“Don’t conform” was the continued message echoed throughout my interview with Ian Shaw, owner and CEO of The C.O.O.L. I connected with him, like with many of those I have interviewed, via Twitter. I shot him an email and over about a two-week span we went back and forth until we were both able to sit down and talk. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and loved chopping it up over mind-stimulating topics. During the interview Ian was very straight forward and it was invigorating to hear the mindset behind his clothing. Below is our interview and I hope that you too will come to love this gentleman’s movement.
Astu: “Tell us who you are? Give us the real Ian Shaw.”
Ian: “I am 27 years old, I have roots in both Dallas and New Orleans, and I am currently residing in New York. I graduated from Roanoke College with a degree in Business Administration and The C.O.O.L is my brand and lifestyle.”
Astu: “So what is The C.O.O.L and what does it mean?”
Ian: “Well I am looking to promote a life-style of not conforming. Fashion is just a medium of expression that I am choosing to use – it is the accessory to living the brand out every day. It emerged in my undergraduate career and a friend of mine came up with the name but I have since then defined what it actually means.
Astu: “Name two role models that inspire you and why?”
Ian: “Steve Jobs of Apple and Richard Branson of Virgin Mobile are my two role models. They are the epitome of being innovative and not conforming.”
Astu: “This is an off the wall question – if you had to choose one person to be locked in a room with for 24 hours, out of the two, who would you choose?”
Ian: “Aww man! It would be Jobs – when I see where I want my brand to be in the next five years it will be on its way to being the next Apple and when I see where it will be in the next 10 years it will be Apple in terms of success and getting my message across. Also, my biggest focus is not just selling clothes it is building a community, much like Jobs and Branson were able to do!”
Astu: “So in terms of advice – what is something you want to tell other people?”
Ian: “Time management is key! At first I quit my job thinking I needed to be totally immersed in developing The C.O.O.L but I went broke because of it. Now I have come to realize you will find the time to work on your dream if it really means something to you!”
“It boils down to living the brand. We buy into lifestyles and it is a personal experience. I inspire my friends to not conform by living out my brand. This is what separates me from the rest of society.” – Ian Shaw
Our generation is extremely creative and clothing lines are popping up everywhere but what really makes this brand, The C.O.O.L, unique is the message behind it. It pushes everyone to explore themselves and their potentials and it does not hurt that the clothing is dope. I encourage you to connect with Ian and The C.O.O.L and as always DO NOT CONFORM.
Connect with Ian
Twitter: @TheCoolSociety| IG:thecoolsociety | http://www.coolsociety.net/
Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up