In order to understand how Strictly Featured came about we sat down with Jack O'Connor to ask how SF originated, his influence on the company and his take on the future. The following is what he had to say.
Q. What inspired Strictly Featured (SF)?
A. "There are two influences I think about when it comes to Strictly Featured. One is the name. I was in the car with my brother and we were jamming to a random song and it had a featured artist on it. That artist became the topic of our conversation in which I said he was so talented yet had made a career off of being "strictly featured" on other artist's music. Those two words stuck with me but I didn't know what I would use it for. The other influence is the group of friends I made my freshmen year of college. They were all creating work for design classes and I was there taking it all in. I wasn't taking courses like that so I would just doodle and take pictures of them. They really shaped the brand's look and my interest in documenting and featuring the work of emerging artist. That's when I started an Instagram page with the name Strictly Featured."
Q. What does the company mean to you?
A. "Strictly Featured means so much to me. I can't stress that enough. Over the last couple of years, SF has gone through several pivots and changes, but ultimately it was going in a direction that peaked my interests and drew out my passions. There hasn't been a project like this in my life. It reflects so much of me despite being highly collaborative. It means everything and that's the honest truth."
Q. What is the most satisfying part about SF?
A. "Collaboration. I've been able to work with several creative, like-minded individuals as we've prepared the Ephemeroh Collection. Watching my best friends work alongside new friends and producing great content is really satisfying. Being able to offer that opportunity-- yeah, that feels really good. When a collection comes together, you get to look at what everyone created and you can't help but to be proud."
Q. Do you see your personal style in SF?
A. "A little bit, yeah. Not so much my style but my vision. I really like to present everything as professional and clean as possible. We have had spelling mistakes and things like that, and I go a little crazy over them. I've said before that it's "all in the presentation". So that is how I influence the brand most."
Q. Where do you see SF going?
A. "To be honest, I see SF going far. This collection is our first step into the vision I've been creating. So I can't say exactly, but we are going to start looking to include more fashion and philanthropy."