- Words Emily Roney
- Photography Ali Yavuz Ata
UK streetwear’s big brother Icy Kof speaks to us about evolving with the times, waking up to Drake in his DM’s and his shoe of the year.
Fast forward to now, Icy (who burst onto YouTube under the alias of The Unknown Blasian) has grown a 600K strong digital streetwear community from embarking on his global streetwear pilgrimage, asking that same question – from kids on the streets of London, to backstage at Off White and Dior shows, to Anna Wintour, Usher, Bella Hadid – oh, and Drake.
But it all started when Kofi sported his school uniform. Icy comes from humble beginnings. He would save up for the train to London to vlog his trips to the Supreme flagship store. He wanted to let the customers do the talking. “It involves the people. I thought it was an enticing way to involve the fashion community and grow it on a social platform” Kofi tells me over the phone from Istanbul. Icy Kof’s dedication to becoming a street-wear connoisseur runs so strong, it lead him to drop out of his law degree at Westminster. Now possessing a strong luxury and streetwear collection of his very own, Icy has honed his craft for marrying up tech wear and Comme Des Garcons, with high-fashion pieces from Raf Simons and Prada, alongside thrifted gems.
The platform and community Icy established with his passion for streetwear is now one that he plans to use to the best of his ability. “It doesn’t bother me about the negative connotations around How Much Is Your Outfit, because ultimately, I really want to help out.” His loyal following on both YouTube and socials is a result of his infectious persona, unmatched eye for new niche trends, paired with his slick and innovative editing skills. Icy is so in touch with his audience, he understands that he must adapt, or become extinct. “My audience has grown up!’’ he tells me. His forward-thinking, community-focused persona is one step ahead. “It’s like when you put your oxygen mask on before helping others. I’ve put myself in a position to help others now”.
Icy’s freshest creative vision is materializing in the form of his very own project, entitled Bonne Nuit. The project in the pipeline is being developed by Kofi’s team, consisting of creatives from Central Saint Martins, and encapsulates Kofi’s experiences in Paris’ nightlife scene, “kinda a mix between Arc’teryx and Celine.”
Icy sure has evolved from documenting drops. In May 2019, he embarked on a discovery to document the fashion scene in Johannesburg and Cape Town, filming “The Fashion Culture in South Africa.” He also brims with excitement telling me about a skill he’s kept tucked away in his CDG sleeve – his venture into DJing tech house – spinning for Maddox Club just last month. Notion catches up with Icy Kof on why he’s a true Sagittarius, getting a DM from Drake and why honest friends are true friends.
So, we’re in lockdown 2.0. Has this changed your style habits?
It forced me to discover what my style is, in terms of not being able to go and buy trends to go out and flex, it’s more about researching about what I like. I’m really into tech wear and strong quality garments. I think COVID has pressured me into spending that extra time to know what I like.
Where did you grow up? How do you think this influenced your personal style?
I’ve moved all over London, went to loads of different schools growing up, but spent most of my time in South East London. Cause I’ve moved a lot, my style changed a lot, and I found it easier to adapt to my environment and different friendship circles. I found it easier to adapt. I guess my style, to begin with, was quick to evolve with the time and fit in, whereas now I’ve reached a point where I don’t fit in, it’s better to stand out I guess!
So, the Unknown Vlogs channel has served as a digital community for all things men’s streetwear and fashion. How did you come up with the concept of How Much is Your Outfit YouTube Channel?
It started more from when I went to the Supreme drops. I don’t come from money, so when I’d go I couldn’t buy anything, I’d be there in my school uniform and I filmed people in these cool clothes that I wished I could own, to see what they got when they come out the store. That was just me, I was just a friendly person who just wanted to make friends. So I guess from being around wanting garments, I knew people had my perspective and shared my common interest. I flipped the script and asked people on the road, how much was your outfit? I thought it was an enticing way to involve the fashion community and grow it on a social platform.
Your series has taken you to London, LA, Greece, South Africa and Paris but to name a few – what city would you say had the most drip? Which is your favourite for style?
Paris, 100%. I’d say…damn…oh my god. London! That’s my city. The most overwhelming city was Finland – we shut down the whole block with the turnout.
Talk to me about collaborating with Drizzy – you did an OVO special on How Much Is Your outfit, with his fit totalling $979,000 outfit. Mad?!
Yeah so it was one of those times. I fell asleep. I woke up. Turned my phone on. Had dirt in my eyes and shit and looked at my DMs. Beginning of March. I saw a “How much is your outfit” OVO edition message. And I always get these DMs so I was like ok. I didn’t know Drake’s @ was Champagne Papi. But I saw the blue tick and was like what? Everything I accomplished and staying consistent for 4 years flashed before me. And he kept it really real. He came up with the title “How Much is Your Outfit OVO Edition”. I’m lowkey, I didn’t tell anyone.
I’ve seen on the gram you’ve been spending some time DJIng/mixing, including recently playing for Maddox Club in London. Will we be seeing more of this?
Yeah! I’m very hard on myself. I don’t care when people say when they say don’t believe in star signs. I’m a Sagittarius – so I’m so hard on myself. I’ve not once wanted to share my skills as a DJ cause I didn’t think I was good enough! I was keeping it a secret for a couple of years. I can now confidently go out and say I am a DJ. I have the craziest mentors that are teaching me stuff. I really enjoy it cause I can’t sing. I have 7 albums of me trying to sing. I went from How Much is Your Outfit and bringing people together to now what? I really love DJing and right now I’m working on a branding movement, Bonne Nuit. Me and my team (most of them are from Central Saint Martins) so its a really strong team right now. It’s like Arc’teryx meets Celine, beautiful strong clothing. So yeah – I’ve matured.
I feel like you’re making yourself into a multi-platform brand.
Yeah, you have to adapt. Just like to COVID. My audience grows up!
What kind of sound are you shaping?
Yeah so house tech, techno, trance, afro-house. You know, you hear the same Travis Scott song. I wanna dive into the feeling where techno is more universal, everyone can relate and share the feeling. I frickin love it. My friends do keep me moving. My friends are quick to say that shit is lame.
That’s a sign of good friendship!
My friend Louis is our generations’ ASAP Yams. His time is coming.
What is your shoe of the year?
DC came back and did a collab with Double. It’s my everyday shoe. I have 5 pairs. They only dropped one colour wave per region of the world.
You’ve also co-founded your own fashion line, Soho Kids. And tell me about your collab with EJDER last November.
Yeahhh. Shoutout to the guys at EJDER. Big love. Took me in at a young age and introduced me to the industry and culture. Soho Kids is my baby, and re-purposes vintage clothing – it’s mine and Romana’s (his girlfriend)’s brand and we thought we would come together to make a brand about sustainability. We wanted to collab with EJDER to get kids to register to vote. Like saying look, you’re of age, its time for you to vote and make a change. On the t-shirts there are QR codes that if you take a pic, it takes you to register to vote. We campaigned around London, Manchester with a speaker, shouting, we had a banner, people would buy the T-Shirt or wear it and take a pic of it. Yeah. EJDER we’re all about community and culture.
Now that you’ve established such a widespread, niche and young audience online, how are you planning on using this in the future?
That’s amazing you asked that question. So my friend Louis’ mum works for the council. When I went to school as a kid, free school meals really helped my mum out. The government taking that away made me want to react and respond. So the next project I’m gonna do is link up with local restaurants and do what I can do. Nothing is concrete yet but it’s in the works. It’s like when you put your oxygen mask on before helping others. I’ve put myself in a position to help others now. No matter the process, no matter how it’s perceived. It doesn’t matter how you wanna label me or negative connotations around How Much Is Your Outfit. I really want to help out.