With the UK music scene seeing substantial growth over the past few years, with 2017 being an exceptionally fruitful year, the world of fashion and its influence on music has also evolved.
The realms of music and fashion have always been synonymous, however recently a lot more artists have been partnering up with sportswear brands in their pursuit of becoming influential creatives and ambassadors. From the likes of Stormzy, to Bonkaz to Abra Cadabra; adidas’ contribution and support to the British rap scene is ever growing. As well as joining forces with various artists, adidas have also been busy creating new models and silhouettes, proving how evolutionary they have been both aesthetically and technologically with both their footwear and apparel.
East London based artist Kojey Radical has worked closely with adidas in recent history, in a number of campaigns, workshops and lectures, including an exclusive performance at the launch of the EQT range in August. A figure with an unorthodox musical style, Kojey is also greatly looked up to from a fashion standpoint. As someone who has always been individualistic in his style, his native East London foundations have also played a major part in his creative directions.
The most recent and anticipated release, however, is the new adidas Prophere; a silhouette inspired by street style, which perfectly blends functionality with style in its bold, yet sleek design. In correspondence, we managed to catch up with Kojey Radical to speak about his personal style, his current wardrobe and his recent partnership with adidas.
The worlds of music and fashion have always been synonymous, with each complimenting the other all the time, how important do you think this is for the scene?
“I feel like the coming together of younger influences is when it starts to take on a greater importance. I think fashion will grow with the generations and actually when young people see figures that they can identify with, it really encourages them to take on and develop their own personal styles.
“With this campaign, I think that’s the coolest thing about it is that each and every one of us are really different, however, the coming together of us all is really representative of the scene we’re in, its so diverse.”
As somebody with an unorthodox musical style, would you say that this translates also towards your personal style in fashion?
“I like collaborating with fashion, the essence of everything I create doesn’t just come from the music, it’s the feeling behind it, how people will respond, how they will feel. I think the coolest thing about working with adidas is just the fact that they let me do me and I actually think that its something they appreciate, the fact that I’m just me at all times”
Is there/has there been anybody in the music scene who has inspired your own style growing up?
“Yeah, but it hasn’t always been entirely people who are within the music scene. I was a big fan of Takeshi Murakami when I was a kid and his work definitely inspired people like Pharrell and Kanye, especially during his Graduation era. It’s crazy though, its not just them, also the likes of André 3000 to a degree, and Wale; its almost became this regeneration of hypebeast culture, but it was so colourful and engaging that you could not help but fall in love with it, with all of these bright characters. I think this was the time where everyone invented all these cartoon characters that acted as mascots to their brands; I remember just being so fascinated by it.”
Streetwear has really been at the forefront of fashion, especially in 2017; what are your thoughts on this?
“Streetwear is everywhere, it’s all around it and it’s so dominating. We grow up with so many idols in the fashion world because of where we come from and what we see all around us. The beauty of streetwear is that they’re able to keep up with luxury brands and at times now, we see luxury brand trying to keep up with them.
“What I appreciate about streetwear brands is their heritage, and that’s why I think they’re so important to the music scene and the young ambassadors who work with them. Because of their rich heritage and humble beginnings, UK artists are able to find understanding and are able to relate with these brands, I think that’s why it has worked so well.”
What have been your top favourite pieces in your wardrobe this year?
“I’ve been wearing this really cool kimono jacket recently, its super warm and thick, one of those pieces where you can just let it do all the talking. I’ve always been into waistcoats too, I’ve been wearing this really cool wool type of fabric one, again its great for winter. In terms of footwear that has been heavily in rotation, I would have to say the White Mountaineering x adidas collaboration on the SeeULater boot, I think those in black… yeah those are fire!”
Aside from being a role model in the music industry, you are also an individual who is looked up to from a fashion standpoint, how big a role does fashion play in your life?
“I was a weird kid, I used to get dressed like three times a day, like I would change my outfit on the way back from school, it was weird [laughs]. Having said that, I always knew that I was into fashion, I have always been fascinated by the psychology that goes behind people enjoying fashion. I also went to Fashion University, so I definitely followed through with my love for it as a kid and I think that was because of the idea that I was able to represent myself; it’s like another form of painting really”
Being from East London, do you think your environment has influenced your style and why?
“Yeah, a million per cent, I grew up in the middle of Shoreditch so its quite self explanatory really [laughs]. Back in the day peoples style in Shoreditch was more personal, that’s the only difference; now it’s more about the hipster culture and about falsifying an image or ideal.
“Through the years we have seen some real scenes and influencers come in and comprise, I guess what is now Hoxton and Shoreditch culture, whether that’s across hip hop and grime or the more punk, jazz and alternative scenes there, its really cool. We’ve really had every type of scene, if you like, come in and contribute to the Shoreditch culture that we now know.”
Over the past few years, a lot of British artists have partnered up with sportswear brands, how do you feel about this?
“It’s important and I think it’s going to continue. I think what we are going to see as we move forward is the further development and how they build with these artists and what they allow them to do. I think this is when it’s really going to start to make way and ripple through the culture. It will be interesting to see what a younger artist form the UK could do with an adidas shoe, you know, and that’s not even from a sales standpoint, but from a designers one, its really exciting”
As we move into the peak of Winter, what is currently on heavy rotation in your wardrobe and why?
“At the moment, I’ve been wearing a lot of wool, I mean I’ve just been layering more, a lot of hooded layers, too. I’ve also been wearing boots a lot, but I try and dress down really.”
In terms of footwear, what silhouettes are you particularly impressed by at the moment?
The SeeULater, I think that’s my favourite shape. I also like NMD, I think it had a really good year and a lot of the collaborative pieces that dropped contained some of my personal favourites, so I’m really looking forward to see what adidas do with it in 2018, cause its really taken its own identity.”
Recently, adidas released the new ‘Prophere’ silhouette, a shoe, which is both aesthetically and technologically quite futuristic, what is your earliest memory in the sneaker game?
“I was a superstar kid. I found a pair the other day, it was a collaborative shoe; they were brown and had this crazy orange graffiti all over it and I honestly thought that they were the coolest shoes ever. As a kid, I remember watching old Hip Hop videos and seeing the likes of Run DMC having adidas campaigns even way back then. Just seeing everyone hold up their shoe in the air in ads and videos, really made me feel a part of that movement.
“Having said that, I think adidas has come so far with their design and developments. I remember when I first tried on the Ultra Boost, it was so comfortable, I didn’t even want to take it off at the time”.
As somebody who has been the face of a number of campaigns, for example with the adidas NMD_C1 TR last year, what tips would you give to young hopefuls who want to follow your footsteps?
“I think remain authentic within yourself. These brands aren’t here to validate you, do you know what I mean; once you gain a true understanding of yourself and how you like to dress and be, these partnerships begin to make a lot more sense and begin to feel a lot more natural.”
As we approach 2018, do you have any new years resolutions?
“Yeah, drink more water and mind my business [laughs], that’s it.”
The brand new adidas Prophere, an ultramodern yet highly functional silhouette is now available to buy from JD, priced at £90.