[NEPENTHES PEOPLE] JOEL POKU
Please tell us a bit about your background. Where are you from? When did you come to New York? What does New York mean to you?
I’m an African man and proud of it. My parents came to the United States from Ghana over 30 years ago. I was born just outside of Atlanta and raised in New Jersey. I grew up close to New York, so I’ve been exposed to the city since I was young. New York is the purest form of inspiration. Every day I see something new that may seem minuscule at the time but has a long-term impact on my sense of identity.
What do you do for a living? How did you get into your profession?
On paper, I’m an accountant. I’ve been a numbers oriented person since I was young. I distinctly remember my father having me in his office at home doing practice problems in addition to my standard coursework… While I hated it then, I’ve come to realize that you need a person that is comfortable with numbers on your team - regardless of what line of work you choose to be in.
Where did you choose for your local place? Why did you choose this location?
I chose Joloff as my local place – a West African restaurant in Brooklyn. Jolloff rice is a staple West African dish that I’ve had too many times to count. Similar to music, dance, and textiles, food is a huge part of being able to understand and experience culture.
Please tell us what you’re wearing. How did you choose to purchase these pieces?
I’m wearing an Over Vest by EG and Nepenthes x Tricker’s Asymmetrical Brogues. The Over Vest is timeless to me. It was my first ever piece by Nepenthes and I picked it up during my defining days in Boston. The brogues I purchased while perusing through London with a good friend of mine. They immediately caught my attention as they’re intricate and full of details when you see them up close, but subtle enough to wear casually.
Please tell us how you became involved with Nepenthes New York.
I came around to Nepenthes New York a few days after the store reopened. I developed a good relationship with both James and Winston who work at the store. From there I got to know the rest of the team. I try to come around to the store every few weeks to see the art exhibitions, newly arrived items, and to simply catch up with the store staff.
Which of the Nepenthes brands catches your eye most often? Is there a reason for this?
Usually, the EG pieces stand out to me. One of my friends is an EG fanatic so it was the first part of the Nepenthes family I was exposed to. I love how every piece is easy on the eye, provides utility, and is compatible with pretty much any wardrobe. Recently, I’ve been trying to get more into South2 West8. I think it is the sleeper of the three major Nepenthes labels and I enjoy the fishing lore behind the designs.
What was the last thing you purchased from the store?
My most recent purchase was the Day Pack by South2 West8. I got my bike fixed a couple weeks ago and was looking for a backpack to wear when I slide through the city. Sometimes you get into critical situations when riding in New York and having a tote bag over my shoulder wasn’t practical anymore… The Day Pack is the perfect size and meets all my needs.
What do you have going on in your professional life lately? Is there anything you can share with us?
Apart from my full-time job, I’ve been working with my friend Dane on a production company for TV, film and short form content called Pineloft Entertainment. We’ve been working on developing a few projects that I’m excited to see come to life. In addition to that, my friends Dami, Oré and I all do art direction for a project we created called Sankofa – it primarily focuses on the curation of African art and culture. We’re planning to do an event in Lagos soon which will be a lot of fun. My schedule has been crazy lately, but I enjoy juggling projects and staying on the move.
Stay tuned for the next installment of NEPENTHES PEOPLE, coming soon.