“Being different never goes out of style” is the motto of “Imi & Kimi” Paris. This “cosmopolite” brand proposes unique and innovative design made in Paris with flavours from different part of the world.
Who is behind the Brand Imi & Kimi?
My name is Henri Philippe Maidou, I’m a former basket ball player and a self made designer.
Please tell us more about you. What is your Background?
I grew up in Paris, start to play basket ball at the age of 10, turn 7 years later, got a scholarship by Fordham university and finally graduate at Dowling college in business management. Played in Spain, Austria and Italy. I end up my carrier at the age of 26. I start modelling for 2 years, went to Africa open restaurant, got back in France work in the retail for well establish brand. I had a first brand by the name of “expression of ego” only for men’s. I’m back with IMI & KIMI, a unisex transcultural brand.
Where does the name Imi & Kimi come from?
IMI & KIMI is the short name of my 2 daughters, Imani and Kimora. I made the brand as a gift, a giving back to the universe for the blessing of my baby’s angels.
If we ask you why Fashion, what would you say?
I had been in love with clothes as far as I remember. I always like to dress fly. I got a lot of inspiration and imagination so was natural for me to start fashion.
When did you get the idea to create “Imi & Kimi”?
I think 2 years ago, I had the blueprint but I start early this year 2017.
How did you create the Brand?
It was really natural, I wanted to do something like I say for a moment, early this year I got invited at “braderie des créateurs” it’s an afro market place and in order to participate i made some tee shirt with different fabrics.
What is the identity/spirit of Imi & Kimi?
IMI & KIMI is a brand transcultural. I believe all type of fabrics can be wear by all type of people. Off course I’m influence by my African background, my roots but I want to offert this legacy to everyone. The all process of creation is based on exchange and mixing race, culture, countries because I believe if everyone stay in them corners we can’t build a better world.
How would you position your Brand?
IMI & KIMI it’s a middle class brand, made for everybody. It’s a good balance between price and quality. It’s made in France for a better control of the quality
Apart from your daughters, where do you get your inspiration from?
I get my inspiration from everywhere, I love arts, painting, street art. I am not a big time reader and I love all type of movies. I went to different countries and meet a lot of people and they all inspired me.
Today we are talking about ethical and sustainable brands in Fashion. How do translate these aspects in your work?
The mix of fabrics, the diversity of the shape of my clothes. The marketing direction I’m tacking that where my ethical is.
Where do you source your fabrics and where do you make your products?
My fabrics from all over the world, most likely left over from established brand such as Jean-Paul Gautier, YSL etc…Wax, bogolan etc from Africa, several countries because wax as different meanings.
What is your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Like Steeve Job says “being a entrepreneur is like jumping from a plane and build your parachute on your way down” every step is a challenge.
Any tips or recommendation you would share with new entrepreneurs in “Fashion”?
Believe in your self this go behind fashion, you need to get Kobe Bryant “black mamba mentality”. Never give up, work hard, you fell 8 times get up 9!
Are there any brands you would recommend worth checking?
All “the haute couture brand”, I respect the work behind so you need to check them all!