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ALL ABOUT "THE GIRLS" - INTERVIEW WITH K.NGSLEY

ALL ABOUT "THE GIRLS" - INTERVIEW WITH K.NGSLEY

Kingsley Gbadegesin is a charmingly vibrant, first-generation Nigerian-American who uses fashion to liberate and redefine Black, queer, femme bodies. Born of activism, his brand K.NGSLEY seeks to uplift Black, POC and queer communites, “the people who built the US and its culture in the first place.” One look at the sleek and sexy gender-neutral designs and you’ll understand why K.NGSLEY quickly gathered a cult following. He’s adorned celebrities and socialites galore with strappy fluid tank tops, which no doubt make the wearer feel like a superhero. It all started in 2019 at a party called “Fist”, where a masterfully cut up white tank top became the gotta have item for every femme fashionista (fist tank). Hailing from major fashion houses — Versace, Celine and Loewe— Kingsley has applied his design knowledge to build a self-made brand, which just launched an expansive collection this past November: ready-to-wear, accessories… and boots! The 701 jewelry line (I’m obsessed) is dedicated to PrEP education, specifically within queer Black communites. Beyond supporting his network through fabulous fashion, Kingsley has contributed to numerous charities, where he also maintains a physical presence. Ultimately, the brand is synonymous with the activism that is part of Kingsley’s lifestyle, and I don’t see that ever changing. 

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What were you doing before the famous “fist tank”? 

Before K.NGSLEY, I was a sales and marketing/events consultant. 

In November of 2021 you launched your first expansive collection C1A1: Collection One Act One…  Tell me about the journey from viral tank to global fashion darling?

From the beginning of K.NGSLEY, it’s been a blessing to see how things have scaled. When we first launched there was a huge thirst for more from stylists and stockists who couldn’t keep our tanks in stock. I wanted to make sure the expansion was carefully thought through and begin building a team to help bring the expansion to life. 

C1A1 COLLECTION

Versace, Celine, Balenciaga, Loewe; you’ve worked at some major fashion houses. What was your biggest takeaway from your time there?

They all taught me vital skills which I use everyday to run my business. From operations, sales and marketing, even customer service. 

Besides K.NGSLEY, do you have favorite brands?

My favorite brands at the moment are Leak NYC and Aisling Camps, but forever fav is Dries. 

C1A1 COLLECTION

Your mission is steeped in uplifting oppressed communities. How can clothing empower those who have been disempowered? 

By just letting people know that it’s okay to show up for themselves, however that may feel like for you or however they choose to dress themselves. 

What is it like to see that empowerment IRL, via social media and through your cult following?

It’s been super amazing to see honestly. Each time I see a tagged post it fills my heart. 

Why is it important to see each other as members of queer and POC communities?

It’s vital because representation matters.

C1A1 COLLECTION

What is it like seeing your clothes worn by A-list celebrities (Lil Nas X, Issa Rae)?

A huge blessing, because when K.NGSLEY began I didn't think it would ever have that reach.

I’m gagged for the 701 jewelry line with PrEP charms. What inspired that collection?

Thank you. I got to collaborate with one of the best jewelry designers, K.L., on this launch. I knew that whatever it would be, it would have to be something that captures the same spirit of the tanks — chic, classic with a twist.

We threw many ideas around and landed on PrEP. The moment we came up with the idea, we just ran with it. There was no denying the energy we felt in the process. We tried our best to mimic the color, because we noticed that the color is distinctively known in our community. As queer people who take the pill, it's an insider new way to say, "I'm on PrEP," without saying it.

What can we expect next from K.NGSLEY?

We’re currently taking our time, there is no huge rush for us, but we have some cute coming for “THE GIRLS” v soon.

 

C1A1 COLLECTION
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