When men of a certain age and their admirers make their way out to The Stud in San Francisco for Daddy Issues on Saturday, they sadly won’t find party co-founder and man-about-instagram, Oly Innes there. Having just moved to the States weeks ago, the Grindr employee is still getting his West Coast bearings in Los Angeles. But even without him, the party, which Innes teases as a preview to Daddy Issues LA, should be worth it.
“It’s not about being seen,” Innes told Out. “It’s not a hyper sexual thing; the look and branding make it a less sexualized party. You just come to have fun, there’s no pressure to take your top off or anything like that.” And while that might be true, after nine months, it’s definitely a cool event to pass by.
Innes got his start in the nightlife industry by way of fashion. After abandoning childhood acting dreams and relocating to London hitting clubs like Boombox with industry notables like designer Gareth Pugh, Katie Shillingford of Dazed magazine and the i-D crew, he started developing a bit of a reputation.
“People saw I could bring a group of people to a club,” Innes said in an earlier interview in London at the Ace Hotel, a few of his 40-odd tattoos peeking from beneath his shirt. “It got to the point where I would do like three clubs a week and I would bring 20 or 30 people down and you get treated like a rockstar.” But that promoter business wasn’t his 9 to 5 in any sense. All the while he was building out a career in imagery, taking a job as a model agent before joining the photo department at Urban Outfitters and finally settling in as a producer at Wonderland magazine.
“I was doing that for like 10 years and it just got a little dark,” Innes says of balancing a career in nightlife and other jobs. At Urban Outfitters, he was working on quality control for their e-commerce images. “I would go in to work like wasted from the night before, still a little bit fucked up and just put my headphones on and do my work. No one would say anything because I still did my work.” But eventually, someone noticed.
“Urban Outfitters hired a new creative director and he came in one day and looked at me weird,” Innes explained. “Later he called me into my office and said ‘I know who you are and I know what you do outside of work. Why are you here? Why are you a retoucher?’” The conversation ended up morphing into something that’s become a bit of a trend in the life of the Brit: the director created a new position for him that combined social media, imagery, and event planning at the company.
“When you put so much on social media you forget how much people learn about you,” Innes said after revealing how stunned he was about how much the director was already clued into. His Instagram account currently boasts over 52,000 followers. Eventually though, he left UO and headed to Wonderland where he worked in production helping to pull off projects like shoots with M.I.A., Gemma Ward, and Kim Kardashian. But before he went to Wonderland, the art director felt he needed a change in his side business.
“It was getting a little messy so I decided I would stop drinking,” he said. That November 2015 decision also turned into him originally pulling back from the nightlife scene but eventually returning on his own terms.
“I started doing the door so that way I was talking to everyone and being social with everyone,” Innex explained. “That was fun because I had a job to do and I was busy and could see everyone.” And with an affable, engaging demeanor, Innes’ face at the door was no doubt a welcome addition to club nights. It was during this time that the idea for Daddy Issues started percolating.
“I had had this idea because my Instagram had been getting a bit busy and I wanted to make some money from it,” Innes said. His account handle Ollyw00d, was inspired by his club persona and is tattooed on his knuckles. “All the kids on Instagram call me ‘daddy’ and I think it’s incredibly funny because I’m like 28 but it’s really on trend. It really just makes me laugh so I wanted to make T-shirts with ‘daddy’ on them.” But then, after teaming up with Borja Peña, an art director himself as well as a DJ and producer, it became more than just a tee.
“It’s really a party for everyone,” Innes clarified, and it’s understandable. The term ‘daddy’ has become so overused on social media that any guy posting any remotely alluring photo could risk being labeled with it. “The branding is really tongue-in-cheek and it’s a play on masculinity. We try to appeal to [all] sort of demographics.” And appeal it has. Pornstars Francois Sagat, Rogan Richards, and Boomer Banks have all donned the tees, which was designed by Brooklyn-based graphic designer Rooney. Shawn Morales from RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Pit Crew and popular underwear model Pablo Hernandez also have donned the design. Expect that list to lengthen soon.
The enterprise will have a permanent U.S. presence once Innes gets settled. “LA will start up when I find the right venue,” Innes said, who relocated there to head up a new, in-progress endeavor by Grindr. That project will see contributions about queer people around the world and is set to launch in the next few months. “I’m weighing all the options because I want the perfect place.”
Looks like it’s time to officially welcome Ollyw00d to Hollywood.