UNIFORM’s CEO, Chid Liberty and his beautiful girlfriend, supermodel Georgie Badiel, were in Liberia a couple of weeks ago. Topping this was news that they brought along, and again invited, A$AP Ferg, one of America’s leading performing rap artists and designers with a keen interest in Africa and UNIFORM, to Liberia.
“What people don’t know is that A$AP Ferg was a designer before he became a rapper. He designed articulate street designs of army look and street colors. A lot of the designs A$AP Ferg comes up with are military inspired, cargo pants, military jackets,” Chid shared.
Chid Liberty runs the first certified Fair Trade Company in Africa known as UNIFORM, a clothing factory that donates a free uniform to a child each time their products are purchased.
LIB Life caught up with Chidegar Liberty (Chidegar is a Bassa name which means ‘Bookman’) and wanted to know the entire buzz on A$AP’s coming, the UNIFORM look book, and his aspirations.
LIB LIFE: We are excited to have you here with us; it’s amazing what you have been doing. Tell us a little about you, UNIFORM and how A$AP Ferg fits in all of this.
CHID: I left Liberia at 18 months old and my parents worked in Germany and then in the US. In 2010, I founded the first fair trade certified factory in Africa here in Liberia. I’m selling and exporting to the US and have a pretty good business. Of course during the Ebola outbreak, we were set back seriously until last year, when we launched our own brand called ‘UNIFORM’ and that brought our factory back from the Ebola outbreak.
LIB LIFE: We heard that you have given children free school uniforms so that they will be able to go to school, how does that work for your organization?
CHID: We have a fashion line that is sold right now in Bloomingdales and on our website www.chapuniform.com. Every time someone makes a purchase, we donate a uniform to a child in Liberia that cannot afford one. Last year we were able to have 10,000 kids go to school; and in the next 12 months we are going to help at least 50,000 kids go to school.
LIB LIFE: How will you do that?
CHID: We have someone helping us do that right now, a very famous rapper called A$AP Ferg from the US who came to Liberia. We have what’s called UNIFORM Spring Break, which is where we bring a bunch of amazing people to come and celebrate our brand. We also shot our look book during our visit that will give many people in Paris, Malian, or New York a chance to see it. During our visit we also brought international model Georgie Badiel, who is making her third visit to Liberia. She’s not new to Liberia but new to Liberia as my girlfriend (Giggles).
This is UNIFORM’s first time marketing with a brand. We partnered with A$AP Ferg’s clothing line, which is called Traplord. UNIFORM does these celebrity collaborations now. We wanted to give a really authentic street feel that will work as well in New York as it would in Liberia, so we used real people, but they still needed to be beautiful and their clothes needed to be beautiful. The shoot was not over produced; it was shot by a photographer called Renellaice, who shot the official Traplord look book. She is an amazing street photographer; she’s very close to Ferg.
LIB LIFE: Why did you select A$AP of all artist?
CHID: We setup this initial collaboration because as a rapper he is also talented in fashion designing, really incredible and has been in it for generations. His father owned a boutique in Harlem; they used to do all the t-shirts for Bad Boy and Diddy back in the days. After art school, A$AP says he became a designer and started designing belts and stuff for Chris Brown. Everyone knows him from the music, but he is also a really incredible designer of street wear. We wanted to partner a street wear line with Traplord, where everything this time will be made in Africa, in our network of factories. We have factories in Kenya, Morocco, Ethiopia and Uganda that are all working on this collection. All that we give away are produced right here in Liberia. We cast a guy named Valentine who is fantastic, they were shooting on a soccer field near the beach and found a goalie of the national soccer team and she took some shots with us.
LIB LIFE: Tell us a little about how A$AP received Liberia?
CHID: A$AP’s goal was to come to Africa and see things for himself, cause he was interested in the kids, UNIFORM, our factories all over, and in the work we’re dong within the continent. It has always been his dream to come to Africa; his grandma talked about it, his mom. And on this trip, he brought his mother who celebrated her birthday in Liberia, his uncle and two members of his team. They as well wanted to see Liberia to see what business they are getting into and also because it has been a long lost dream for them. This is just the beginning, we are going to see so many other celebrities coming to other parts of Africa with us to support and continue to put kids in school. A$AP says he has already talked to Rick Ross, French Montana and a couple of other celebs about us and was in Liberia when he dropped his newest track featuring Remy Ma, ‘East Coast.’ His album will drop the same time UNIFORM’s spring line will be coming out, all of this happening together in a really big way. He says he will be back in Liberia and is coming with friends.