It’s that time of year when some New Yorkers hesitantly say goodbye to the solace of the East End in exchange for the hustle and bustle of New York City. One of those individuals being Igee Okafor, an internationally-renowned writer, influencer, and entrepreneur, who has been keeping his popular verified Instagram page up to date with his latest adventures in the Hamptons— ending with a 3-part tribute video to the wonderful times he had on the South Fork this summer.
Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Igee Okafor attended boarding school in Europe quickly getting a taste of the best the world has to offer before moving to New York City to get a degree in Business and Marketing from St. John University. Upon graduation, he made a name for himself with his eponymous lifestyle blog as a force to be reckoned with in the fashion blogging industry, drawing inspiration from his travel experiences abroad and cultural heritage.
After years of successful blogging and working directly under the CEO of Socialyte, a NYC-based influencer marketing agency, Igee decided to continue to embark on his expansive media career by creating the multimedia men’s publication BOND OFFICIAL, a platform for men who are looking for interpersonal inspiration that enhances the most realistic picture of the modern man.
When he’s not working on building his media empire, Igee Okafor can be found enjoying the pleasures of the Hamptons. I luckily had the opportunity to speak with him to learn more behind the content he created in the Hamptons this summer, his favorite things to do out East, and insight about his overall career.
Your photos and subsequent short film shot by awarding-winning, Arnaud Montagard, are so sensational. What was the inspiration for the shoot?
IO: Thank-you very much, Shakir. Means a lot to me. Sometime in August, Krystal Bick and I received an opportunity to partner with Cointreau on a Game Night social campaign they were aligning and we both came up with the concept to shoot a picnic-like story for it. The plan was to go out East for the day from the city originally, but somewhere along the line, I asked Krystal if she’d be open to doing an “end of summer” concept shoot. It has been a tough year, as you know, and I must say as someone who considers himself creative, I had been in a creative rut for a while. I was very uninspired and everything I was creating at the time seemed to only fall standard to me. The idea of doing the “end of summer” shoot was sort of a test to see if I could still concept a project as one of the subjects and properly tell a cohesive story – in addition to directing and producing all of it.
Krystal agreed and I started to piece together moodboards and ideas. I really wanted to channel and highlight key essentials that make summer so riveting to me. Music, swimming pools, lightweight clothing, the beach, fields, boating, La Dolce Vita, you know?
I called Arnaud Montagard, whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, and asked him if he’d be interested, and thankfully he was. We worked together on a campaign for The Plaza Hotel early last year and I had worked with him after on some personal work projects for BOSS and Levis. He intrigues me as a person and a photographer and I felt it would be nice to reconnect in that way. His photography is stellar and he has such a unique way of capturing people in entrancing surroundings. He also manages to do it in such a casual way that doesn’t read standard-like at all and he does it quickly. Love it!
We shot all of the content in a day, essentially. We started at 5:00 a.m. and went until around 7:00 p.m. or so. We didn’t really have a video concept. I ended up documenting some video clips on my iPhone of the surroundings and Krystal mostly. I directed Arnaud to help with shots inclusive of me in them and then I put them all together.
You have developed quite a brand for yourself as an international menswear expert. Do you have any style tips for those on the East End?
IO: Thank-you again for such a huge compliment. By no means do I consider myself an “expert.” I like to call myself a menswear enthusiast. I have very strong perspectives of how I believe things should be, but I like to learn about new products, ideas and culture. When it comes to style tips on the East End in the summer, I say swim trunks and linen shirts all summer long. If you’re feeling fancy, silk is always a good look and Casablanca brand is designing very exciting clothing right now.
What does an average day look like for you in the Hamptons? Do you have any favorite places to visit, shop, dine, socialize, and relax?
IO: An average day in the Hamptons, for me, consists of a home base, lounging by the pool or the beach and eating a lot. My friends and I either book a hotel or get a house. I usually like to go when there is an event surrounding. I enjoy brunch at Babette’s, Gurney’s Beach Club is definitely a treat too. Before the pandemic, The Surf Lodge was great for large gatherings and social events. Crow’s Nest is a very relaxing getaway too. They have some fine cocktails and a tasty Mediterranean menu. Kirk Park Beach in Montauk is perhaps one of the most beautiful and relaxed beaches I have ever seen in New York.
Has the pandemic affected your career as an influencer, writer, and Editor-in-Chief of BOND OFFICIAL?
IO: Great question. It has been a bit of a whirlwind, hasn’t it? Like most of the world I’m sure, my career has definitely been affected, but I don’t see it as a bad thing. The way I was affected, I consider it to be very on the surface compared to the other extreme. I’m blessed and thankful to still be able to work, but the industry has slowed down a lot and we’ve been really forced to reconfigure how we move forward more intentionally for the good of the future and that’s what I’ve been doing for my publication and my personal projects. This is the first time in the last three years I have had a real break to full realize and think about the next chapters of my life. Before that, the schedules were a bit insane and we didn’t realize it because we were used to being part of a machine. I’m taking time out to figure out how to carve my own rules. Mentally, physically, and professionally and some great revelations have come out of that.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
IO: The first thing that comes to mind is to tell everyone to keep swimming. I am seeing a lot of people in pain with so many changes happening so quickly. We are experiencing a really pivotal time in the world right now and there is so much opportunity for our greatest desires to be realized. Love yourself, love others, stay optimistic and work hard to keep yourself happy – no matter what that means for you. The breakthrough is around the corner.
Follow his Instagram account, @IgeeOkafor, to view more content of his adventures in the Hamptons.