With 2015 drawing to a close, we’re taking it upon ourselves to reflect on the significance the past year has had on all things Highsnobiety. So far we’ve broken down the year’s biggest trends and most important moments, while inviting our readers to give us their opinion in the Highsnobiety Crowns awards.
Now, however, we’re shining the spotlight on some of the most stylish individuals lurking behind the scenes (or in some cases, right in front of them). Influencers, trendsetters, tastemakers, whatever you want to call them – there’s no denying that those with the greatest clout play a huge part in dictating the rest of the fashion world’s tastes and preferences.
South Korea is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s most exciting new markets for fashion – just take a look at Seoul’s thriving (and at times completely absurd) street style scene for proof. Korean photographer Jun Koo made a splash on the fashion circuit this year, thanks to his relentless flaunting of pretty much every hyped label in the game.
Koo mixes rare Supreme pieces with the latest gear from buzzed brands like Gosha Rubchinskiy, Vetements and Hood By Air, often topped with distinctive bug-eyed shades and dust masks (a necessity in Seoul, which is regularly inundated with dust storms). If Koo’s intense, full-on style is anything to go by, then we’ll be seeing a lot more Koreans stunting on these pages in future seasons.
Motofumi “Poggy” Kogi
Buying Director, UNITED ARROWS & SONS
Tokyo’s UNITED ARROWS & SONS has carved a niche as one of Japan’s finest – and most eclectic – retailers, and the store’s Buying Director Motofumi “Poggy” Kogi has been a street style regular for years, thanks to his equally diverse style.
Poggy’s bombastic steez mixes traditional tailoring, brimmed hats (often of the bucket variety), rare sneakers and classic streetwear gear, with a smattering of Japanese patchworked pieces thrown in for good measure. While younger heads may be obsessed with sporty athleisure, luxury fashion and streetwear, Poggy’s refined-yet-flamboyant style shows us that there’s still plenty the menswear world has to offer more adventurous dressers.
In between his day job and stunting at 2015’s fashion weeks and trade shows, Poggy also found time to work on some slip-on sneakers with GREATS and curate a dedicated “Poggy’s World” section of Las Vegas’s Liberty Fairs tradeshow.
Luka Sabbat has come along way since we first met back in 2012. The New Yorker is still infuriatingly young – he turned 18 this year – but that hasn’t stopped him from landing prestigious modeling gigs (most notably the YEEZY Season 1 presentation) while perfecting his particular brand of swaggering luxury steez.
Leather jackets, topcoats, chelsea boots and agonizingly tight jeans are the hallmarks of Sabbat’s look, which the youngster bluntly describes as “that rock n roll shit.” Indeed, Sabbat has been a key player in the wave for Parisian-flavored luxury chic that’s been so popular of late.
The self-professed Saint Laurent head told W magazine that at least 80% of his wardrobe comes from Hedi Slimane’s luxury house, and along with fellow “Cool Internet Kid” Ian Connor, Sabbat’s style icon status shows just how far you can go with a closet full of high-end gear and a lot of Instagram followers.
Skater and Founder, Fucking Awesome
Jason Dill is one of streetwear’s most recognizable yet low-key personalities. The Cali-born skate veteran avoids the usual street style and Instagram shenanigans that so many influencers rely on these days, while remaining at the forefront of the streetwear conversation thanks to his regular role in Supreme’s campaigns.
Dill has been flaunting the NYC icon’s more unusual pieces for years, mixing them in a flamboyant manner that’s a million miles away from the box logo hysteria that grips Supreme’s younger fanbase (pink work pants and fur coats anyone?). The NYC label may be standard issue among much of the streetwear, rap and skate community these days, but there’s still a ton to learn from Jason Dill’s carefree, irreverent style.
Founder and Buying Director, Machine-A
It wouldn’t be fashion without some off-the-wall garments from upcoming new designers, and Machine-A’s founder and head buyer Stavros Karelis has them in spades. The London-based Greek relentlessly champions young talents – his store was the first to stock collections from Nasir Mazhar, Astrid Andersen and Tigran Avestiyan – and his bombastic, fashion-forward style is a reflection of that.
Karelis’ fashion week getups combine out-there pieces from Raf Simons and JW Anderson with choice picks from Machine-A’s underground roster. Many emerging designers get their first bits of exposure in street style reports, and no doubt Karelis has done more than his fair share to promote some of the UK’s – and the world’s, for that matter – emerging young talents.
Founder, Fear of God
It hasn’t taken long for Jerry Lorenzo’s Fear Of God brand to become one of streetwear’s foremost trend-setting labels, playing a leading role in the nu-grunge wave that’s been so big this year. Lorenzo’s ripped denim, flannel shirts and heavy metal tees hark back to ’90s West Coast style, while his playful layering, adventurous silhouettes and gratuitous side zips keeps things feeling distinctly modern at the same time.
Fear Of God recently announced an entry-level “F.O.G.” brand that would be produced in partnership with mall retailer Pacsun – so we imagine we’ve not seen the last of the LA label’s disheveled, grungy aesthetic just yet.
Instagram personality, trendsetter and now celebrity stylist, Ian Connor has had a pretty huge year. While Connor almost broke the internet when it came to light that he’d introduced Kylie Jenner to Gosha Rubchinskiy’s post-Soviet streetwear, it seems he’s been spending the rest of his time cementing his position as one of rap and streetwear’s foremost tastemakers.
Everything from Skechers to Raf Simons has made its way into Connor’s Normcore-flavored outfits this year, which were centered around an enviable collection of rare Supreme pieces, not to mention gear from Palace Skateboards and the aforementioned Russian designer.
Style icon activities aside, Connor also launched a collaboration of pastel-hued gear with Pink Dolphin, and has been working with a few LA labels as a creative consultant, if his candid interview with Complex is to be believed.
Student, Central Saint Martins
While most of the streetwear world communicates via rare sneakers, branded garments and cool-guy status, the genre’s DIY spirit and true-to-yourself mentality can manifest itself in the strangest of ways. Case in point is Central Saint Martins student Kiko Kostadinov, who made a name for himself in 2015 by shredding and re-patching Stussy pieces to create a unique set of one-of-a-kind garments.
Kostadinov’s style is similarly unorthodox, with oversized jewelry, billowing trousers and those aforementioned Stussy pieces making for a standout ensemble that captured the glare of many a street style photographer this year. Hopefully we’ll be seeing much more from this young designer – and his next-level getups – in future seasons.
Founder, Larose Paris
Another street style darling, Larose’s Japanese-tinged casual menswear plays with brimmed hats, billowing layers, patchwork fabrics and a whole ton of distressed detailing.
In just seven seasons the Quebec native’s eponymous headwear label has won prestigious accounts far and wide, while the self-professed travel addict combines his numerous fashion week appearances with long stints of backpacking in far-flung destinations – which probably explains his worldly, adventurous approach to clothing.
Founder, 424 On Fairfax
New York may be forever considered streetwear’s spiritual homeland, but that hasn’t stopped the West Coast from producing some game-changing aesthetics in recent seasons. Case in point is Guillermo Andrade, whose contemporary streetwear look plays heavily with pieces from his 424 label – that means distressed denim, muted colors, fine camel topcoats and provocative graphic tees.
Given the rebellious streak running through both streetwear and rap style at the moment, we imagine we’ll be seeing much more of Andrade’s unique take on the genre in seasons to come.
For more end of year content, take a look at The 10 Biggest Trends of 2015, The 10 Biggest Moments of 2015 and vote for your favorite brands, collaborations, sneakers and retailers in our annual Highsnobiety Crowns awards.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of Highsnobiety as a whole.