Story of the Legendary Koi by Tai Cole-Jay

So the legend starts off in ancient Japan (of course right?) with an entire school of Koi fish who are happily enjoying life, peacefully swimming along the rivers of the world. And I mean these were beautiful fish. The kind you would want to buy instead of actually eating; their scales gleamed like millions of “living jewels” in any sunlight. All of this is tranquil and lovely, you know?

Only until one day, they encounter a giant waterfall. Instantly, a large group of the fish began to break away from the group, seeking out another path. “How could you ever imagine overcoming a giant waterfall like that? You’re crazy”, they claimed. But the group that hadn’t strayed from the majority kept trying to jump over the waterfall.

Over and over, their attempts at getting to the top failed. But it didn’t seem to discourage them in their efforts. Exhausted, they did so for years and years, one hundred to be exact, until one day, one fish managed to muster up enough courage and strength to jump to the top. With one great leap, the mighty Koi had finally achieved its destiny. The gods looked down on the fish with great satisfaction and turned the koi fish into a dragon. The waterfall became known as the “Dragon’s Gate”, making the new, Golden dragon a symbol of power and perseverance.

This should resonate with you dreamers. For those who feel like the path that you’ve embarked on isn’t doing much to get you to the next level, as long as your heart and mind is in the right place, the ONLY option you have is to put greater effort in. Sometimes reaching your goals won’t be easy. Sometimes it won’t feel fair either. Sometimes there will be people who started down the river with you who decided that you and the other big dreamers weren’t worth following. It will hurt, and sometimes can also play tricks on your mind. But you’ve got to remain strong and convicted in your beliefs so that you can always come out on top. Literally and metaphorically.

As a result, the rewards are well worth all the sacrifice and toiling, making you almost forget what you were groaning and having doubt about. It’s always about our mindset and how deep we are willing to dig into our souls to pull out our greatest selves. It’s all about learning to accept what you can’t change so you can focus more energy into the areas that you do have control over, helping to usher in a better reality for yourself. Remember it’s always about how you perceive things..

Kami Takes Over Indy by Tai Cole-Jay

Remember the times when you would have that game, meet, match, recital, or competition? Maybe it was even a big party with many first impressions? Can you recall when the day came and all those voices would be in the back of your head fighting for dominance? Whether it was the voice of reason, fear, doubt, excitement, or anything else, there was an overall "vibe" to those moments leading up to you going live. That is exactly how I felt when it was time for me to head to Indiana and show everyone what I had. Waking up, I was instantly engulfed in a wave of despair and anxiety. As soon as I sat up, it was like the air suddenly got heavier (or maybe I got weaker). Nothing was already packed, and although I woke up at least 6 hours before I was supposed to leave in the AM, I still didn't have enough time to get myself together. My car unfortunately was down, so I was forced to ask my videographer if we could take his car instead of mine. His alarms didn't go off at the right time. I'll leave it at that. Once we finally got everything in the car (after about literally 5 laps back and forth down the street) and I got all the sweat out of my face, I took a deep breath and tried to relax on the trip. I always have a tendency to give the voice of doubt too much room to create a distraction in my mind.

Once we arrived and got in I admit I froze for a second because I had never personally been IN an event this big before. There were many resale shops and boutiques with dozens upon dozens of shoes. Other vendors were there selling different novelty items, food, and even clothing as well. I don't remember how many college, international, and other basketball players from various leagues were in the house, but they were crawling. A DJ resided atop the roof of the concessions stand with "Conceited" from Nick Cannon's "Wild'n'Out" enjoying the tunes and attention. I got to my table and realized I left my table cover, I left my poster to display my brand name, there were at least a dozen more tops I could have brought in order to help my aesthetic, and that I was ultimately ill prepared. I sat at the table with my head up, somber, expecting failure. Expecting nobody to come my way because of the sloppy setup I created; it was horrible. But then someone happened to glance at my table and look away, only to instantly double back with a different expression. He walked up and said "damn, these shirts are dope bro, do you have this in an XL?". I didn't. But I gave him my card and told him that I would be able to supply him with what he wants. A couple minutes later, another guy, and then another guy. By that time, I had begun to see that I was really attracting more attention than almost anybody else at the convention. Because of what I brought and didn't bring. I hadn't sold a thing there to be honest. But so many people took my card (luckily I did bring those) and contacted me and even shopped, that it was worth every second there. Even the other clothing vendors couldn't resist heading over to see what all the congregation was about. It turned out that my setup wasn't "horrible" at all. It was all in my head, and people actually appreciated what I had to offer. My videographer captured a variety of different perspectives of the event all happening simultaneously, and I love it. It is the first project of many and I am proud to show you a snippet of exactly what goes on when I vend.

A brand based out of the midwest. Kami Takes Over Indy at the 1st Annual Grand Shoe Slam in Fishers, Indiana. Kami Haus by Tai Cole-Jay Martians Media: Tyus Maciel

Logo Change by Tai Cole-Jay

The life sustaining representation of the ankh + the everlasting stability of the anchor = “ankhor”

The life sustaining representation of the ankh + the everlasting stability of the anchor = “ankhor”

There are many people still wondering about the incentive to change the logo from the original “rising sun” design to making the seasonal “ankhor” logo into the universal symbol for the brand. 

 The seed was first planted as I was approached from somebody who lived IN China, stating that though the logo was appealing in its design, it was eerily similar to the flag of Imperialistic Japan...which makes a lot of sense if I plan to be an international company. Ya know, can’t have people thinking I’m dissing millions of people for no reason. BUT I liked my logo, so I ignored him. Which eventually turned into THEM. And one day as I was enjoying the environment at a pop up event I was vending at in Chicago, I was approached by a young woman who would lay the final nail in the coffin with a face to face and honest opinion. It was in that moment that I knew I had to listen to the universe and give in. She felt strongly about my brand and even stronger about the logo; so I changed it. I decided to use the summer seasonal logo I had created a year earlier as the brand’s logo. And I like the choice that I made. You have to realize that it is impossible to please everybody, and you shouldn’t try to aim to do so. But being open to all forms of criticism is the key. Whether it be constructive or destructive. Now I’m not saying you should allow either of those OUTSIDE forces to affect you, but to take everything with a grain of salt, in a non reactive state, will take you much further than you could ever imagine. I can’t tell you how many times I allowed someone to ruffle my feathers based on something they said. I would take it to heart, but I would eventually channel that aggression into something creative, and then I figured it would be smartest if I figured out a way to SKIP to part where I’m allowing someone to control me and go straight to the part where I transfer energy in one form to another. I was worried that something that was initially intended for a “cool breeze” and aquatic vibe would be hard to implement during the colder months. But it’s more about how you go about things that will speak louder for you than the things you decide to pass on. The unknown is just a garden full of danger and beautiful things, so as long as you enter it with reverence and respect for the pitfalls of ignorance, you’ll be just fine.

 

Tai Cole-Jay

ORIGINS by Tai Cole-Jay

The Kami Shoppe is a temporary online pop-up, offering access and insight to the brand's current series, as well as exclusive information about Kami Haus as a creative entity.

" Inspired under stress; birthed by emotions and ideas during a time span of duress. "

The Kami Haus Singularity Series is the brand's debut collection after 12 months of creating what can be identified as inventive prototypes. A symbolic representation of refusing to accept less. The emotional and intellectual responses to a life of stressful resistance. Existing in a place that focuses on growth, a collection of carefully created products provide the essence where ingenuity and creativity meet. The series hosts its primary "Mask On" tee to give an imaginative visual of a rare state in your mind when you decide...that you are ready to finally react.

Simple but edgy; the Singularity Series also offers two other "toned down" designs and a cap that can play a role in your outfit no matter what the style. 

The brand name, derived from the ancient Japanese Shinto religion, literally means "Divine Force or Spiritual Being" and aims to invigorate the minds of anyone willing to experience transformation by offering refreshing graphic designs and unique styles of products all around

Kami's Mantra, "Don't Make it Difficult, Make it Work" echoes the resilience and steadfast nature the brand conveys to its followers.  24 year-old designer Tai Cole-Jay, from a small town outside of Chicago, IL (Maywood), is Kami Haus's driving force. Working as an all-around artist and former member of a Chicago street wear brand since 2012, his journey independently to start the brand in late 2015 aims to make this quickly growing enterprise into a "globally recognized fashion superpower". Products and designs draw inspiration from some of the most stimulating concepts and ideals from both high and low-end culture alike. No matter when you get an opportunity to score a Kami product, you are guaranteed to be a part of something that is bigger than yourself.