Style Icons: Tinie Tempah


Kojo Jumah


The creator and driving force behind Gentleman's Division. Kojo is ...

London rapper and style icon, Tinie Tempah, can be credited with resurrecting new reminders about the value of men’s accessories and more fundamentally the defined trademark appearance. The Elle Style Awards 2014 was a classic example of his influence on display as a dominant performer and urban style critic.

Lookbook Inspiration

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His trademark and highly versatile Cutler & Gross, Tom Ford or Ray-Ban frames are now seen worn successfully with bold Dolce & Gabbana suits on several occasion, as he maintained a similar appearance at the Brit Awards 2014 and in his role as a GQ ambassador. What’s exceptional about his look is clear when you consider his more recognisable street wear and how both high-end street wear and high-end formal attire can create a narrative of intentional style when accompanied by the right, bold trademark accessories.

Tempah’s recent collaboration with MH1 to develop, high-end, tailored pieces add to his already notable Disturbing London label’s efforts. Launched in spring 2012, and though still developing form, Disturbing London’s loud, venter-dominating T-shirt prints and patterned hoodies emblazoned with a city-of-London-in profile crown atop a disturbing red skull offer reasonable expressivity and fit in well with the intention of a promotes effort at self-branding. This is as much a nod to his upbringing in uncelebrated London quarters as it is to his now dominating visibility as a performer, artist and style icon in this same city.

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Understandably, Tempah has challenges elsewhere, as he becomes known as well for his style as his music. His effort to maintain his unique individual style, while at the same time, offering it up, through his brand for the masses is among these new challenges. Why he’s been successful in navigating this uniquely difficult space is because he has entirely trademarked and personalised a look around bold eyewear his go-to accessory. By creating such an immediately recognizable image that communicates when worn with either high-end street wear or high-end formal attire, Tinie Tempah leaves a lasting impression of familiar individuality. His style approach is effective and constantly communicating intension, and is both refreshing, consistent and accessible to others—whether to be adopted or simply understood.

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Final Thought

However, where Tempah takes risk is quiet clear. His layered denim and synthetic jackets give him tremendous versatility and uncommon appeal. The sneakers he wears alongside patterned shirts expose a quirky side that he’s quite clearly not planning to lose anytime soon. His look bridges popular modern decade items, whether a node to the 80’s or the easily misunderstood geeky set-up characteristic of more modern times. Tempah’s style exudes creative, eclectic order and amplifies his own messages around social harmony and strife that dominate his lyrics. Where Tempah takes his look as he continues to expand as an artist on the public stage is unclear. What is certain however is that people will be watching and trying to understand it.