Father Stretch My Bands: The Life of Dio

by Deiona Monroe

Photo via KCAMM Photography ( IG: @_kcamm )

Photo via KCAMM Photography (IG: @_kcamm)

Born in Equatorial Guinea, this Central African native was not always into the arts or engulfed in it. Diosdada Sima—commonly known as Dio—came from a family whose background was heavily involved in politics. However, though in a family that was political, Dio developed a love of style and art from a young age. He was always a huge fan of the streetwear culture and we he could buy his own clothes, he displayed his love for the fashion. At the age of 12, him and his family immigrated to the United States and started a new life in Mount Vernon, New York. After receiving his degree in Finance and Management from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Dio decided that his passion was more so geared towards creating and designing; as he began designing in 2013, the rest was history and he’s been taking things one day at a time:


“Pretty much, it began in college as a junior; that’s when I kind of started. But, I took a break because I wasn’t too familiar with graphic design and all that comes with it. So, I took a step back and taught myself how to do all the graphic stuff, and when I graduated I started doing that 24/7.”

Being a creator and designer, he uses what he creates to show his passion about society and truly believes that art and fashion are capable of changing society—faster than politics can, though politics was what he grew up on. Through his art form, the message is he trying to display speaks through the motto of his brand:

“My brand’s motto is ‘father stretch my bands’, I don’t know if you ever heard of that. But basically, it doesn’t matter if you’re Black, White, Hispanic, we all relate to money in this society; that’s how I look at it. The whole message that we’re trying to put together is that, [ultimately], money brings us all together.”

Photo via KCAMM Photography ( IG: @_kcamm )

Photo via KCAMM Photography (IG: @_kcamm)

However, though he’s developed a unique brand, his inspiration derived from him not wanting to fall victim to the traditional work life:

“To be real with you, just coming out of school and dealing with all the loans and everything else, I didn’t want to do the whole 9 to 5 thing and I always had good ideas. So, I figured, why not try to have my own brand and my own thing?”

Photo via KCAMM Photography ( IG: @_kcamm )

Photo via KCAMM Photography (IG: @_kcamm)

His drive to not be stuck behind a desk pushed him to develop and create Father Stretch My Bands within the brand name Visionary Society, aimed at trying to give back to the community and build a better society overall. When asked what the art project of his dreams would be, his answer remained centered around helping all those around him:

“Oh wowww, that’s a tough question. Personally, I think I would put together a pop-up shop. I’m big on pop-up shops and I would try to give back, in a way. I’m big on giving back with a lot of stuff that I do. The brand name is ‘visionary society’, so we’re big on trying to give back for a better society. That’s like…the whole motto we go about. I would basically try to bring a lot of people together and have a whole community event.”

With big dreams, though, come big challenges. In 21st century America, it seems as though everyone is trying to venture off and do their own things, especially in the artistic world. There are many obstacles that artists have to face and overcome in order to build their brand and make a name for themselves:

Photo via KCAMM Photography ( IG: @_kcamm )

Photo via KCAMM Photography (IG: @_kcamm)

“[My biggest obstacle was] probably just, a lot of the stereotypes. I feel like being a black artist, a lot of people are big on quality and they automatically believe that your quality isn’t going to be that good. A lot of people downplay you. Overall, just living up to the image of a ‘black artist’ is the hardest thing when people think you’re supposed to look or move a certain way”.

Challenges and obstacles are inevitable for an artist to face, but, that is something that an artist must learn to overcome. With these challenges, comes a time in which your work may not always be accepted by your audiences. As an artist, rejection of your work may put you at a halt or even completely shift the work that you do. For Dio, though, the critics were needed, and it aided him in discovering his main audience:

“I’ll say [rejection] happened more so in the beginning; not anymore though. When I first started, I use to ask for a lot of feedback and some people would say that they didn’t like [my work], and I found out that its more so about finding the right crowd. It’s a right crowd for everything that you do. You’ll be surprised to find out how many people think like you do. Some people might just simply like how you wear your jeans; you just gotta find that right crowd for you. In the beginning I was a little scared, but as I got older and people started liking the brand more, it’s a confidence that comes with it.”

And, according to Dio, though—at first—it may be frightening to exhibit your work, art is a form in which is extremely important and must be maintained throughout the world:

“I think art is everything. Not even just clothes, but music and everything. I feel like a lot of the young people are influenced by what they wear and the music they hear; I feel like it’s almost more influential than teachers, to keep it real with you. On everything, I feel like art keeps this world going, that’s the best that I can tell you.”

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Inspiration is Key

With the presence of art needed throughout the world, to maintain this presence people must be inspired and kept motivated to do the work that they do. Though Dio grew up in a political-based home, he credits his father to be his biggest influence on him creating the work that he does:

“My biggest influence would definitely be my father. I came over here as an immigrant and didn’t speak any English and knew nothing. He basically showed me that you could pretty much do anything when coming to a new country, you know what I mean? I would say Barack too, cause that’s a black president; that’s big, that’s one in a million, you know?”

Inspiration is key, but to keep doing the work is a huge factor as well. There are times in which all artists struggle to keep going and stay interested in their work. Such as Dio, artists find certain outlets in which keep them enthused to do what they do:

“To be real with you, I’m kind of like a loner. I just walk around a lot, and see random s**t, see a random sign and get influenced by it, you know what I mean? So, I try to just walk around and just see different things, different styles, different people, try to interact with a lot of people. I talk to a lot of people and see their different mindsets and views.”

At the age of 26, Diosdado Sima is making his stamp in the art world and using his talents to let the world know what Father Stretch My Bands is all about.

Check out the brand & designs of Diosdado Sima:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/supremexci

Website: https://visionarysociety.bigcartel.com/