ALWDNY . Mr. Quimari I. F. Majette
2016 | Location: Midtown - NYC
WELL THOUGHT . Part 1 : What is the defining principle you attempt to live your life by?
I think I would say—the defining principle I live my life would be; if it doesn't feel right, don’t do it. I think as humans, we are emotional. So most times, the truth is something that we do not want to hear. It may be whats right—but if you really think about it, nobody really likes the truth. Because, we take that and are instantly offended. One of the teachings my pastor talks about is, the great sign of man or woman that is godly, is that they don’t get offended easily. Because what ever someone says to you, does to you, has been projected onto you. But you being a godly human being, is that I cannot affect what you think about me because I am one of God’s children and whatever you think, is all good. So, I would say everything I do is based off emotion. Sometimes its bad. Because sometimes you can't really control how you get angry or whether or not your sad about certain things. I do tend to dwell on things a lot more because of that but emotion is key.
Part2 : What key decision in your life would you define as the turning point or pivotal moment that brought you to your current state of success?
Moving to California. If I can really narrow it down to one thing, that was the biggest thing I have ever done. It allowed me to one, get out of my current situation. I grew up in Newark, New Jersey. So, it is what it is. California allowed me to—reinvent myself. My mom was like, “Make a decision.” I got arrested, she was like, “What are you going to do?” So, as a family we decided it will be a better place for me and we did that.
California for me, when I got there—I was different than everybody. Obviously from the east coast out there on the west coast, so I dressed differently. Carried myself differently. Immediately, the first thing that came about was, “You look different.” Look to me wasn't mainly skin color, it was the way I dressed, the way I act, the way I carry myself. So in that, I was like, “I am not going to completely disregard this east coast me.” I’m just going to adapt. I’m going to take this west coast and east coast and merge it together. What the east coast taught me was, its very in your face. If you dress—you dress. California kind of striped me of that because its so hot. I was in like shorts and T-shirts. So I was like, “What am I going to do, because I still want to get dressed?” It was taking this simplified lifestyle that I had or acquired and taking it and blending it with this street aspect of me.
WELL READ . What was the first book or books that were of a major influence to you?
Its a couple. First one, would be “Growing Up X” by Ilyasah Shabazz. Could you imagine being Malcom X’s daughter? When I bought it, I was like “I am not a girl so I do not know how I am going to relate to this.” Its her growing up in this military type of—home. She did not talk bad about him, she just explained that it was tough. It was hard. But he gave her this sense of pride and a sense of power. Malcolm X does not get the same type of respect Dr. King gets. Thats because he was very in your face, very militant, very “This is my thought process and I’m not going to lower my voice. I’m not going to change my words. I’m not going to promote anything else than what I think should happen.” If we really gave them the platform to really complete their works, after said controversies, we as a people, would be way more accomplished. Then we would realize we don't need all this other stuff. All it takes is me, an opinion, and a strong vision and I can do things. I can forge a way in this world and I can affect peoples lives.
Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield is the the main character in the book. He’s this kid, that is kind of privileged and goes off to a boarding school. The entire time he’s there, he’s brilliant. Really bright kid—but he just doesn't want to do anything. He doesn’t agree with anything the teachers are talking about. He doesn't agree with any of the teachings at school. He doesn't conform at all. He gets kicked out, comes home and his mom is like “What are you going to do? I sent you away to this school so you could do better and you can. Why are you choosing not to?” His whole thing was, “I don't want to. That doesn't make me happy.” I read that book every summer but what I take from that book usually is, if I don't want to, I’m not going to do it. Whether its beneficial to them or not, people do what they want to do. Its a good book, you should read it.
I was taught that being happy, usually brings fortune. Obviously, you cannot live off of happiness but when you’re working somewhere where your happy, you work better.” I think we have a righteous God and he, gives you things when you need them. Theres a reason why right now I am not making a million dollars. I would probably be a mess. I would not be a good christian, I would probably be a mess. I look at that as, we receive when we're ready to. We get things when we're ready. It used to get me down that I wasn't rich and couldn't afford to go to Parsons and then intern for two years and still maintain life. Then after that get a job making $23,000 a year as a design assistant. But—at the same time, though I didn't have all these things, I was still exposed to all these things. I still went to FIDM, I still had an internship. At the same time, I was working full time and going to school full time. I wasn't the kid who was able to just go to school and then in the summer, intern and then come back to school. I just had to make it work for myself.
WELL SPOKEN . What public figure over the past 30 years do you most respect and admire?
The two answers I want to give are probably so cliche’ but I literally can’t think of anyone else. So it must be a reason. I would say three people, fortunately two of them are rappers. Ye’ is, who Ye’ is. I am not going to take that away from him but he is, who he is. Barack Obama—Drake.
If we look at Drake’s career, this is someone who made his way in a industry that technically should not like him. He's half white—Jewish and was a childhood actor, but he’s a rapper. All of that, makes Drake who he is. He decided that I am going to be “me.” I’m going to be a rapper who is not rapping about shooting. I’m going to rap about the fact that I like strippers. I was a childhood actor. On the surface his story sounds so like—easy. Again, he is half black. His Dad was incarcerated, so he didn't have him in the beginning. He took care of his mother. His mother was sick. What happened was he took care of his mother with his acting money. Every interview that he gives, I read and I really listen to his music. I think that it is amazing that he was able to overcome all this and he’s Canadian!? I’m all about stories. I care about “How did you get here?” At what point did you decide that “I am about to make the world love me?” And what made you feel the world was going to love you?
Kanye because he single handedly allowed me to feel comfortable dressing how I wanted to dress. I have never “dressed like Kanye.” If I really think about, I didn't wear two polos at the same time and carry a Louis Vuitton backpack. That was not me. But did I wear polo shirts? Yeah. But I wore them with a rolled up pair of A.P.C’s and some Vans and they’re like “Oh, you look like Kanye.” I’m like, “Thats just because you are just not use to seeing this!” I think Kanye allowed “us” to be “us.” I say “us” because I feel like he just affects the world.
To speak on Barack—people say “You voted for Barack Obama because he’s black?” Yup. If I really think about it, in the beginning—its was, “black President.” The year I turned 18, was his first year running. So that couple of months before election time, I went from “black President” to educated black man, to educated black man from the hood, to educated black man from the hood with a vision and purpose. If I really think about it; no, I’m not Barack Obama. I didn't go to Oxford and all. I didn't do all these things that he is doing. But his story—is still very similar. He came from pretty much nothing. Technically, all the odds were against him. But at what point did you decide “I am going to run for President? I'm going to be this person and not only affect the world in four years, but I’m going to affect the world when I’m gone." Because now there are millions of kids who feel as though, they can do whatever they put their mind to. Simply because you decided to run for President and do it in a correct way. He was not boasting about being a “black President.” Al Sharpton and these other guys that ran, they were like, ”I’m going to be the first black President.” Barack, was like “I’m going to be the 44th President.” Obviously racism is apart of everything. I don’t want to be a, “black designer.” I want to be a designer. You don’t look at Marc Jacobs and be like he’s a “white designer.” No—he’s a designer. A very talented one. So for me, Barack was just—inspiration.
WELL GROOMED . What was the first thing you were taught as a young man about your appearance?
I was raised by my mom. Not only by my mom, but just women in general. My mom has a lot of sisters. They have children who are female. So being around them, I always wanted to be “The Man.” I’m the only boy. I was literally in kindergarten, not with a backpack but with a briefcase. She always treated me as a little man. She was like, “Your a man.” Subconsciously, I went into that as who do I see as a man and how did they develop themselves and did they carry themselves? Thats where the briefcase came about, thats where wearing a tie with a shirt tucked in. That’s where all that came from. For me a lot of times it was this role and this society that affected how I wanted to be presented and how I wanted people to view me. A lot of times we say, “I don't care what people think about me.” But, I do. Well, especially in New York City. You may never see this person that sees you, again. They don't know who you are—but they see you. So they are going to remember something. They can or they can’t. Your going to be a memorable person or your not. They can walk a block from now and be like, “That guy had on this!” or “That guy had on this, this way!” To me, thats amazing. That person, doesn't know my name, but they’re going to remember me. They may see me again and be like, “I know you from somewhere?” Just because—they saw me. I think thats so powerful. Visually, getting dressed is an art. We’re artist. Its just amazing to me! Nothing makes me happier than getting dressed!
WELL DRESSED . What persons, genre of music, or era have most influenced your personal style?
I’d say its a blend of—the 70’s and right now. Well, the present/future, I’d say although the 90’s and 80’s were great. If I were to say what genre of music affects me the most, its rap. There is not a day I do not listen to rap music. I may listen to other genres of music. I may listen to like some rock, some pop, I do listen to jazz, I may even listen gospel music. But its like rap, is still a major part of my day. It’s the way the music makes me feel. Its not really about what they’re saying. No, I’m not Gucci Mane! But, I enjoy listening to someone talk about having everything they ever dreamed of. Maybe it is a Bentley and three chains that equal someones home in Atlanta. But this person, has everything they've dreamt and they’re singing about it and their happy and proud about how they got there.
To go back to the 70s—Marvin Gaye. Its not like he was wearing flashy stuff but he wore things according to—how he felt that read unity. He was wearing deep V-neck shirts before any body else was. He had the taco meat out not long ago. He was wearing skinny jeans with boots and it was a feeling of—this is what I am comfortable in. For me being a designer, I care about how things look on me and my body type. I’m not the tallest person in the world. So, I can’t wear really baggy clothes because it just makes me look short. I’ve always known that. So I have always dressed accordingly. I’ve always dressed to my body type. Sometimes I think as men, its overlooked. I go to the gym. So sometimes I want to look a certain way in a suit. I don't care about “Oh that’s not comfortable.” or “You should have a couple of pleats and your jacket should be big because you can move around…” I can do all that in a slim suit. I’m not in a suit to be comfortable. I’m in a suit because—I need to be in a suit right now. This occasion calls for me to be dressed and give off this image of being “well dressed.” At this moment, I need to be perceived as put together. And for me, a suit does that. There are also other items of clothing that can do that but a suit—if someone was like “Pick one thing in your closet and thats the only thing you could wear for the next month.” I would go to this black peaked lapel suit that I have, I would wear that thing everyday. Because I can always look put together. If I needed to take a layer off, I could wear a T-Shirt with the pants and a pair of sneakers and I can go to a party. I can be in the club like that. A suit to me is the core of a man—and it should fit well. It should show off your physique as a man. You’re a man for a reason.
Portraits by: ChevalierCreative.