If you can expect anything from Soon Enough, it’s the unexpected—and that’s just how Jeffrey Sekyere likes it. Sekyere’s sartorial instincts grew from his first moodboard on the wall of his North Carolina bedroom, and eventually blossomed into his own brand. Since its launch in 2017, Soon Enough has dropped cut and sew pieces as diverse as Sekyere’s sudden inspirations, from hand-embroidered hoodies to technicolor leather cargo pants. Below, the 25-year old designer talks family pressure, finding happiness, and an all-too-relatable skater phase.
Where are you from, and where are you now?
My nationality is Ghanaian, both of my parents are from Ghana, West Africa. I was born in Virginia and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina when I was 9 years old, up until now. I am currently living in the DC/northern Virginia area.
What is your first memory with streetwear?
I honestly don’t use the term “streetwear,” but that’s another story. My first memory of taking fashion seriously was in 2007. I was in my skateboarder phase, but my big brother used to look up artists like Kanye, Big Sean, Pharrell, and Dipset on the daily and tell me about what they were wearing. That same year, my brother put on a outfit that I’ll never forget, that made me want to take fashion seriously: a BAPE T-shirt (in 2007, that was pretty rare for a 13-year old to have), True Religion bootcut jeans with the thick stitching, and a pair of “What the Dunks” with a skull head jean chain. I remember it vividly—from that moment, I knew I wanted to make clothes.
If you had to compress your personal style into one outfit, what would it be?
I’m very three-dimensional when it comes to style, so that’s hard. But for a go-to comfortable outfit I’ll say: Kapital distressed bucket hat, Cartier rimless frames with a light or clear tint, white T-shirt, double Ralph Lauren patchwork flannel, Ralph Lauren black label waxed cargo pants, and lightning Jordan 4s!
When did you first feel inspired to create your own designs?
I feel like this was literally a “God-given” talent, because my brother and all of my friends were always into fashion too. At the height of my skateboarder phase in 2008, after being inspired by my brother and his music influences, I started drawing designs and hanging them on my wall. At the time, where I’m from, this was unheard of—especially for a kid my age (I was like 13). My wall eventually turned into a vision board, with sketches and magazine cutouts. Fast forward to 2016, I changed the name of my brand from Guaranteed Fresh to Soon Enough outside an event. After being inspired by the event that night, I said “Soon enough I’m going to do something like this one day,” and it stuck! I eventually released my first design on January 17th 2017—the day I got fired from my job.
Describe your design aesthetic in one sentence, if you can.
It’s really a mood thing for me, you know? Sometimes I’m feeling eccentric, so I might go with a brighter color palette, cropped cuts, and obvious detail. Other times I may design something dark and tonal that you can wear with everything! You’ll never know what you’re going to get out of a new Soon Enough collection—hell, even I don’t. We’re not a brand that you can put into a box or limit to a certain aesthetic, I just create when I feel inspired and that’s what you get. You might get Matrix vibes or early-2000s New York vibes, you never know.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
My inspiration doesn’t come from physically being in a certain place, it more so comes from being really happy. When I’m happy, it’s like putting on reality glasses—I notice and appreciate every little thing about life, and inspiration just finds me. Inspiration comes from more than just seeing someone’s outfit, at least for me.
Which living designer do you most admire?
Anyone who knows me knows I’m an archive kind of guy, I really just like everything old. However, I want to give this one to Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss. His journey is relatable to a kid like me. I love what he and the brand stands for, and his show at Kings Theatre really inspired me.
What’s your biggest creative or career milestone so far?
My biggest milestone is currently the fact that my parents are alive to witness their son’s dreams actually coming true! I used to beat myself up about whether clothing was really for me, because in the beginning I wasn’t making any money. I was more so just doing it to show people that I hadn’t given up on my brand, although on the inside I really wanted to. If anyone reading this has African parents, they probably understand the pressure. My parents didn’t see the vision, they kept telling me to go to school or “get a trade.” There is nothing wrong with that, but when something isn’t for you your instinct/spirit knows it! Fast forward, now I’m an inspiration to all my friends and my parents are looking to me to help my family. It’s really a blessing. I’m thankful for everyone that has purchased something from Soon Enough.
How do you want people to feel when wearing your designs?
I want them to feel how I feel when I’m really happy and inspired, like you can do anything in the world and nobody can stop you. And look fly as shit while doing it!
What would you most like to change about the current fashion industry?
The only things I’d want to change are people only buying from certain brands because of their hype, and for people to get a little more creative with their looks. There are so many dope brands that are just as good as—if not better than—these mainstream brands! It feels like when I go out, I’m just looking at a bunch of mannequins. And to the creative point, I feel like a lot of us take the safe route when it comes to our looks. Forget that, break the boundaries!