"Ibn Jasper is the man behind some of the most influential men in fashion. A skilled barber, he was the most sought after hairdresser in his hometown of Chicago before a then obscure Kanye West was added to his clientele list. Now, over a decade later, Kanye West’s relies on his image consulting and Lupe Fiasco says he gets as fly as him (“Paris, Tokyo”). We recently caught up with Ibn to discuss his collaboration with the Quintin hat company, his style influences and how he inspires his G.O.O.D Music family."
Persona Magazine: How did you link up with Quintin for the collaboration?
Ibn Jasper: The collaboration with Quentin came through My-kel Monroe. He has a relationship with Sam Lamb, who owns a factory in Downtown Los Angeles and they’ve made a lot of stuff for a lot of local and international brands. [Sam] also had started the Quintin hat company. Me and My-Kel were talking, he has Personamagazine.net and I have my own blog, and brainstorming for different ways of marketing, promoting, and monetizing on our web sites. He brought me down to the factory and said “I know you do fashion so I just wanted to bring you down to let you see all the stuff that [Sam Lamb’s] factory could do.” And that’s when I learned about they were doing the Quintin hats. I know they did the 5 panel fitted, which is the hat that they got patented. So we were just going back and forth and coming up with ideas, and we came up with the idea to do the hat to be an accessory to go with the Louis Vuitton sneaker.PM: Where did you draw you inspiration from in creating “The Jasper”?
IJ: I drew the inspiration to create “The Jasper” from Kanye’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton. The high-top shoe he named after me was the main inspiration for the design.
PM: Did you have any creative influence in the Louis Vuitton “Jasper”?
IJ: Yea. Just in the terms of, Kanye would like let me see all the stuff he was working on and you know, I’d put my little two-cents in. At the time he was designing it I didn’t know that he was gonna name it after me. He actually surprised me with the name. When the names actually got released on the Internet, he called me that morning. He was just like, “Oh! You didn’t see the names? Oh, you didn’t know I named it after you?” He likes to surprise people and stuff like that. I just put my little two-cents in because I’m like, part of Kanye’s creative control team.PM: How is the Quintin “The Jasper” different from other popular fitted caps?
IJ: It’s a 5 panel fitted. A 5 panel hat is a military inspired cap that was made popular by Polo Ralph Lauren in the 90’s. The Polo 5 panel hat always had an adjustable strap in the back. Quintin actually got it patented. They used the baseball cap binding with the fitted format, which is the reason I wanted to do it with this company because they were the only company that could make this cap.
PM: How do you feel having designed your own product?
IJ: A sense of accomplishment. I feel like I’ve had a child a little bit, definitely a sense of accomplishment. If feels good to have something that was just an idea and seeing it come to fruition, being able to hold it in your hands.PM: Did the design process spark an interest for future collaborations? Possibly your own line?
IJ: Correct. This is the first step in my grand scheme, to test the market and see how the public will receive it. Definitely more to come from me. I’m in my mid-thirties. I’m an old-school cat. I’m not like all of these young cats who talk a lot. I’m not going to divulge all my details.
PM: You began you career as Kanye West’s personal barber, how did you grow to become his image consultant? Do you have a greater influence on Kanye?
IJ: It’s the same thing. You have to consult the person before you cut their hair. Think about your relationship with your hair stylist. Does the person just do your hair, or are they like your friend, your consultant, and psychiatrist? I’ve been Kanye’s barber for 14 years, so I’m like a part of his family.
PM: How big is your influence behind the scenes of G.O.O.D Music?
IJ: Ah man, you would probably have to ask the G.O.O.D Music artist that. I mean I’m cool with all of them so I guess I have a…I wouldn’t say a big influence, but I have some sort of influence. I’m cool with all of those guys. They ask for advice, I tell them. Sometimes they take it, sometimes they don’t.
PM: What sort of influence would you say you’ve had on G.O.O.D Music?
IJ: Just being an older dude because we have a lot of younger artist on the roster. Except for Rash, he’s like an old grandpa. Grandpa Common (laughs), put that in there though. I guess I got a little influence.
PM: You are constantly around some of the most influential people in music and fashion, has that affected your style?
IJ: Yes and no. It does because of the access. I do actually get to go to Paris and Tokyo. I get to go into the stores in those cities. That’s the ‘yes’ part. And then the ‘no’ part is, even though I do see that, I still have to vibe with it. You know what I’m saying? It still has to connect with my personal style. But at the same time, there would’ve been things I never seen because I wouldn’t have been able to go to Paris had I not been in the circle with those type of people.
PM: Tell us, how many trends have you had a hand in popularizing?
IJ: Definitely the comeback of designs in haircuts ‘cause of all the designs I was putting in Kanye’s hair.PM: What are you ultimately trying to accomplish in the fashion industry and what would you want your influence to be?
IJ: I pretty much have my influence. I mean, with the things I’m planning in the future we will see what my influence will be. I can’t really say what it would be now. I’m just happy with dropping the first product, getting a good response. I’m working on phase two instead of phase three. The energy’s good and I’m just really happy with that. I’m just kind of riding it out.
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