What I love about Theophilus is that you can’t put him, his style or his music in a box. He wants to be able to connect to people everywhere because of how eclectic, passionate and thirsty he is for knowledge, “like a sponge.” The outfit for the cover of his first album, “Timez are Weird These Days,” is inspired by Leon Ware, “a black jazzy dude who wrote Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Want You’ record,” Theophilus explains. And despite the skeptics, who wondered why he wanted to look like an old man in a black suit and a hat with gold chains, he followed his gut and resisted being told to wear what would appeal to kids in Supreme. He attributes his chutzpah to his Auntie Cleo who dressed him in a pink tuxedo for church, where he had to stand in the front pew. I wonder how Auntie Cleo would feel about the aesthete in Theophilus, who knows just how to pull off a Rick Owens pant/skirt combo with a wide brimmed, rabbit leather Rochembeau hat (that he himself inspired the designers to make).
Unique is what you have to be to break in the music business today, as “it is no longer this kid is good and get him dressed by a stylist… You have to wake up in the morning and have your own agenda,” Theophilus says. He stops at nothing when it comes to sartorial details– he is a designer as much as a musical artist and alters everything to his exact fit and refined liking, even admitting that as a kid, he would take his pair of Jordan’s over a million dollars. An example of his keen eye for detail can be seen in Theophilus’ custom navy blazer that has gold buttons going up the sleeve, green felt under the collar and touches of royal patches from English flea markets on the pocket. He complements the jacket with DIY Ksubi’s, that have crocodile on the back pocket and monogrammed velvet slipper that he designed.
On the shoot, we got a hint of Theophilus’ taste for the finer things in life, like one of his latest songs that includes a sample from the seminal “Dance Hall Days,” as well as his Prada suede argyle jacket that he wears with handmade camo leather pants. However, despite his success, Theophilus clearly remembers his days of couch surfing and making his first record on 12 dollars a day eating wings and fries. I am inspired to pray for money to fall from the sky like Theophilus does, but his overriding desire to make music that will stick with his generation is his true source of wealth, studded Louboutins and all.
Video edited by John Mattia.