On a Tuesday morning I sat down with creative consultant, Yannick Do in a coffee near République  to talk about his career, previous experiences with OFR & NIKE where he started his early career as a creative consultant.

à Paris : l'entretien avec YANNICK DO

Interview & Photography Farade Nicolas (issue05)

—01. Yannick, République.

01. Yannick, République.

 

Who are you and what do you do on a daily basis ?

Yannick Do, 32 years old. Born and bred in France. I grew up in the Parisian suburbs. In term of educational background, I studied audiovisual as a chief operator. It wasn’t enough for me and at this moment in my life I already felt the need to do something different, open my mind to other perspectives..Aside studies, I started to work with the french library OFR. I quickly became the manager from their London location where I stayed two years. After my graduation I had a couple of work opportunities.. Afterwards, I did some consulting for Nike on what we call seeding (products endowment) to artists, influencers, opinion leaders... 

Ultimately after a few months, motivated by this meeting with Thibaut De Longeville, I needed to get back to where it all started, audiovisual. I remember that Thibaut just started to work on this project for Nike. It was about the 30 years anniversary from the Air Force 1 shoe. Thanks to him I joined his crew 360 creative and we worked together to make short documentaries about the shoe. On that occasion, Nike hired us to produce a full documentary on the sneaker. It was an ambitious project. There was a lot of work to do. Needless to say that seeing it 5 years later, the whole project was definitely worthy. 

Due to the long recording of the movie, I had time to develop other activities. At first, I worked for the label Because Music as an artistic director. We were only three people to manage all the artists. It was a stressful time for me I had a lot of things on my mind that is why I decided to work as a freelancer after one year spent working for the music label. 

I created a small structure called We Are Blind who gathered friends of mine. We worked for brands helped them developing their marketing aspect as well as the media part with the production of videos here and there.. 

That’s how that in 2010 we had a pretty cool opportunity to do something for PUMA who wanted to make a few movies for the World Cup that tooked place in Africa. The following years I worked on various projects... 

In 2013, Pernod Ricard invited me to join their research office. It was focused on the new tendencies. My job was to find new movements that offers African culture throughout music, art, movies & fashion. It has only been seven months that I’m working as a part time consultant for Converse press agency Sandie Roy.

—02. Reppin' the beautiful 70's Chuck Taylor.

02. Reppin' the beautiful 70's Chuck Taylor.

 

Converse has always been a pioneer in the shoe industry.  How did you see the evolution of Converse throughout the years ?

In France, Converse has a particular situation. The whole Marketing side is kinda new. Before, it was managed by an external society. Converse never disappeared but there is something to re-build. That’s exactly where I’m trying to help and give my contribution. For example, if you take one of their standard the Chuck 70’s : the first steps for me were to determine a precise target, the right crowd next, I had to think about a way to get their attention back into this particular shoe. For that matter, we created a special event : Converse Space 39 where we invited a certain amount of « hosts, influencers ». Then, they organized a particular evening, we choosed the location and let them produce what they wanted to. They came together with people of their entourage, picked the music, the food ect..It was quite interesting. This kind of gathering gives us a way to sensitize a specific group, spread our ideas, concepts while we are staying coherent with the brand’s spirit.

The French community is always looking for new standard and that’s why the Chuck 70’s is selling really good. It’s a contemporary silhouette. We came at the right time and we replied to a more mature public. Moreover, if you take a closer look at what we called street culture in France well, you can see that it is restricted..

Historically, we didn’t have brands who were affiliated with this movement. There were the classic American brands that everybody knew about like Timberland, Levi’s, Nike & Schott but nothing could stand in front of that huge workwear clothing vibe that came from the USA. For us it was brand like Lacoste who defined our way to dress, our « gangsta » style. That was all. There wasn’t any equivalent like Supreme or Stussy..It is totally new and we are still looking for our own identity.

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When you needed a break from the workdays where can we find you hanging ?

I’m going to see my parents, it’s an essential break. I can talk about other stuff none related to work you know, to escape for a little while. And I think that nowadays more than ever people need to know where they came from. I think it’s fondamental to have something stable to keep you around if anything bad or good happens..

You are djing as well. Can you tell us a little bit about this occupation ?

It is just occasional. Djing is clearly not my speciality. I was just tired of listening the same songs all the time. I needed something more that defines me. My parents come from Togo and I always heard African music. I enjoy it so I wanted to create a place where I could share it. Indeed there are already places where you could go and listen african music but there are for a different generation, not mine. I launched 97% Africa because I wanted to reinvest this culture. It is important for me that this stays on irregular dates, it makes it rare and precious..

 
 

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What is a typical journey for you ?How do you organize your week ?

 I don’t have any specific ritual. Nonetheless I do have a busy schedule where each days are planned. It all depends you know, somedays it could change I’m basically planning everything around my work. I try to organize my agenda as much as I can. It is also important for me to keep a little bit of free time for my own personal research and of course time to see my friends and family. 

What your role do you play at Converse ?

My job is to deal with what we call the « influencers ». 

Basically, I have to be aware of what’s emerging : new movements, new waves of creation ect...To find and target what could be the best audience for the brand. Converse has this universal feeling.We have the chance to gather various & individual personalities in fashion, visual arts, music & photography. There is an historicity & legitimacy so, it’s not difficult to develop certain aspect of it. Converse more than ever represent who am I today.

 
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Talking about style, how would you define yours ?

It’s a mix from many things ! I went through a lot of phases.. Nevertheless I kept wearing the essential, the basics stuff you know. I don’t really like logos, pluri-brands... I just need simple, clean products with a great silhouette. A fewchinos, jeans, some shirts, one leather jacket, a parka, that is all. In fact I’m not into fashion. I am not following trends. I just twist with what I’m used to wear and adding my own african touch on it from time to time. Basics will never be overrated!

What is your most liked pair of Converse ?

Most definitely the Jack Purcell, I like the All Stars and Chuck 70s too but If I could, I would wear the Jack Purcell all my life!

Where do you find your inspiration ?

 I’ve read a lot of magazines, journals when I was working at the OFR library. I used to run a blog also. Nowadays, I will say that my own research are really accurate. I am still flipping through my favorites revues and a few websites that inspire me but I don’t need to extend the exploration too much... I know what and where to look at.

What do you like about the city ?

Although we are extremely rough against each others, Paris has this particular energy that you could not find anywhere else. We are proud to be French, being Parisian you know. We have that haughty attitude. Parisians likes to think that they got absolute knowledge on everything. Aside from the comportment, our strengths reside in our cultural diversities. It’s the most important aspect and it has involuntarily open our minds... We are renown overseas in countless fields with solid knowledge... In contrast with the past, a lot of brands think that France is ahead on everybody. We took back our leadership in marketing & communication. There is without a doubt a creative energy with new references like Bleu de Paname or Pigalle brand who import the French culture into foreign countries!

—03. Leaving République.

03. Leaving République.