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From roads to riches! Interview with fashion label owner Akin Thunds

Updated: 6 days ago

My interview with fashion label owner and serial entrepreneur Akin Thunds. What makes this journey incredible is that Akin started off as one of the young people David worked with earlier in his career of working with young offenders and developing 4TY.

Akin at the time was a young person coming out of jail for a very serious offence (find out more about that in his documentary). Akin had a real passion for music, resulting in him while in jail battling various other inmates in his quest to be known as the best rapper. When I met Akin as an 18 year old he was quietly confident and very ambitious! I had to be on my A game working with him. For the next year and a half, I took him to a music studio every week, where we reasoned, debated, had me acting as a taxi service and most importantly created hit songs that started the development of his clothing brand, and just like the saying goes the rest is history!


Currently it's become much harder to secure funding for our vital youth projects though the ask of our service has only increased. If you can please consider making a donation to our project. As this allows us to continue on in running our projects such as our music studio project for young people referred to us who are known to the criminal justice system or the care system ( Care system: means young people who are taken from their homes and placed in protective custody in things such as a foster home or care home, though this process is usually very traumatic for the young person).



David Anglin: Where was you born and in what era? 80's etc.


Akin Thunds: I was born in the 90’s. I can’t remember what on earth was going on then to be honest.


DA: What was your memories like of under the age of 10?


AT: My earliest memories are playing football in the cage they had on my estate, after around age 10 they knocked it down and turned it into a nursery, so we had nowhere to play anymore.


DA: What was it like for you growing up as a teen in London?


AT: I wouldn’t raise my son in London, put it that way.


DA: What was in fashion those days?


AT: So many things came and went but people used to wear massive bootcut jeans and new era caps, the slim things you see me manufacturing these days would never have passed!


DA: Who did you listen to music wise?


AT: I was really big on the legendary UK rappers like Giggs, G-Frsh, Lowkey, they inspired me to want to rap.



DA: In a track from your mixtape Kaawoop you say money changes everything, how so?


AT: I say this because your lifestyle is determined by the depth of your pocket. If I can afford to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, generally everything else around me is going to be healthy and balanced. If my family are well fed and I can provide for them, the status of their life will be completely different to that of someone who has nothing. Money does change everything, it's like a domino effect. 


DA: Would you say money is the root to all evil?


AT: Money is not the root of all evil. The LOVE of money is the root of all evil, this means when money is your first love you will do anything for it, EVEN evil, if you don’t LOVE money and can accept less, there is nothing evil about it.


DA: When was the first time you ever saw serious blood get drawn?


AT: I was age 13 when first saw a stabbing.


DA: How did seeing this make you feel?


AT: I hate blood so I felt sick but knew it was a very normal and common part of the environment I was stuck in.


DA: Currently the UK seems to be gripped in a knife crime epidemic, have you ever experienced or seen the long term effects of using a knife? 


AT: I went to prison for a knife offence, so I still have to live with the consequences of that today. Things could have turned out so much differently


DA: How did you feel going jail as a teen?


AT: It wax just a part of life for us, nearly every single one of the boys I grew up with went to jail at some point in our teens.


DA: In your opinion would you say jail works? 


AT: Definitely not, This is something I'm passionate about. The reason why it doesn’t work is because people who go to jail typically aren’t taking responsibility for their lives. They’re making irresponsible decisions which lead to prison, So naturally you’d think the answer is to teach them how to be responsible for their lives but instead you throw them in a jail and take all their responsibilities away, tell them when to eat, when to bath, when to make a phone call, when to wake up, how can anyone learn how to be a better person with no responsibilities.


DA: What help do you believe could of been offered to prevent you from ending up in to jail?


AT: Nothing, in my case I strongly believe it was a path I had to go down in order to tell the story I do today. Jail was only a matter of when than if.


DA: What has been your lowest moments in life?


AT: This might sound crazy considering everything I’ve been through, but the lowest moment in life for me was being left by my ex fiancé, It felt like someone had died literally, like I lost the closest thing to me. It’s not even possible to explain how I felt in words.


DA: How was you able to overcome these and become the director of a massive clothing line?


AT: First of all I’m extremely blessed and fortunate, but aside from that, I can say I have a huge ambition, and I won’t take no for an answer. When you combine all of it, It means whatever I set my mind to always ends up working out in my favour, even when I make massive mistakes somehow they turn around and become my story.


DA: Just to give the readers perspective of the scope of your brand can I ask how much product you've moved?


AT: We sell into 8 retailers who all order around 1000 units per year. We also sold over 3000 units in our first year before closing our e-commerce store.


DA: How are you able to stay so focused and clued up to keep Truenodizzy as a leading player in the fashion world?


AT: Tell you the truth, Im not interested in fashion. Im a trend setter, I do what I want and you’ll buy it.


DA: What's an act of extreme kindness you've seen or done yourself that had a profound impact on you?


AT: It's a difficult one to answer but I just believe in loving everyone as as you love yourself or family. If we all acted from a place of love the world would be amazing.


DA: What advice would you have for young people, who equally have as big a vision as you?


AT: Chase your dreams. Walk through the richest parts of your city and acknowledge that another human being just like you owns these buildings, why can’t you?


DA: What does being a man mean for you? 


AT: Being able to take responsibility for your life in every area, further to that to be able to provide and take responsibility for your family and loved ones in areas they can’t.


DA: Lastly (I'm saying this with a grin) can my readers get a discount when purchasing some Truenodizzy merch... you know they want to look fresh :D


AT: 100%, when if and when we re-open e-commerce, I got you.


For those who enjoyed reading this and want to learn more about Aki’s story please watch his documentary in the below link or click here


Excerpt from Preachers Chronicles

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