At first glance, one does not see a former pastry chef clothed in a blue blazer, loafers and bowtie. But, that’s who you're looking at.
Mr. Nicklaus Jones, Mississippi native and founder of graphic apparel line Poetik Designs remembers the days of being on the line at four-star NYC restaurant Le Cirque, where he'd left after one year for two main reasons. One, the chef's uniform didn't allow him to show his individuality in his dress, and two, it just wasn't what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Mr. Jones, a vegetarian, left Le Cirque after a year to focus on his passion. He wants to make a positive difference in the world through his own actions, more specifically clothing and apparel design for men and women and babies.
Normally T-shirts would focus on the graphic itself, but what the shirts of Poetik Designs focuses on are the actual messages, like "Quitting Is An Option; Just Not One I'm Considering," and "Millionaire in Progress," one of his best-sellers. His Afroflower shirt for women is one of my favorite designs.
He's currently working on other brands focusing on formal style called "Nicklaus Written," and baby clothes called the "Baby Poets," the latter of which a couple of pieces are available.
He does still enjoy cooking and eating, and wants to open a restaurant in the future, with a broad menu that also highlights vegetarian food. To him, being a vegetarian has given him a clearer mind when designing. "It puts me more in the mind of being more particular," said Jones, "because I'm very particular about what I eat, and I guess that translates to me being particular about what I'm designing, and very detailed."
This is a superman who works out of a cozy office in Queens, lives in Harlem and dines at places such as Red Rooster and Melba's, would impress a date with a soufflé, and writes poetry in his spare time. A sample:
"I seek to matter Not for my selfish benefits For the benefits of you For the benefits of my children For the benefits of a starving nation Whose blinded past has blurred its future Yet the future is not out of focus It just needs to be fined tuned With equality of mind Reverence of a humbled soul I seek to matter Not by the journey of my ego By the actions of my character The words of my wisdom By the meek clarity of my voice I speak with you as my friend, Brother, sister, and neighbor I seek to matter I love you I have high hopes for you Together we can conquer Together we can achieve Greatness and change."
His message and what he wants to bring to the world is inside of these lines written by Mr. Jones himself. Oh, and by the way, he is representing Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. very, very well.
Photos: Diamond Bradley. Poetry by Nicklaus Jones.