Today we’d like to introduce you to Lawrence Kouadio.
Hi Lawrence, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I was born in Rochester, New York and lived right off East river within the city of Manhattan for the first 3 to 4 years of my life before moving up north to Bethesda, Maryland with my family who traveled down from the Ivory Coast. Traveling was the norm for us. Our first home was in the city of Bethesda, Maryland shortly after came a move to the city of Potomac, Maryland, then we landed in Martinsburg, West Virginia for a couple of years, when finally, in 2009 the city of Gaithersburg, Maryland became the true place I call my home. My siblings and I were fortunate enough to attend a K-12 French International School in Bethesda for a good chunk of our lives, Come 6th grade, my older brother and I left due to one another move. Looking back, the diversity at this school was unheard of! Hundreds of different nationalities were present, allowing us to potentially get familiarized with these numerous cultures, their arts, different lifestyles, and most importantly their sense of style, all of which I lacked to take advantage of due to sports preoccupying a large amount of my time.
Sports, specifically soccer kept me sane during a lot of these moves. It wasn’t until I hit my freshman year of High school that I realized soccer unfortunately wasn’t my “calling”. Not saying I wasn’t good or anything, haha. Wanting to be involved, I took on football for my last three years of high school but still, there was always a lingering void on what exactly I was passionate about. As high school was coming to an end, I felt a bit defeated for not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Coming from an immigrant background, pursuing an education was not to be threaded lightly. Not knowing what to study in, I attended my local community college with an undeclared major. With hopes that my passion will one day come. Come 2017, my life steered towards a stagnant foreseeing. Wanting more, my older brother and I took it upon ourselves with the approval from our mom to join our older sister in San Francisco, California in August of 2017.
When I moved to San Francisco, I chose to take a gap year from college to adapt with to this new way of living. Three weeks later, I began working at a retail clothing store in downtown San Francisco. Not being in school at the time, I spent most of my time in downtown San Francisco where I received first hands exposure to the creative world. The fast-paced city flooded with an immense amount of different styles, arts, scenery, and people naturally introduced most creative aspects to me. While working retail, I befriended a coworker who happens to be a creative himself, photographer Kyrin Colins. Kyrin being a creative entrepreneur, pushed me to pursue modeling and became the first photographer to professionally capture me. At first, I wasn’t as comfortable standing in front of a camera but, with time and many different concepts curated by both Kyrin and myself, my confidence expanded to an all-time high, leading me to submitting a portfolio of visuals with hopes of acquiring my first modeling gig with “The Model Experience” in Los Angeles, California. Weeks went by and I finally heard back from the modeling platform. I was selected for a runway show but unfortunately, my priorities at the time led to me missing the event. Although I couldn’t attend the event, knowing my first ever submission resulted in positive results meant so much to me, and it overclouded the hesitations I had on myself for what could potentially be a stepping stone into the creative world.
As time went by, I began curating my own personal photoshoots with hopes of expanding a solid portfolio and to gain exposure. One day, an old friend from high school who I now call my brother, Ian Piyadasa noticed my newfound passion for fashion and reached out to me expressing ideas regarding joining him on his journey to start a clothing brand. His exact DM said this “we both like fashion and have a passion for it, I’m trying to get like-minded people in my group because multiple brains are better than one.” Just those words did it for me. We exchanged contact and before we knew it, ideas and many thoughts led to the commencement of our brand The Üth Club. The Üth club is a lifestyle brand established in 2018 with focus to express that no matter one’s age in life, your youth will forever be in your heart just if you maneuver through your days with love. “Üth” is our self-abbreviation of the word youth.
Now that we had the name and mission statement, it was time for us to launch our first collection. We partnered with a graphic designer named Olson Richardson to help create our own design inspired by the 90’s film Fight Club. Our design consisted of a recreation of the film’s soap bar logo. We replaced the “fight” from the original logo with “The Üth Club” and positioned this design on the front of a garment. The back of the garment consisted of a black and white photo of the main actor Brad Pitt, words “Ladies and gentlemen welcome to The Üth Club”, and two x marks placed on the actors’ eyes. After completing the design process, I reached out to some people he knew and asked them if they would be willing to model for our drop. I then reached out to Kyrin and asked if he would be willing to handle the visual aspect of the shoot. He agreed and he and I, alongside another friend took a bus to Los Angeles where he joined Ian and others to hold our first ever shoot. Once executing our vision, we launched our first collection. The support and love we received so early on really molded our foundation.
Ian and I both knew that expanding our team and bringing in other creatives would allow us to reach much more avenues in the near future. After many conversations, we decided to add first Adrian Torres-Vista, then Aj Cabotaje, later following with Jessica Nguyen, and finally Tyler Valen. Adrian and Aj are overall newcomers to the creative world, but it does not show. Adrian has been a friend of mine since high school who eventually has grown into family. He brings everlasting positivity, an outstanding view on the streetwear community, open-minded decision making, solid organization skills and many more aspects for any situation allowing us to see better overall outcomes. Aj is a relative of Ian’s. He’s the handsy guy on the team, open to learning, owning, and mastering all technical aspects of the brand. After adding both Adrian and Aj, it still felt like there was a void of some sort of the team, and that void was that we did not have a woman’s presence. This led to Jessica, our creative mastermind. Since joining the team, she has mainly owned visual, graphic design, and styling aspects of our most recent launches. Unlike the others, she’s been indulged into the creative world for quite some time. She’s curated many of her own personal photoshoots, visuals and designed personal garments for herself and others. Lastly, our newest member Tyler. Tyler as well as Jessica is not a newcomer to the creative world. Her charisma and drive to work speak for itself. She’s curated many different photoshoots and styling bookings for some big names in the industry and continues to up the score every time. Briefly summarizing, we are finally here, and we will continue to grow and make an impact in the world, no matter how long it takes, no matter how many different obstacles we must overcome, it’s us.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Our main self-aware obstacle is what many face, consistency. Although focused and determined to expand our brand, we all have our own personal lives and priorities that trail but, is that not what everyone not only in this industry but in life overall face today? We all face similar obstacles and struggles in this world but none of which define your why. What defines your why is how you self-adapt and maneuver around your obstacles to reach your outcome, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing and will continue to until then.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
We are a clothing brand that strives to include our own people as much as we can. What we’re known for is our involvement in our communities. We focus on spreading what our society lacks the most, love. Our aim is to reach everyone and anyone, no matter one’s age, race, nationality, or gender! We do what we do for us and with love. We focus on spreading what our society lacks the most.
Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We are open to work and collaborate with anyone and everyone! We ourselves attempt to reach out to other creatives and individuals wanting to leave an impact on society as much as we can but, there will always and forever be those that we miss. Simply reaching out to us via social media or email can be a commencement to reaching our goal.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.theuthclub.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theuthclub/?hl=en
Ericka D. Naomi S. Keileen E. Lo Village Jessie R. Fvbe Benny H. Rueguh