#GramGen is a series profiling the most radical characters in youth culture, who continue to shape trend behavior and spark controversy through their avant fashion sense and candid social media personalities.
Meet Walter Harvin, aka @soberyungwalter. At just 18 years old, Walter is living his best life right here in the Big Apple – between launching his very own magazine, acquiring an extensive Vetements collection and getting caught in beefs with A$AP Bari on Instagram (I kid you not).
But Walter isn’t just your average follower-crazed hype kid; with an acute knowledge for current trends and a self-aware attitude that keeps him grounded, the Harlem native has a promising future ahead of him.
We caught up with Walter to find out how he’s able to afford his grail-worthy gear, what he does to ward off the haters and what the trick to breaking into the “scene” really is.
How old are you?
I’m 18 years old.
Where are you from and where do you live currently?
I’m from Harlem, but I got a crib in New Jersey.
What’s your occupation?
I started this project along with my best friend Theo, called The Uncommon Magazine, which is a youth culture publication. We are currently working on the first printed issue.
How long have you been collecting high fashion, streetwear and sneakers?
For as long as I can remember. My mom had me at a young age so she always kept me up to date with the latest trends since I was young.
What are your favorite brands at the moment?
My favorite brands right now are Gosha, Vetements, Yang Li, Junya and CdG.
How would you describe your current style?
My style is very versatile; I love to mix up a variety of different brands. People say it’s “too much,” especially people older than me ….but it’s what I like. These people are quick to criticize our generation today but forget who raised it .
How much do you spend on clothes a month?
To be honest, I barely spend money on clothes; I either trade or find them for really cheap. I’d say about $500-$1,000.
How do you afford everything you buy?
I can’t afford it, but I have some stuff that people are willing to trade for I guess.
Where do you trade clothes or find them for cheap?
I usually look on Grailed and bargain with the sellers, or on other apps like Depop.
What’s the most you’ve spent on a piece of clothing?
The most I’ve even spent on a piece of clothing was like $2k, and it was like a bundle deal with a bunch of old Supreme stuff. Some of those pieces I was able to flip for more money and I got some of the better quality stuff I’m interested in now like CDG HOMME, Junya Watanabe, UNDERCOVER and Rick Owens.
Do you prefer quality over quantity or quantity over quality?
Definitely quality over quantity.
How did you come up with your IG handle, “@soberyungwalter”?
One day I was with my friend Josh and he asked me why don’t I smoke, and I was like “Because I’m sober and young.” LOL. The meaning behind my name was to always stay sober and not do drugs because kids around me was always doing Xanax and smoking weed 24/7.
A$AP Bari recently threw some shade on your IG feed for wearing a pair of VLONE kicks. What’s the deal with that? How did you respond?
LOL…it’s very petty. Like this guy is represented by Nike and he taunted me by saying “You making my kicks look wack.” Dude – don’t make sneakers if you are gonna complain about who’s wearing them.
Do you think some of these big designers want people to wear their clothes the way we do? No! I just ignored it. However, I still appreciate what the A$AP MOB has done for the “fashion” and music community in the last five years. [Bari] should focus on some better designs and not about what and how I wear stuff .
What’s the trick to getting in the “scene?”
What scene? LOL. This isn’t a scene bro, this is a big mess! So many people have big platforms to change the “scene” but instead they make kids feel obligated to buy their shitty brand to be considered “cool.”
I don’t want any money from these kids, I just want them to know you don’t need a bunch of followers to feel accepted and to display your art, just be original. Don’t force your music, clothes, or photography onto other people. If they respect your work, cool! If they don’t, FUCK EM!
Wouldn’t you say that you’re a victim of this alleged obligation to buy in order to be considered “cool?” A lot of what you wear is hype gear. Some might say you’re just biting the wave, too.
I wouldn’t say I’m a victim because I wear what I like and most of the pieces/brands I wear now is either stuff I was not able to secure before or I was already wearing a year and a half ago, like Vetements.
What do you see yourself doing in the next few years? What career ambitions do you have?
In the next few years, I’ll probably be in school and hopefully my magazine will get bigger and will attract the right crowd. Maybe I can obtain a creative direction job at a big media firm. Some career ambitions are to do what you love and make sure no one holds you back from it. With that being said, never sell out to the industry!
What do you love and hate about fashion right now?
I love that more people are involved and are more confident. I HATE that everyone is quick to say “oh you copied this person,” or “oh I started this.” Like what??? FOH.
What last words do you have for the haters out there?
Hating can only get you so far, and one day that hate will turn into love .