O'neal Mcknight is no stranger to Joonbug parties. But this Saturday, Mcknight isn't just appearing as a performer - he's also making his debut on Joonbug's designer committee at our Fashion Week Gala event at Capitale. ReWash Jeans, his new denim label with a vintage twist, is reinventing the classics with a modern rock flair. Jessica Gomes, Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Angela Martini, and Jaimie Hilfiger have all been spotted sporting the coveted new "jeans of the future," and we're sure that many more are soon to join in. In addition to promoting ReWash Jeans, Mcknight has been busy in the studio recording with Kid Cudi, Mr. Bently, and more! Make sure to check out his hot new tracks "Something Bout Tonight" ft. Mr. Bentley and "Speed of Light" ft. Kid Cudi and Jessica Gomes!
What have you been up to since we last spoke to you just before New Year's Eve? Was the party everything you were expecting and more?
Wow! Where do I start? I've just been working and doing a lot of club dates around NYC. I just did a song for Haiti on a charity album called Rhymes & Rhythm for Relief. It's available at DJbooth.net. All proceeds will go to the CARE Foundation (www.care.org) to help the people of Haiti. Also, I just did a new song with Aubrey O'Day & Micah Jesse called "Fashion Week." And New Year's Eve was a blast! Joonbug never lets me down!
And how is 2010 treating you so far? Have you been living up to your resolutions?
2010 is off to a great start! This is going to be an amazing year for me, with new music, a TV series, and more. I'm really excited. My resolutions are pretty much the same: keep people dancing and feeling good.
What are your thoughts on the Grammy Awards last Sunday? Favorite moments? More importantly, favorite outfits? Which artists were worst/best dressed?
It was cool! Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" was very touching. Pink rocked it for me, amazing! Jay-Z was the best dressed male, and Ke$ha was the worse dressed female.
Last time you spoke with Joonbug, you talked a lot about being a brand. How is the idea of oneself as a brand important? What words would you use to describe your brand?
My brand is being comfortable in your own skin. I'm very clean, fresh, and cool.
How much of that is comprised of your styling talents, and how much of that is your music?
My style and music go hand-in-hand, 50/50.
What do you want people to take away from your brand?
I want people to know that different isn't bad - it's just sometimes misunderstood.
What's the inspiration behind your new album, Prom: 2088? What draws you to the idea of prom, and how does that translate into your music?
Prom is a time to reflect and enjoy the journey of life. And the album title has been changed to PROM KING. My music is fun.
What did you wear to your prom?
I wore a basic black suit that my older brother wore before me! Ha ha!
You're from a small town in South Carolina. How are your roots affecting your work today?
The South helps me understand the basics, meaning working with what you got. I'm from a place where we grew up listening to everything, so you can definitely hear that fusion in my music.
What about your family? It looks like your family has played an integral role in shaping the man you have become. In what ways is your family responsible for your flair for fashion or ear for music?
My mother, Gracie Mcknight, was a seamstress, so BOOM! - fashion. My brother, Tony, was an amazing dancer, BOOM - you have dance. There it is!
As a celebrity stylist, you've been in the closets of some of the entertainment industry's biggest names. Who was your favorite celebrity to style?
Puffy, Puff, P.Diddy, DIDDY was my favorite cause he loves fashion and just being fly!
Who are your style icons, and why?
Michael Jackson - he was just the best at everything! Kanye West because he's super fly, classic, and urban chic all in one. Mr. Bentley is this generation's Fred Astaire - classic and timeless style. And then there is me, O'neal Mcknight. Put everything before me in a blender and it's magic!
You have a new clothing line out called ReWash Jeans. What made you decide to start a clothing line?
Well, I'm a creative consultant and I love women's fashion. My good friend Johnny Shabe, Vice President of ReWash, wanted me to help him build the brand and make it a little more mainstream. I meet with the owner, Alden Halpern, and it was a match made in heaven. Alden and my mother share the same birthday. She died almost 10 years ago.
What's the aesthetic behind ReWash Jeans? Can you tell us more about the "vintage Americana" inspiration that drives it?
The iconic pin-up girl - sexy, classic denim on today's woman.
Who are some of the iconic women that you name your denim after? How did you decide who would represent each particular pair of denim?
The denim represents women with edge and attitude who are both strong and sexy. Women like Jessica Alba, Aubrey O'Day, Cassie, Denise Vasi, Kelly Bensimon, Angelic Zambrana, Camilla Alves and Alina Puscau.
Even though it's vintage-inspired with a modern interpretation, what makes ReWash the jeans of the future?
ReWash Jeans are the jeans of the future because, whether you dress them up or down, you're still a stylish and classy lady.
Who would you like to see rock ReWash denim?
Oprah, Kim Kardashian, Beyonce - any woman that's changing the game!
ReWash jeans are currently only selling women's apparel. Are you planning on launching anything for the men out there?
Just wait and see.
Your new song "Something Bout Tonight" definitely sounds like a club hit. Is that the type of track you set out to create?
Most of my music is up-tempo. I've gotta move and groove, so yes.
What was it like to work with Mr. Bentley, who most people will remember as "that guy with the umbrella" from Andre 3000's The Love Below shows?
It was an honor! He is a class act - an artist, actor, and Morehouse grad. And he hasn't held an umbrella since 2001! Since then, he's done TV shows, commercials, and got a record deal with Kanye West's label G.O.O.D music.
I'm really digging "Speed of Light." What was it like to work with Jessica Gomes and Kid Cudi?
It's hard to think when Jessica Gomes is in the room. Make sure you check her out in Sports Illustrated and you'll understand. And Kid Cudi is the coolest dude I know.
In October, you mentioned your excitement for The Book of Eli with Denzel Washington? Have you had a chance to see it yet? Any thoughts?
Big shout out to the Hughes brothers, Allen and Albert! The movie was great, and it came in #2 to Avatar.
You've been tweeting about American Apparel's "Best Bottom Contest." Who are you rooting for? Who would your celebrity nomination be?
My Best Bottom nominees are Jessica Biel, J-Lo, Alicia Keyes, and, I hope I don't get in trouble for saying this, Michelle Obama. But I think Jessica Biel would crush them all!
Fashion Week is finally upon us! Which shows are you most excited for? Who are you hoping to run into on the red carpet?
Marc Jacobs! I love his shows! For a celebrity run-in, I have a new crush Lea Michele from Glee. I want to meet her on the red carpet!
How are you preparing for Fashion Week? Both for Joonbug's Gala event and for the Tents?
I'm preparing by resting, drinking water, and shopping. Ha ha!
What about Valentine's Day? Do you have any special plans with a special someone?
On Valentine's Day, I'm going to chill with someone special, she knows who she is.
Tickets are still available for Joonbug's Fashion Week Gala for Style360 with ELLE Magazine and ELLE.com. Don't miss out on your chance to dance the night away with Mcknight, the cast of Ugly Betty, a prestigious designer committee, and many more. And don't forget to download McKnight's latest tracks, available at DJbooth.net!