1998 – 2006
My style continued to be heavily influenced by the Hip Hop culture, I grew a collection of baggy clothes, basketball vests and timberland boots. There was a famous Hip Hop publication called The Source, it used to be full of adverts for brands that were influenced by the culture such as Ecko, Phat Farm and Fubu. As it was an american magazine most of these brands weren’t readily available in a small town in the north of England.
I left school in 2000 after completing my GCSEs and started attending Greenhead College, one of the best colleges in the country, that’s what they claimed anyway. Here I joined the Basketball team which was a bit of a break from the dry academic subjects I chose to study. Some of my other team members shared my passion for Hip Hop music and also the clothes. Thinking back we definitely stuck out from the crowd as the rest of guys in the college were dressed completely different. While I was at college I remember TK Maxx opening up, for me this was excellent as they stocked loads of American brands that I used to see in the magazines.
I was around the age of 18 so started going out to night clubs, this was the only time I left the baggy Hip Hop clothes behind. I was a bit smarter generally opting for a button up shirt and jeans, however I always made sure they weren’t that well fitting and had a little bit of bagginess to them. This continued until I started attending university and I got my first student loan. Like most students I quickly made use of the new found funds by spending some of it on clothes. I started finding out about some designer denim brands, in particular, evisu and wale adeyemi, which at the time were up and coming. This really got me interested in designer fashion in a sense, although I still wanted to make it work for me.
When I was 20 I started my first real relationship, while many of you are probably thinking this would make me drop the baggies, however I kept wearing them for the majority of the relationship. In 2005 during the summer after leaving university I went to the US to work at a sports camp. It was a good experience on reflection, but at the time most of the guys from the UK hated it, myself included. I spent the most of my days, looking after a group of 5 kids making sure they got from one activity to the others, it was cool because I got to join some of the sports. While in the US I managed to get to visit Boston and NYC, a place I’d like to go back to and explore properly. I came back to the UK in august and by the time we hit january 2006 I was single again.
This point was probably one of the biggest turning points of my life, a time where I completely shifted the way I view the world and myself…