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Niche Is Mainstream: A Q+A with King Adz

Posted on 07 Feb 2018

We asked ‘This is not Fashion’ author King Adz some quick-fire questions about his fascination with all things streetwear. Here’s what he had to say.

Crooks & Castles showing serious attitude [Credit: Crooks & Castles]

We asked ‘This is not Fashion’ author King Adz some quick-fire questions about his fascination with all things streetwear. Here’s what he had to say.

Can you sum up ‘This is Not Fashion’ in three words?

Real street sh*t.

What’s your personal style?

Casual preppy skater iced with healthy dose of queerness.

What was your first streetwear moment?

Buying the Bob Marley Stussy tee (as documented in the book). It literally changed my life and my heart was instantly lost to streetwear.

What’s your ultimate piece of streetwear?

A navy blue Sedgwick and Cedar track jacket sample that never made it past that stage. S&C was Kool Herc’s streetwear label that unfortunately didn’t fulfill its potential. Reality often has other plans for our dreams and schemes as we found out with our own streetwear brand.

What element of streetwear do you think should be relegated to the history books?

The misogynistic and pornographic images used by Supreme as a tool to establish itself as a major player in the minds of every 14-year old boy in the Western Hemisphere. It should be relegated but not forgotten. It’s a sh*tty, cheap and nasty way of spreading word of your brand. Come correct. Try harder. Think bigger.

Wanda and Kabelo, aka The Sartists, dressed to the nines, topped off with Simon and Mary bespoke hats and classic eyewear, Johannesburg, 2014 [Credit: Photo by Aimee Pozniak, art direction by Jana and Koos]


What’s your most unusual source of fashion inspiration?

The horrible shoe shop in St. Albans into which my mother used to drag me into to buy my brown Clark’s lace-up shoes back in the 1970’s. I hated those f*ckers. The shop was so middle class it hurt, but little did I know that back a yard in Jamaica, all the roots and culture reggae generals were rocking the same style with a little more swagger than me skipping about the burbs dreaming of my first proper skateboard. After discovering reggae I began to understand that everything is not as it may seem on first inspection.

Who is your streetwear icon?

My heroes are Willi Smith and my wife and co-author Wilma Stone, who both have the perfect eye for detail, styling and moment; a rare combination indeed in this day and age of crass label worship and queuing for fake streetwear.

What’s next for streetwear?

Streetwear is on the cusp of becoming properly mainstream. When we started writing the book it was still rooted firmly in the sub-culture, but because it took so long things done changed. I love the fact that we are involved in something so f*cking fresh and yet so popular. It’s a nice place to be. When we started our streetwear brand 100proof, the South African high street retailer wanted to pay us less than we could make each item for. At least today you can make a living from it.

Who will be the next big name in streetwear?

100proof. Tempracha from Durban. Simon & Mary from Johannesburg.

What advice do you have for up and coming/ aspiring designers?

Read the f*cking book, work out what you are into, and then understand how niche really means mainstream.

This is Not Fashion

Streetwear Past, Present and Future King Adz, Wilma Stone