There’s still a preconception of men showing interest in fashion, let alone working in it. I’ve been on the receiving end of it first hand. I’d just handed in my notice where I worked, I’d accepted a job at one of the biggest men’s luxury online retailers in the world. Expecting at least a congratulations from my manager I got the complete opposite. A full on grilling on why I wanted to work in fashion, all with the underlying tone of superiority as in to say fashion isn’t a fulfilling career path, especially for a 22 year old guy.
This is where PAQ comes in. A youtube show under the KYRA umbrella which describes itself as ‘top gear for hypebeasts’, a strong reflection on the four twentysomething mates that have grouped together to put out weekly challenges to shine a light on the growing impact men’s fashion and streetwear has on today’s male generation. Seemingly the first of its kind on youtube it’s gathered huge traction in a short amount of time (282k subscribers and over 18m views in just over a year) to the extent that it’s drawing the attention of the big players on the streetwear scene. After collaborations with Adidas, converse and highsnobiety under their belts it’d be easy to think that the group would start to stray away from their roots and jump into more non-relatable contests, detracting away from the gems and relatability that garnered the following in the first place. This has been far from the case, in the latest episode Danny, Shaq, Dex and Elias once again get to highlight just how individual their styles are through a timed summer fit challenge which echoes their first ever release.
The quartet are currently some of the best advocates for the streetwear scene, all showing different sides of of personality and style. Elias, probably the most extreme of them all, channels an alter-ego of sorts as “astro-boy” where he wears outrageous sunglasses and pieces together high end designer pieces, whilst always maintaining a strong pair of kicks. Dex, who refers to himself as “dexthefreak” often highlights a infectious, unintentional sense of humour that is the anti of his style, which is purely black, literally head to toe, tying into his personality where often refers to visiting graveyards for leisure. Shaq is undeniably the creative of the group, always incorporating his personality into tasks by modifying the garms he’s brought through tailoring, painting or even writing one of his poems on it. This reflected the best on the pop up shop ep where each member had create their own gildan and sell as many as possible. The final member of the group, Danny seems like he’s been picked from obscurity to be part of the gang. A lad from Yorkshire with the driest sense of humour, again has a unique sense of style that would’t be able to transferred to any of the other members. It’d be easy to think he’s on commission to sell Fred perry but he wears it well, mixing it in with skinny fit trousers and his gucci loafers.
The challenges themselves present the perfect opportunity to reflect their styles. The standout episodes so far would be the footlocker advert challenge, where the guys were given free-reign of what shoe they wanted to pick from the range. Obviously there was a wide variety from adidas gazelles to air forces, all put into look-book style shoots across odes to Italian vintage cinema to day to day chilling in London. The way they combine not only the shoe, but tie it back to their own style and then personality typifies what the show is all about. To then top it off the 4 guest judges were fan/subscribes of the show, again bringing more and more people into the culture who appreciate it the most. The other is the more stripped back type, where they team up with 4 girl youtubers and try and thrift outfits within their team in an afternoon.. from one store. The basic approach gave a great insight into the humour, thought process and again styles from the guys and as with all the other episodes, was a great easy watch due to the quality production.
All in all, huge credit has to go to PAQ. They’re using their platform to show not only is it acceptable to be yourself, both stylistically and personality wise, but also the opportunities that can come with pushing yourself into the fashion culture if you enjoy it. The larger following they get the more people will not only start to see fashion as a hobby, but as a potential career. That could range from a variety of things, such as creative show like PAQ, to a product design oriented role or a commercial role buying products for a brand. All I can hope for is that they continue to put content out for many more years and people follow suit.
I’d highly recommend watching a few of the episodes which are linked in and below, and if you like definitely subscribe for weekly content going forward!