Trash Gxng’s Tayo Adesina on dedication, adapting, and building an impactful brand

Confusion. Doubt. Excitement. These were the three emotions that defined the beginning of Tayo Adesina’s creative journey. Working as a management consultant by day, by night, Tayo is the director and founder of his own youth-focused, streetwear clothing brand, Trash Gxng. From getting to grips with different materials to hosting workshops discussing the impacts of knife crime, and producing T-Shirts inspired by participants’ learnings, Tayo is set on empowering the next generation. Having recently gone through the process of setting up shop, Tayo fills us in on the life-changing events that inspired Trash Gxng, shares some of his essential learnings, and the importance of managing your personal finances as an up-and-coming brand.

Tayo


Job Title

By night: Director and Founder of Trash Gxng
By day: Management Consultant

Based

London

Place of Study

MSc Information Management for Business, UCL (2010-2014)

Website

trashgxng.co.uk

Social Media

Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

What I do

How would you describe what you do? Can you tell us a bit about Trash Gxng?
Trash Gxng is a streetwear clothing brand rooted in social impact. We run creative workshops to break the barrier on the biggest topics that impact our youth, and turn that creativity into dope streetwear designs.

The birth of Trash Gxng was inspired by two key events in my life. The first was losing my best friend to suicide. That hit me deep; realising that as closely as you know somebody, there’s still a part of their life where they can’t be their true authentic self with you. The second was an old ex calling me ‘Trash’ to my face (lol).

These two life-changing events stirred something in me to create an outlet that empowered people to believe in their authentic selves and express their truth. Trash actually stands for: Talk Real Authentic Sh*t. That’s what we encourage in every one one of our designs and our creative workshops.

Currently, Trash Gxng is owned and directed solely by myself, but I always have to give a special shout-out to friends who have invested their time and energy into challenging me and the brand; hold tight Aaron Imuere, Jasmine St.Rose and Esther Enirayiyetan to name a few!

We’re constantly developing leading streetwear designs that encapsulate the voice of our youth – from tracksuits, hoodies and jumpers to snapbacks and bucket hats.

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The Trash Gxng website

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The Trash Gxng website

If you could sum up your job in a meme, what would it be and why?
(Below) Sometimes you wanna pull up, look at your early accomplishments and revel in the small success. But then reality slaps you… We haven’t even scratched the surface yet, so it’s time to stop laughing, get back to the grind and get elevating to the next level.

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
Every single youth we collaborate with and influence for a positive tomorrow. Being able to design our dope ‘freedom skull’ T-shirt with a strong message towards discouraging knife crime, in collaboration with one of our workshop participants – that’s the greatest inspiration to keep growing. This brand is built from us challenging the future leaders of tomorrow… each generation after you is the future and if you aren’t investing in them, what value are you adding to mankind?

What’s been your favourite project to work on, from the past year, and why?
Our last face-to-face knife crime workshop, pre-Covid 19. We welcomed over 30 dope young people to take part in a one-day workshop to discuss the impacts of knife crime in their ends and then we transformed their energy into a T-shirt design with a powerful message against knife crime.

We got each participant to become a creative for the day and design their own T-shirts using an app and paper methods with our guidance. We loved their designs so much, we created some of the winning T-shirts and here’s the winning quote on the tee: ‘Ignorance is born from pain and from the voices of youths who the government and media silences’. It’s deep, real and reflects the authentic emotions of our youth.

Trash Gxng creative workshop on knife crime

The finished T-shirt

How I got here

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
Though I’ve not studied any kind of fashion or design, I’d say no, you don’t need specific training to get started. I’m learning more and more everyday, though, that to take this impactful brand to the next level, I need to develop a team with skills that I don’t have. The three key skills I’ve picked up on in my journey so far are:

Marketing: The foundation to making an impact on the fashion industry is in marketing. It’s a must to know how you can get your dope designs into the hands of the people who want to wear it. Trash Gxng can design the greatest streetwear of 2021, but if nobody sees it, it’s wasted genius.

Negotiation: This is key. You have to have the discipline to negotiate with multiple suppliers, at different price points, and ensure you get the best deal. This is the heartbeat of creating a sustainable business that will last. Understanding your finances goes hand-in-hand with this.

Management: Know your backend processes and automate as much as you can. It’s so important to be able to manage your stock efficiently, so your customers get the right products at the right time. It sounds basic, but the better you manage this side of the business, the more time you get to spend being creative.

“[Starting out] was a constant cycle of three emotions: Confusion, doubt, excitement.”

What was your journey like when you were first starting out?
Bruh. Confusion, doubt, excitement. It was a constant cycle of those three emotions. Getting to grips with the types of textures that can be used for specific designs, or learning how to combine materials for a unique finish. None of this came easy, but it was and still is, all trial and error. Being dedicated to the journey and celebrating the small wins helped me find my feet, but more importantly, kept me going through the toughest times.

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work or career, what would they be and why?
Shoe Dog by Phil Knight and Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. I think the combination of these two books really helped pivot my mindset, and to accept that I want more for myself and my business. Understanding the story of how Nike became what it is today from a guy that had nothing but a passion for running? That right there proved anything is possible in this creative world.

Lastly, following the journey of William Adoasi of watch brand, Vitae London. Seeing a local South London boy taking a small drop-shipping watch brand to changing how children in Africa get access to education was a great example and role model for future creatives with a social impact blueprint.

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Trash Gxng Archives: The first sample tracksuit

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'No Games' X Long Sleeve

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Limited edition in acid wash

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What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Letting go of what seemed like a perfect plan on paper and learning how to pivot along the way. The biggest lesson for me has been learning the art of adapting. If your first plan doesn’t succeed or land the way you wanted, the challenge to adapt and reposition yourself for new opportunities has been a massive growth area.

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
Social media is king. I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to efficiently market your dope brand – it’s often the thing that sets people apart. Meaningful content that invokes reaction, buy-in or even just provokes an action, those are the key types of promotion I’ve noticed.

Working with influencers is also powerful. It definitely generates interest in your brand and brings that added authenticity especially in your early days, but authentic influencer partnerships that are closely aligned to your brand’s aim and vision is the key to promoting what your niche is.

“Social media is king. I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to efficiently market your dope brand.”

What have been your greatest learnings with making money and supporting yourself as a creative?
I’ve been fortunate to be working full-time in the day as a business consultant and put all of my additional hours into growing this brand. Truthfully, I’ve prioritised my savings to support the initial growth of this business because I believe in our vision and how we will impact lives for the better.

Managing your personal finances as a creative is a unique journey for everyone. Set your mindset to what success means to your business, and you’ll find that you’ll do whatever it takes financially to support yourself until you get there.

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Benjamin, the owner of Benjart told me, “Get your back office sorted. Walk into a corner shop and ask bossman how he manages his inventory, keeps on top of his stock and know what sells best.” I think this was pretty profound advice because I think the ‘back office’ applies to our lives too; how we discipline ourselves to wake up early, plan our days, eat well and so on. Getting the basics right sets you up to handle the future growth that’s next to come.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role to you?
Research your niche, what makes your brand unique, and how you’ll organically market your brand to your dream target audience. Keep them hooked.

Once you know your purpose and vision for why your brand is solely unique, explore your creative edge and sample every material and design you can come up with. Then it’s really down to your research on whether you want to source your garments locally or internationally. Both have their positives, but all decisions you make should tie back to your overarching purpose and vision for the brand.

Feel free to hit us up on our socials if you ever want any specific advice on what companies you can reach out to, we’re always happy to help.

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Tayo is a member of The Kusp, a platform for diverse creatives across fashion, media and film. We have partnered with them to highlight some of their talented network. See more from Tayo and The Kusp here.