We had the good fortune of connecting with Idrissa Camara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Idrissa, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
When it is all set and done, I want people to remember me as an individual who loved and cared deeply for everyone. I am for love, I am for kindness, and I am for inclusivity. We are all created equal and no one human being is better than another.
I want people to remember me as an individual who deliberately went out of his way to spread positivity as much as he could. I am going to help as many people as humanly possible. And god willing, raise a family that will continue with that trend.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Original Ugly is a unisex clothing brand. We offer unique designs across premium quality ready-to-wear-garments and accessories. Our style is cozy, relaxed and timeless. It is everyday casuals that can also be used as statement pieces. The brand was created for young women and men who are free thinkers, and have an interest in art, culture, and music.
What sets us apart from others is our service and our obsession for producing quality garments. We are very much customer focused, and want to ensure that they have the best experience with us. Product is one aspect of that, the second is service. When you touch our garments, you can immediately notice the craftsmanship, and premium feel. We are extremely proud of that. Then there is the service. Which for us, is equally as important as providing quality garments, if not more. We have a lot of respect for people and their time. When they choose to spend their hard earned money on our product, that’s a huge honor, and for us, service is a way of showing a little bit of gratitude.
How I got to where I am today is simply a love for fashion and creating different looks. I don’t have a formal training in this. Everything that we have done so far is a result of being a student and being resourceful. We had a vision, came up with a plan, and dove in. Still learning as we go.
Admittedly, starting a fashion brand was not a dream of mine. My first dream was to play professional soccer. When I stopped playing soccer, I had time to explore different things, and eventually discovered my interest in fashion. My business partner, Mohamed and I started this whole thing with just printing on T-shirts for ourselves. It was just funny phrases, and different cool designs on shirts. It was always eye-catching, and people always noticed and made comments about what we were wearing. One day, Mohamed printed “#Ugly” on a shirt, and a light bulb went off for me. That moment is when we decide to start a brand called “#Ugly.” Obviously had work to do on the name and ended up with Original Ugly. For me it was the perfect name for the attitude and lifestyle that we wanted to share with the world.
We are still at a very early stage in our journey. Everyday presents a different challenge, but as I mentioned earlier, being resourceful, and being students is helping us overcome these challenges.
Lesson I have learned is that no one man can do anything by himself. Surrounding yourself with a great team is a must. And quite frankly, that’s not just in fashion, that’s with anything you do in life.
What the world needs to know about the people behind the brand is that we are for love, we are for fairness, and we are for inclusion. We want to light up people’s day, not dim it. We want to encourage people to always be authentic, no matter what. Stand for what you believe in, even if that means being the odd man out. Always follow your heart, and never ever let your actions be dictated by external pressure or opinions.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I recently moved back to Denver, and a lot has changed. Quite frankly, I consider myself a visitor now.
If I had a friend visit, we would not eat anything other than my mom’s meals. All sorts of African dishes. From ris au gras to coucous, attieke, plantains, the list goes on. Also, my brother is a master griller and smoker, so endless grilled and smoked lamb.
In terms of places to visit, I will start at the RiNo district, you can’t go wrong there. We’ll visit south broadway, and for sure make a trip to the highlands and grab some Little Man ice cream.
I like Hiking, so we will make a trip to Boulder or Golden for a small hike, nothing too crazy. I would also have them see Red Rocks, that’s a must. Depending on the time of the year, I will take them to a sporting event.
For nightlife, we will start at Viewhouse and hop around on Market st and Larimer.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I come from a muslim family I thank Allah first and foremost, without him, nothing is possible.
As far as group of people, there is a whole gang of family and friends behind me, without whom, I will not be where I am today. But I am going to focus on my parents, and recognize them for the support and sacrifices they made for me and my siblings. My mother’s name is Tata Bah, and my father’s name is Sanga Camara.
My family is originally from Bamako, Mali, in West Africa. When I was six years old, my father moved to Denver, seeking a better life for all of us. This was the year of 2000. He worked so hard to provide for himself and all of us in Africa. My mother did such a wonderful job during my father’s absence taking care of my siblings and I.
As he was working tirelessly, my father was also working on bringing the rest of the family over here. Six years later, he was able to get my siblings and I to join him in Denver. This was in 2006. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until 2012, another six years that our mother joined us here. Right before I left for College.
I was a huge soccer fan and played the game all my life. When I moved here I played in high school, and club. That meant rides to practices, games, tournament, you name it. My dad always worked two jobs, so you can imagine the effort that went in to making sure I never missed even a practice. On days that he could not take me, he would have a friend take me or coordinate something with my coaches. My older brother Souleymane also played a big part in dropping me off and picking me up when he could. Reason why that’s relevant here is because playing soccer got me a scholarship to Midwestern State University for my freshman and sophomore year and Southern Methodist University my Junior and Senior year. I graduated in 2016 with my Bachelor degree being the first in my family.
The story is so long, but we will save that for another conversation. Just wanted to give you a little bit of insight into my journey so far, and give you an idea of the role my family played in it.