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Arinze Onuaku on new clothing line, getting into fashion design and what he likes about Bahrain


Syracuse center Arinze Onuaku will be in Syracuse this weekend, taking in the Orange men’s basketball game, hosting a clinic for kids and showcasing some of the latest offerings from his clothing brand, Studio AO.

Onuaku answered a handful of questions about his recent foray into fashion design and charity work, as well as why he expects to be back in Bahrain this year.

Q: So you’re coming back to town on Saturday. What do you have going on?

Onuaku: I was coming in for the game. I’m not up there much so I figured I’d catch them Saturday and Tuesday, spend a few days up there, see Coach. I have a pop-up shop and clinic going (details are below). I started the clothing line almost a year ago. It was a fun idea. Last year was the 10-year anniversary for the six-overtime game and I was coming up for TBT. I’ve always liked clothes so I started making fun T-shirts for the fans. They loved it when I was up there this summer. It started off as just that and it’s turned into a little more. I had people asking if I could make stuff for the everyday person, the everyday athlete. We’ve slowly expanded.

Q; So the first stuff you sold was for the six-overtime game?

Onuaku: I did some six-overtime game type things, some things with me breaking the backboard and some Syracuse basketball shirts. A few fun things. I had a shirt with the score of the game, six in the city, stuff like that.

Q: So are you drawing them yourself?

Onuaku: We have a couple different softwares we use to put the ideas together, use the software to create the image. When we have an image we think looks good, we go with it.

Q: Have you always considered yourself artistic?

Onuaku: I’ve always been into fashion and I’ve always liked clothes. My mother will tell you, I feel like I have to buy some new clothes every day. It’s even easier now where I can make the look I want to make. I can make stuff for myself instead of looking for something new. I can put together what I want for myself. ... I was always wanting things. Different colored shirts to go with different colored shoes. I was always looking for something different. The craziest thing now is I’ll have my stuff on and people will say, ‘Where’d you get that at?’ I’ll be like, ‘I made it.’

Q: It looks like the new clothing has a lot of positive messaging. What was the inspiration?

Onuaku: That’s kind of how I approach life. We’re finalizing my (non-profit) foundation the AO Foundation (Assisted Outcomes). The last couple years I’ve been giving back to kids and the community (in Prince George’s County in Maryland). We’ve given away book bags, school supplies and basketballs. Recently, I gave away hygiene kits because one of the teachers was telling me how the kids are getting to a transition where they need to start using deodorant. Growing up you look up to a lot of athletes and basketball players but they don’t get to see us as much. We’re finalizing paperwork on a foundation. Knowing they look up to us, I want to make sure we’re giving them positive input for themselves. I think it’s things that I live by anyway, so it all goes together.

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