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Houston native Michael Onipede, known to his followers as @mike.htx, takes a distinct approach as a creative director and model. Creating his own world of visuals through detailed storytelling, his content goes a step beyond the typical Instagram fare.
As someone who shapes their own trends, Onipede was a natural fit for the RESERVE program, JBW’s collection of innovative, super limited edition timepieces. He took the new RESERVE Amethyst for a spin, weaving a tale that gives a new meaning to the idea of a kid in a candy shop.
Along with the editorial, we tapped Michael to talk about inspiration, keeping things fresh, and preparing for a creative reset with the new year.
How did you get interested in fashion?
I would say I've always had influences around me. My dad was always very stylish, and I think I picked up some things from him. When I was younger, I lived abroad in Lagos, Nigeria. There were a lot of different styles and just everyday wear that I would pick up on and find very interesting. Even fast forwarding into the past five to 10 years, I've just grown up around people who've always been very stylish. Family has been my biggest inspiration on that level, but in the wider perspective, I'd say it's artists like Kanye West, celebrities like Virgil – people of that nature who had these very big influences on the culture.
You have a really distinct vision as a creative director. How do you keep things fresh and different?
If I have an idea and I execute the idea, in the future, I try my hardest to avoid anything related to that concept. For example, I’ve been working a lot with very big groups. I may revisit that idea, but I don’t want people to expect what’s coming with my work. I don’t like giving people expectations with what I do. If you expect something, it just won’t feel new.
Can you tell us a bit about your concept for this RESERVE shoot?
The photographer that I work with, Hope Obadan, and the stylist I work with, Sirdonkay, we always are throwing ideas here and there. Hope, he actually brought up the idea of, what if I'm a mannequin and there’s a kid. I thought that was really cool and we went back and forth on that idea.
With this one, a kid and his father are out walking through a busy city, and they spot this mannequin, and the mannequin has the watch on him. The kid is infatuated with how beautiful the watch is, and he wants to for himself.
As we come to the end of the year, what advice would you give to people who need a creative reset?
Honestly, I know a lot of creatives tend to burn out very quickly because of what expectations they set for themselves, or what they feel may be expected of them. I would personally just say to take a step back and try to remember why you decided to make your type of content, or art.
When you reflect, then you understand that there is so much time ahead of us and perfecting our craft. There is literally no reason to rush, you know, and that's what I always like to tell myself.