nothing, never look it.  She carried this over to me as a kid. In
addition, my dad, who attended boarding school in heavily British
influenced Nigeria, was into very Ivy league-ish appearances.  He took
me to NYC in eight grade as well as the UK.  These trips changed my
taste in clothing forever. I stopped looking at my dad as un-hip and
started really giving him the credit he deserved. He was dapper! As
I've grown up, and established my own taste, i come to realize that it
was influenced by my moms craving for clothing and my dads collection of
well tailored gentleman's collectibles.  

WHY NECK WEAR?

The
accessories finish the look.  Tailoring and structure is important, so
of course blazers were my first choice, but with the amount of company's
that do that, I felt that there weren't a whole lot of things that I
could do as classic, well structured, menswear until I made a name for
myself.. Also, its my personal belief that masculine men don't have a
whole lot of options in terms of being creative with their look without
looking risque.  I decided to do my research on the elements of the
modern man.  I was moved by bow ties and how their shapes accentuated
the structure in our faces- as long as they aren't clip-ons.  I decided
to start making them after years of collecting, as these things were
really hard to find, especially in the midwest. My goal was to create
neck wear that would make clothing the accessory, while still "upholding
the structure and form of a well tailored man.  In my opinion, I make
pieces that can a person can wear to get married of buried....  But at
the same time, they're trendy enough to capture the eye of the fashion
forward.  Those consumers don't even realize that their buying something
they'll be wearing at fifty..  

YOUR INSPIRATION?

The
blues, jazz, east coast ivy league education in which I was never
entitled to, hip-hop, art, history- when clothing wasn't made for
minorities so we had to work with what we had and ended up making it
look good, before the urban clown suits that pretty much labeled our
characters were created, urban life, old movies, Nigeria, education,
college, fashion, etc.  

HOW CAN PEOPLE GET A BOW TIE?

The website will be public Feb 22nd, if you cant wait until then, there are a few odd and ends Here. Also follow me on twitter...

WHAT WAS THE LIGHT BULB  MOMENT?

When
I ditched the outsourced seamstresses I dealt with in the beginning and
decided to learn how to sew, thanks to my sister Suzette Opara over at
828 collection for encouraging me... 

WHATS YOUR TAKE ON CHICAGO FASHION?
Progressive,
clean, yet unbalanced,- The demeanor of Chicago cats is simple, "fly is
important."  There are so many types of "fly" and for some reason,
these different levels of clean cutters haven't merged and meshed their
perception of style so that we all can really make noise in the world of
fashion.  If you notice, we've got some of the best in the game (ie
kanye, common, d wade) - Its seems like once a chi-town cat makes it,
gets exposed, they tend to gravitate toward really ill looks.  I want to
see more of that here just in general..  Males here and many other
places can be intimidated by fashion and stick with whats directly in
front of them, that is, until there girl puts them into stuff that she
likes, which may or may not even go with their personality.  Men need to
explore clothing and expression, exploration means that you are exposed
and through exposure, you find yourself.... 

CTA Radio interview with Knits and Knotts

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    Pugs Atomz

    Pugs Atomz is an internationally known MC and self proclaimed ‘professional talker’ known for creating lyrically braggadocios and socially conscious hip hop soul music with a touch of blues. His goal: to document himself, his friends and the like minded experiences and individuals he encounters through video, art and music. Atomz was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania to a musically driven family. His father Vincent Price, a radio DJ, and his mother Marti Thompson, a painter, introduced Atomz to a colorful variety of music often inviting artists like Oscar Brown Jr., poets and visual artists into the household to provide a sense of culture. Inspired, Pugs recited his firrst poem and earned his title as a ‘rapper’ from his peers in the 5th grade; already a man of the people. After his debut performance Atomz regularly wrote and immersed himself in music. He began to listen to and emulate his cousins’ artistic style, but did not have many hip hop mentors throughout high school until he came across Chi Rock Nation and Dem Dare (two big Hip Hop movements in Chicago). Determined, Atomz became his own leader improvising beats and experimenting with new instruments while recording songs on his fathers’ stereo. In the mid-90’s Atomz paved the path for current Chicago artists like Psalm One, Qwel, Mike Eagle, freestyle champ Sam I Am, pianist Kenny Keys, visual artist Statik and Hebru Brantley when he created a group called the Nacrobats; a crew of over 100 artists known for throwing parties, free-style battles and graffiti art. The Nacrobats released several tapes on EnOhEs Music including Inverted Reality, We Equator and Network of Stars. The group also released a proper album on Birthwrite Records, Co-owned by Atomz, called Always. In 2000 Atomz dropped his rst solo album called Thanks for not rhyming under Galapagos 4 Records. The album created a loud buzz in the underground scene and fueled his emergence in the United States. Atomz has continued to release and produce solo albums including 24 Years Later on Birthwrite Records (2002), the grati fueled Playing with Matches on Audio 8 (2004), Conversations with a Chamelion on Gravel Records(2006) and Kinda Like A Rapper on Coalmine Music/Fatbeats (2010). His latest album The Decade dropped on BBE Records in 2010 and served as a best of his releases in the 2000's. Atomz has participated in music festivals like the Chicago World Music Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Hip Hop Kemp Festival, Boogie Brain Festival, SXSW, Rock Steady Crew, and Scribble Jam and has been mentioned in publications like Rolling Stone, International Hip Hop Magazine, Rap Pages, Chicago Tribune and the Sun Times and has hosted parties and screenings for major companies including MySpace and Adidas. He has been featured on BET’s The Deal, MTV 2 Video Rotation and on taste making websites like Okay Player, Nah Right, 2dopeboyz, Hypebeast and XXL. Atomz has made important connections and accomplished his goal of documenting his collaborations with likeminded artists. He has worked with countless artists including the world renowned DJ Vadim, DJ Hitek, KRS One, Sadat X, Naledge (Kids in the Hall), Fokn Bois (Ghana), Fat Freddys Drop, Abstract rude, Kid Kenevil, DJ Kentaro, 6 Toys, Tall Black Guy, Rashid Hadee, Pimps of Joy Time, Cap D, Juice, Twista, DVA, Grant Parks, Add 2, Dj Graffiti , Astronote, Fluent, Maker and Binkis Recs. Between producing albums regularly and touring the world Atomz has remained cultured and active in the community. He co-founded CTA Radio on the legendary 88.5fm WHPK (the rst station to play rap in Chicago). He also spent 4 years hosting and editing a the Chicago based Barbershop Hip Hop tv show. Atomz edits his own videos as well as others’ using skills he developed as a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) studying painting and video. He has taught children in after school programs on subjects like rap, T-shirt design and mural painting and won an NAACP ACT-SO Award for painting. In addition, with a background in urban marketing, clothing and lifestyle, Atomz has designed exclusive clothing and hats for companies like Afro Wear, American Needle, and Brimlo. Atomz is currently part of a musical collaboration with DJ Vadim and Sabira Jade: The Electric. He met DJ Vadim in New York City in 2006 at the CMJ Conference. After two of Atomz’ songs were featured on Vadim’s You Can’t Lurn Imaginashun album in 2009 he was invited on a worldwide tour to promote the album with UK soulstress Sabira Jade, who previously worked with Vadim. The Electric released their debut 16-track album on OGS Records called Life Is Moving, which is full of energetic hip hop, soulful lyrical verses and killer electric beats. Bio by www.biobasement.com

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