Every so often we come across an artist who inspires us to reimagine what the future looks like. Their thought-provoking work becomes the trendsetting staple of the moment, shifting the way we speak, dress and overall behave.
Kami Haus is nothing like this. In fact, creator Tai Cole-Jay isn’t moved by the idea of creating a movement, he embodies that himself.
I had the pleasure of sitting with the Maywood native earlier this month to discuss product design, consumerism, authenticity and everything else that Tai stands for as an artist, creator, businessman and fashion enthusiast.
“I’d like to think of myself as a mastermind who will eventually take over the world with his genius plans. But honestly, I can’t fake what I do and pretend that I don’t care about what my product means to me and ultimately the consumer. I work too damn hard and I really care about the details of the process to worry too much about what others are doing or how I can make it to the top. I want to be one of the greatest, but I also want quality work put out and there’s a process,” said Tai as we discussed the importance of quality work.
His somnolent voice and placid attitude may give off the wrong impression to some, but it’s clear that this guy isn’t just chill to be “cool”. He’s not interested in wasting time fixating over what others think of him unless it’s genuine. Tai shares that despite the shifts that have been made to Kami Haus within the last year, he’s proud of his accomplishments.
But most of all grateful for the genuine interest, feedback and support people have provided throughout his journey. He mentions that his own personal growth has helped him stay grounded, focusing more on developing a brand that means more than just a momentary fad.
I’m always going as hard as I can. Perhaps some product may be more simple than others, for example, my t-shirts. But it’s those minor details that matter to me and have truly been a testament to how much I have evolved. But in whatever I make, I am also trying to top the previous product, whether it be through the presentation, message or even the experience of how you engage with the product. I’m constantly at battle with my own creative self and not letting others define me or my brand. This what keeps me authentic. I really do try to stay away from all that’s out there released in the media. I just don’t let it influence my work.
Tai does mention that when the logo of his brand transitioned into the “Ankhor” design, he was influenced by a designer who inspired him to be more socially aware and overall reflective of what direction he wanted his brand to go.
The incentive to change the logo from the original “rising sun” design to making the seasonal “Ankhor” logo into the universal symbol for the brand was brought to my attention long before. But it was when a designer, who’d shown her admiration towards my brand during a pop-up event, that my attention changed. She gave me her genuine thoughts on my logo, and I just couldn’t help but listen. I use to be stubborn about what people had to say about the “rising sun” logo, especially since I was aware of its positive consumer criticism. But I knew ultimately if I want this brand to eventually become bigger than me or you, I had to listen.
Tai also shares that the transition wasn’t easy despite how compelled he felt to do it.
I wasn’t sure if people would react the same way because people instantly connected the new logo to a more aquatic, “boat” brand. Yet, I knew overall, it’s more about how you go about things and I had to trust myself because at the end of the day I knew I was in control of my reality. And I think that’s why I felt like this transition became so seamless, because the overall meaning of the “Ankhor” is a symbolic play on words, reflecting my new perspective on my brand by representing wisdom, fertility and insight on the highest level through the “ankh” along with the stability and endurance of an “anchor”.
As an enthusiast of fashion, Tai states that he enjoys and strides inspiration from women’s clothing, particularly bohemian and avant-garde brands such as Max Mara, Alice + Olivia, and Ted Baker. Tai believes that there’s a beauty in the creative process that comes with fashion design and hopes to deliver more of his creative ideas into his products.
I won’t say exactly what it is that I have planned, but just expect some more crazy, but dope shit to be out. Like I said, I’m not interested in the trends, I’m focused more on creating what I feel looks good, and means something better. All with time…
If you’re interested in learning more or purchasing from Kami Haus, visit his site at, www.buykami.com.