303 Style Profile – Mxkobi on Style Evolution and Freedom of Expression

303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and their incredible style and stories. Go here to see past profiles.

With a cultural lens and a combination of careers in music, modeling and styling, Jonathan Mikobi N’Dala (Mxkobi) has a unique perspective on fashion. His childhood consisted of leaping from one continent to the next, all while helping his single mom hone her personal style. In an interview with 303 Magazine, Mxkobi reflects on how his career and time traveling around the world have influenced his sense of fashion and the way he puts his outfits together.

Mxkobi, Jonathan Mikobi N'Dala, Chelsea Evic, 303 Style Profile, Fashion, Cultural Fashion

Photo by @_blackson_

303 Magazine: Tell us more about your career in the music industry.  

Mxkobi: My career in the music industry started with my time spent at MetMedia running my own radio show called P.O.P.S Radio 1 (PR1). There, I learned a lot but also was able to develop my skills as a Radio Broadcaster and DJ. I ran that show for over three years before being offered a position at Universal Music Group/°1824. At Universal, I handle Marketing/Lifestyle, Brand Activations and Campaign Ideations in partnership with some of your favorite artists such as 2 Chainz, Arianna Grande and Tame Impala.

303: How has being a model and stylist influenced your style?

M: My modeling start was with the talented photographer, Rebecca Slaughter, who brought me in for the S/S ’16 of Ruckus Apparel. After an amazing photoshoot, we had an honest conversation [about] what the landscape of the Denver scene looked like and where the disconnect was. That conversation sparked a fire in me to give this new found love for modeling a try. By God’s blessing, I was able to walk in Ruckus Apparel S/S ’16 collection, which opened doors for more work, and in under a year’s time, I was able to connect with multiple local and national brands who were looking for a fresh new face. This exposed me to more work and I believe that my ability to network helped me leverage the genuine relationships I had built with several brands. These have led to me being the face of many of their campaigns locally and nationally. 

As far as styling, I was raised by a single black woman. When I was 12 years old, my mom would storm into my room every Saturday night before church to ask my opinion on her outfits. Questions like, “Are these pants too tight? Does my ass look too big in this? Is this appropriate for this event? Have I worn this before?” Needless to say, I was her stylist at the age of 12. We would go shopping and she would ask me to choose every detail of her next outfit. I didn’t realize that in some way shape or form, she was grooming me to be a stylist one day. Fast forward to today, I do this for a living and my mom is my biggest supporter. I’ve worked in tech for eight years but nothing brings me more joy than to help people achieve ultimate confidence through garments.
Mxkobi, Jonathan Mikobi N'Dala, Chelsea Evic, 303 Style Profile, Fashion, Cultural Fashion

Photo by Mxkobi

303: How would you describe your personal style? 

M: My personal style is a cross between all the stops (as in countries lived in) I made as a kid. The Democratic Republic Of Congo, where I am from, gives me my true authentic love for style, colors and music. Congolese people like colors, that’s how we express our personality. You can definitely find that element in the color schemes of my garments. Europe, being the second continent I lived in, brought me an appreciation for tailored, well-fitted and put together looks. As a teenager in America, streetwear became more prevalent in my style. The aesthetics of that culture sparked an interest in me and eventually influenced how I put all of these elements together. To sum it up, I believe my style is always changing over time with the spaces I occupy and complete freedom of expression.

303: Are there any designers or fashion icons who inspire you?
M: Yes, and that list is fairly small or maybe not, in no particular order:
myself, Kanye West, Pharell Williams, Karl Lagerfeld, Pierre Cardin, Phoebe Philo, etc.
Mxkobi, Jonathan Mikobi N'Dala, Chelsea Evic, 303 Style Profile, Fashion, Cultural Fashion

Photo by @keenaphoto

303: Do you have any favorite local brands?

M: My favorite local brands are False Ego and Adult Ent. I like False Ego because they are an eco-friendly brand that has focused on being conscious about the footprint they leave on earth. That is something that resonates with me. For Adult Ent, I love how edgy and daring they are in their imagery and approach to delivering quality garments. Both of those brands are at the forefront of the Denver fashion renaissance.

: What are your current favorite trends in men’s fashion?

M: I really like the combination of fitted and oversized with earth tone color palettes. That’s just one of many, to be honest, I try to march to the beat of my own drums and not do what everybody else is doing.
303: What are your goals for the future? Do you have any new projects you are working on?
M: I would like to keep a bit of that a secret and allow the element of surprise to do its own thing, but If I may share a nugget. It will be provocative and educational … seeds.
Mxkobi, Jonathan Mikobi N'Dala, Chelsea Evic, 303 Style Profile, Fashion, Cultural Fashion

Photo by Mxkobi