Naki Carey, better known as Prinze Naki, is a Washington DC native who is the creative vision behind the BOLD eyewear collection. From runway model, to runway instructor, to creative coordinator, to photography director, to now fashion designer, Prinze Naki is making a BOLD statement in the fashion industry. I had the pleasure of talking to Prinze Naki about his career and his upcoming BOLD Extreme Collection.
Mz Mahogany: How did you get started in this industry?
Prinze Naki: Well, back in 2010 I was in my room playing with 3D shades. I was really just goofing around and I put some materials on it. At the time, I didn’t take it seriously. When I came back to it, I really thought I could market it. I really wanted to start a collection. It took me a year to accomplish this. In May 2011, I released my first collection.
Prinze Naki: Sort of… Jan Taminiau, Gareth Pugh, Jeremy Scott and Mary Katrantzou are a few that inspire me.
Mz Mahogany: What makes you stand out from the other designers that are now putting out fabulous sunglasses seen on celebrities like Beyoncé, Brandy and Lady Gaga?
Prinze Naki: You know what, I get that all the time! I believe it’s the material I use that separates me from them. I see the competition out there steadily growing but I try to stay in my lane. My designs are unique; you don’t see them anywhere else. I try to think outside the box to do stuff that has not been done before. I also go into this fantasy world, that helps me stay true to the Prinze Naki brand. I stand in Home Depot and just imagine things and make it happen.
Mz Mahogany: Who’s your target market?
Prinze Naki: Anyone that is feeling BOLD! I don’t have a main market; it can be a child to a 65-year-old senior. If you feel it fits you, I want you to wear it. I definitely market myself to the print and runway world but to my regular consumers it’s for anyone that is brave enough to wear my pieces.
Mz Mahogany: Your collection is BOLD! How can we incorporate some of your designs into fashionable off-runway looks?
Prinze Naki: First I started out with just editorial pieces; I just wanted to do photo shoots. Now I have toned it down for people who do want to wear them out as a fashion statement. Honestly, I want you to wear my stuff and feel bold, feel like a super hero. Like once you put these on, you don’t even see anyone else. I want you to feel a certain greatness about you. I do want the average customer to wear these and feel some type of way when they wear my pieces. It’s all about feeling good about you. I don’t want you to look or feel normal; I want you to look fashionably crazy. This is why the new collection is called Bold Extreme.
Mz Mahogany: In one of our email exchanges, the subject line was “Over the Top Designer”, what makes you over the top?
Yes, I refer to myself as over the top because the pieces are over the top! Every time someone sees my pieces the first thing they say is it’s so over the top. I was so blessed to work with so many different people. When Lady Gaga’s choreographer came to me, he said it was so over the top. I just just rolled with it since then.
Prinze Naki: It’s a continuation of the BOLD collection. I started with BOLD and this one is called BOLD Extreme. I just wrapped the photo shoot with Teen Vogue and it was OMG. The pieces are gladiator and warrior inspired. I want to take my pieces to movie sets. It’s BOLD, it’s gold, and it’s Avante Garde!
Mz Mahogany: You sound so passionate about it.
Prinze Naki: I am! I just relocated from DC to Atlanta to get my feet wet. I’m still kind of a new designer.
Mz Mahogany: Would you ever come back to DC?
Prinze Naki: I can’t say I’d never come back but right now I am on a grind. DC is not a place for what I want to do. Politics and Obama hey go for it but it’s just not for me right now. I was born and raised in DC but I want to give Atlanta a try. Hopefully LA will be my next spot.
Mz Mahogany: On your website you wrote, “As time passed, things changed, and so did I. My experiences, life, and appearance all had changed…” Could you give us more insight on that pivotal point of your career?
Prinze Naki: Prinze is who I used to be. I started out modeling and they called me Prinze of the runway. I graced the runway like a Prinze! They didn’t understand where I came from with no training. As the years went on, I transitioned myself and my appearance. Therefore the name Prinze did not fit anymore but I wanted to keep it. I became Prinze Naki and that became my brand. I’m an illusionist. Have you heard of B Scott? A male that dresses like a woman? That’s me. So my life story and my fashion story come together and intertwine tremendously. I’ve been approached to do TV shows but I don’t want to exploit myself in that way.
Mz Mahogany: What advice would you give a fashion student?
Prinze Naki: Go really hard. It can be discouraging and it can be tough. But if you believe and have a true passion for it definitely go for it. When I first started, I did not know how I was going to do it. I just had a dream. Just believe, have faith and be true to your talent.
Mz Mahogany: What can we expect from Prinze Naki in the future?
Prinze Naki: Right now I’m putting out my BOLD Extreme Collection. I’m working on my online showroom and new wearable art pieces coming the end of summer.
Mz Mahogany: Thanks for the interview!
For more information on Prinze Naki and the BOLD Eyewear Collection, please visit his website at http://www.prinzenaki.com