YANN DJOSSINOU, THE TIGER OF ROAR CLOTHING
This is the story of a young man who said no to an uncertain future. Only about four years ago, when he was only 19, Yann Djossinou chose his own dreams, saying no to expectation, wait-and-see policy, unemployment and a utopian paradise.
Like a tiger, Yann Djossinou has printed his marks on the Beninese fashion by creating Roar Clothing, a popular clothing line popular which is very appreciated among his targeted market of prey. With a combination of constantly renewed ingenuity and creativity, he has made a monster effect with his brand. It is henceforth an attitude, a nation. Let’s say almost a religion.
I was transported along this interview with a rage unlike any other, a rage to succeed, moved by the kind of emotion that only pure talents can give. Throughout this story that is his very own, you will only be able to hear one thing, one cry: Roaarrr.
If things had gone the way you wanted, you will be in England right now.
Yes, my ultimate life goal was going to England to study and live. After my high school diploma, I was told it is not yet possible for now, start any college here and take telecommunication as major field, start first. I just finished the first year when i was told that it is possible. Now you can go to Ghana to learn English because your school in England asked a degree in English. I went to Ghana. I launched, in parallel with my English language proficiency classes, some graphic design courses. I got my diploma. Where did the problem occur? There was a financial problem.
Then one day…
I kept this dream of travelling to England for like 3 years. I fed that hope, that famous story of the life in England. I found myself repeatedly denied the visa. I became depressed after my return from Ghana. One day I was in my room, and I said “you’re not going to run after that dream all your life, f****. Do something with your life. «It was time for me to prove that we could stay in Africa and do great things.
The day I decided to take care of myself. I said no to my utopian dream in which to succeed in life, you have to go to Europe. I wanted to prove to my parents and my friends that I could stay here and be successful. That was my fight.
Why did you choose fashion as field that day?
I’m attracted to the design since my childhood period. I like when everything I do is well organized, and I like when my outfits and clothes look great. It was obvious for me to embark into fashion. This is where I think I have a star. Things have fitted together like a puzzle in my life. I followed some brands that existed before me and which were correct and good to me, just like JiggaReal. I learned a lot in that environment. I didn’t want to create in an existing fashion style. I wanted to be original. To make the difference.
And how to make the difference in a world as competitive as the one of fashion?
The basic idea was to make streetwear clothing but a more African-like streetwear. So I wanted to make urban outfits, without falling into the Western clichés. I had the simple idea of mixing T-shirt and African loincloth. It is from there that the adventure of my brand started. I created the Afroshirt. The African Printed shirt.
I showed the result to an aunt with whom I lived in Cotonou. We both lived in one room at that time, it was a difficult period when I wanted to show who I could be. She found the idea brilliant and advised me to think about it. I took my time.
Your Label signature is a tiger! Why this emblem?
I had a stuffed tiger, a lucky charm that I carried with me everywhere. My friends used to mock at me all the time. But it was my thing. I was very much in love. I fully identify myself to cat’s family and to tigers more precisely. For me, it is the representation of the power, the rage, and the determination I have in me.
And then Roar resulted? Why “Roar Clothing”?
A friend of mine, Romeo Kokou, invited me to a prayer meeting on the Ascension night. That night was really something for me was very hard for me. It is during that night that I choosed and released the name of my brand. The priest preached and said in his speech that the breath of life that God gave to Adam was called in Hebrew “Ruach”. There was a twitch in my head at that very moment. It sounded like an animal or a feline cry. It was clearly a revelation to me. At this time, my brand has taken a whole new meaning in my life. I was certain I was going to succeed. I am confident that I will succeed. I have no doubt about it since that moment. This is one of my greatest strengths: my determination. Roar is a mix between the breath of life that God put in man and my own determination. Here’s how Roar Clothing was born.