Women stealing their partner’s clothes is nothing new, whether it’s throwing on the crisp white shirt over some jeans or wearing the bulky blazer over that cocktail dress – “you know, to give the look an edge”. However, blurring the lines is new-label-on-the-scene Mr Tyler, which is set to revolutionise so-called boyfriend fashion…
Ifeanyi Ibekwe is the brains behind Mr Tylr who specialises mainly in boyfriend shirts for, get this, men and women. Ifeanyi’s women’s shirt designs for Mr Tylr couldn’t be further from the dapper, suit-wearing gent that is Ifeanyi – he was voted best dressed man by Harvey Nichol’s in 2015.
Yet, loud, joyful colours have turned Ifeanyi’s creations into the incarnation of summer, with his limited edition designs tailored towards women with bright personalities who also don’t mind a bit of exclusivity.
Emirates Woman caught up with Ifeanyi to talk Mr Tylr, Dubai fashion and keeping it limited edition.
When did you realise you wanted to work in fashion?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been intrigued by clothes, style, design and all the usual suspects that go along with fashion.
How did you make it as a designer?
I think the term designer is a strong word; it sort of puts me on a pedestal. Karl [Lagefeld] is a designer, I just make shirts for women. Everything I know is self-taught.
What’s your biggest strength?
My intuition and my ability to perceive things differently. I see stories where people don’t.
Where do you mostly draw your inspiration?
I’m a visual thinker, so most of my inspiration comes from the people and things I see everyday. Then there are all the cool people on The Sartorialist as well.
How did coming from Lagos affect your designs?
The fashion scene in Lagos is huge. I’ve been privileged to interact with several designers and fashionable people back home. I once featured work from a talented designer called Adebayo of Orange Culture [Adebayo has been designing since he was 10 and is known for his colourful designs].
Why move to Dubai?
If I had to sum it up in one word, I’d say ‘opportunity’. I’m intrigued by the interplay of diversity in this city. I’ve tried to create something everyone can buy into.
How has the UAE influenced your designs?
It’s summer all the time in the UAE, so I have created the perfect statement pieces for the weather here. Each shirt is bright and colourful. It’s basically what you would get if you tried to take pieces of ‘summer’ and imprint them on cotton fabric for everyone to wear.
What do you think about the UAE’s style scene?
It’s still in its its early years. It’s difficult to tell exactly where it’s headed. One thing is certain though, it’s a great time for creative individuals like myself to be in Dubai.
Hardest part in your career?
…and the most rewarding?
I love what I do, so everything about it is rewarding. I love seeing people wear something I sketched out myself; it’s a beautiful feeling.
Where do you hope to see you brand in five years?
I am trying to be the Mr Porter for indigenous designers.
Why the focus on limited designs?
Exclusivity is something I’m keen on for the brand; I want everyone who buys a shirt from me to feel special and confident. If I bought a shirt, I would want the same thing too.
How did your girlfriend help with the ‘boyfriend’ shirts?
My girlfriend always wears my shirts to work, and she looks amazing in them. I thought I would just create an official collection of ‘boyfriend’ shirts for other girls out there and for other boys who have lost shirts to their girlfriends. I’m trying to help both boys and girls with these shirts of mine.
Top 3 style tips for women
Wear one of our oversized boyfriend shirts
Wear nude lipstick
Midi-skirts are dope
Top 3 style tips for men
Never buy a black suit, unless it’s a tux, buy all the variations of blue and grey you can find instead
If you’re going to wear a suit, consider wearing a simple leather strapped watch. Something almost vintage looking.
Never try to save money on your shoes, a man is judged by his shoes
Mr Tylr shirts sell for Dhs370, and can be bought from: mrtylr.com