Meet Akili Cooper- Columbus, Ohio designer and the creator of the Jahi by Akili high fashion brand who is somewhat of a child prodigy. He has been sketching since the sixth grade, sewing since the ninth grade (under the watchful eye of his seamstress aunts) and designing for and showing in fashion shows since the age of 16. Akili has no signs of slowing down now, while choosing to focus on expanding his clientele, finishing school and naming a fragrance after his super supportive mom! Akili took the time out to answer All the Fly Questions...
WHAT DO YOU DO AND HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START?
My brand Jahi is a custom based women's high fashion brand. I started in fashion at age 16 in 2010.
WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR “BIG BREAK”?
I don't believe I've had that "BIG BREAK" moment yet, but a moment that put fire to my drive was being apart of New York Fashion Week (NYFW). It's a dream for most designers to show in that city, so to be able to be apart twice was really cool.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT SO FAR?
Being apart Of 51 fashion shows before the age of 25 is pretty big, it shows consistency. I'm most proud that I found something to be passionate about.
I get inspired most from life experiences, it's the little things in life that pulls creative ideas. I always dress strong women in my head, women like J. Lo, Tina Turner, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Beyonce & others inspire me while designing.
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR TALENT?
It wasn't until some time in high school that I knew designing is how I wanted to spend most of my creative life.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO (DRESS, SHOOT, STYLE, MODEL FOR/PICK ONE ACCORDING TO YOUR PROFESSION)?
Hands down, Beyonce! She has been one of my first muses even before I started fashion. She represents being a super woman very well. She's everything my brand represents: a mother, business woman, a showgirl and a wife.
Gianni Versace, Beyonce, Christian Dior, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jackson
IS THERE A MOVIE OR VIDEO THAT YOU REALLY LOVE THE FASHION?
The Stepford Wives (2004) and Mahogany (1975)
DO YOU HAVE A FAVE SONG TO GET READY WITH?
Diddy, Biggie & Mase- Mo, Money, Mo Problems, Beyonce- Crazy in Love and any song From BadBoy
I love spending time with family and my few close friends. I love the art museum and attending other designers fashion shows.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE STARTING OFF IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
Don't compromise your creativity and know your worth.
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK?
Facebook: Jahi Designs