Whitehouse Cox was recently lucky enough to interview gentlemen blogger, Ato C. Yankah Jr. Read on and discover what it takes to be a true gentleman…
Ato is many things, a father, a style icon, a man of much wisdom, but first and foremost, he is a gentlemen.
Creator of the iconic Instagram account, Gentleman’s Essentials Int, Ato continually inspires men around the world, proving that chivalry is not dead.
Ato has also become a fashion guru in his own right, as he posts his extremely dapper looks and outfits on his personal Instagram account.
Continue reading to discover Ato’s thoughts on trends, chivalry, and style icons.
Gentleman’s Essentials Int has over 15k followers on Instagram, but what inspired you to create the account?
Actually Gentleman’s Essentials is the latest account that I set up. Combined with my other accounts on Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr GE has over 850K followers on social media.
I decided to set up Gentleman’s Essentials to reach a younger audience. My first objective was to highlight virtues and values of a gentleman in this day and age.
Manners and behaviours are a key element that defines a gentleman. Displaying these issues on high materialistic platform is a challenge for itself, because Instagram is actually all about “my house, my car, my clothes”. Unfortunately nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing (Oscar Wilde).
What does it mean to be a gentleman in the modern age?
It means to be grounded in values and to live them. It means to live the codex of a gentlemen.
To acknowledge that chivalry isn’t dead, but well and alive. It doesn’t mean wearing a suit, because in these modern days, not every gentleman wears a suit and not every man in a suit is a gentleman. Never forget a monkey in a suit is still a monkey in a suit.
A century ago, a gentleman was exclusively a man of high social position and wealth. Modern dictionaries retain this definition:
A chivalrous, courteous, or honourable man or a polite or formal way of referring to a man. Or a man of noble birth attached to a royal household as well as man of good social position, especially one of wealth and leisure.
In today’s society, it is important to understand why the term ‘modern gentleman’ still matters. I believe that any man can be a gentleman if he wants to be, but it’s not something to be underestimated. It’s a journey, something that a man continually strives to be, rather than a destination. A modern gentleman is not perfect but irresistible. He has high standards, is well dressed, has good manners, is open minded and generally informed. His actions match his words, he treats all people with respect and still believes in chivalry.
You are a gentleman and a father of two, what has fatherhood taught you about being a gentlemen?
It means to acknowledge the responsibility you have, to inspire the next generation of humans. You can tell children a thousand times not to do something, or you can live by example. You inspire others not by leading a perfect life, which none of us have, but by dealing with your imperfections on a daily basis. The perspective that children view the world is something that adults should try to preserve. The patience you learn is something that will come in handy for all other challenges facing you. Believe me!
Whether it’s smart or casual, you always dress to impress! Do you follow current trends or base your looks on personal preference and style?
I have never followed trends, even as a kid. Apart from wearing school uniforms for the majority of my school life, I have never had the urge to fall for fashion trends.
I know that I have always loved blazers or suits. I have been always drawn in to the preppy look of Ralph Lauren. I had different phases in life, like the Break Dance era. It was something that was totally different from everything else that I had known, but it found a place in my heart.
What’s your no.1 fashion tip for the modern gentlemen?
Feel comfortable and be authentic.
Who was your first style icon?
James Bond, he had it all. The looks, the suits, the cars, the women, but also the manners and values. He was cool and suave.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be?
Don’t trust people too fast. Let them prove or reaffirm their loyalty towards you.
Gentleman’s Essentials is filled with inspirational quotes, but what is your favourite quote of all time?
Kindness is the language that even the deaf can hear and the blind can see – Mark Twain
Is there anything that your followers would be surprised to learn about you?
In the beginning it was my skin colour. Now it’s not an issue. Changing the perception was part of my mission when I decided to show my face last year.
What would they be surprised about? I’m not a big clubber. I rarely go out anymore. It’s not because of my kids, it’s because there’s nothing new out there. Same people, same music, no matter where you go. I love cooking for friends. Breaking bread with others that you appreciate is something special.
What is your favourite product from Whitehouse Cox?
I love two in particular. The first is the Herringbone Belt. It was love at first sight. It’s absolutely classy and timeless. The second is the Large Zip Travel Wallet. I love to use it because I can stash my mobile phone in there, there’s a compartment for change and plenty of space for my every day carry! It’s an amazing piece!
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
In 2019 I plan to reach the next phase for Gentleman’s Essentials Intl. There are two projects in particular which I’m very excited about. One is an app, which will be the perfect travelling companion for any gentleman. The second is a book that I currently call “Endangered Species”. I will be interviewing amazing personalities from around the world who have been very successful in their fields, but have maintained their gentleman game. A very important side of this book is that it’s dedicated to my late uncle, the former secretary general of the UN, Kofi Annan.
Thank you Ato for this enlightening interview, we can’t wait to read ‘Endangered Species’ once it is published.
Photographs by: Leon Bijelic