designer spotlight…djiba berete and mitch by aliyah blackmore

September 16, 2013


By: Aliyah Blackmore, AFROPUNK Fashion Contributor


The art and fashion scene in New York City has been reborn, almost in a sense remnant of the 70’s and 80’s art era in New York City with the Basquiats rampant in the streets of soho.  Freedome of expression. It’s 2013, the creativity of the youth is unorthodox but rejuvenating.   We are in an era of originality, young men and women willing to be “irrational” and explore…what are we on earth to do anyways?


In scrolling through Tumblr and Instragram, I spotted a very unique pair of jeans multiple times and was determined to find the source. “Black Dirty Diana” black jeans, embellished with a snake skin like knee patch and slight rips – hmm, how clever I thought—something so simple yet genius in the craft.  I searched and finally found the source, a Djiba Berete original and I made sure to connect with the designer.  

 On Friday August 16th, I sat down in Union Square Park and had such an inspirational conversation with Djiba Berete (Gee-ba), 20-year-old artist and designer, as well as his friend and designer, Mitch, founder of One Village Under God.  After meeting a few of Djiba’s friends out in Union (by the way, all dressed in such fly eccentric ways), he was welcoming in giving me a glimpse of his world, his art, designs and his passion to truly be original and reach untamed success.  Djiba invited Mitch to join our conversation and Mitch as well gave very powerful thoughts in regards to his own artistry and who he is.


The Djiba Berete clothing items are simplistic abstractions, minimal with the use of black and white, yet pieces that allow you to create your own statement.  The jeans, in my eyes, work best with a simple white tee, or sweatshirt with a polo underneath, a pair of pumps bright pointed toe pumps for females.  Males can rock the jeans with kicks, a plain tee and accessorize with a gold necklace or silver chain necklace.  Mitch’s work, hooded  pieces with a chain attached, seem fit for a Kanye West — very regal pieces yet they still embody a sense of street wear.  I envision the hooded pieces being paired, for females and males with harem pants, kicks, muscle tee, and you can rock out with some fly accessories.


This rebel crew of young artists and designers, males and females, are making names for themselves – with their voices as artist, as designers—they are making statements through individuality and a diverse twist on what it means to be young and uncontrolled, living up to the rebellious standard, each and every day.   They really know what it means to push the expectations and limits of society, they represent urban life and culture, and who they are—thinking outside of the white washed walls.  New York City—Soho, Willaimsburg, Harlem, wherever it may be, is their canvas and as New Yorkers we are fortunate to be engulfed in such a cultural melting pot.  This is a generation that has “got to be confident” with what we have.  Both Dijba and Mitch expressed that they are hungry for inspiration and eager to create their own, believing that, “once you are yourself, you figure everything else out.” 


Djiba and Mitch candidly shared their stories, inspiration and their journeys to the present day. Check out my full conversation with Djiba and Mitch below.


Check out their designs on the websites listed below and  support them! Gotta show love for young creative minds. – Djiba Berete – Mitch


Stay fly!