Photography by Steven “Sweatpants” Irby
Growing up in New York, everything was a competition. You didn’t want to be known for wearing dusty sneakers on the regular. If you came to school (or were anywhere out in public) with high-water denims, it was a wrap. Things like this can carry on for years, decades. So a lot of us out here learn the dos and don’ts quickly.
Being in such a competitive environment, one that's constantly growing and evolving, it gives you a passion to learn about different cultures, just because you want to stand out from other people rather than fitting into the same basic steez—all while still paying homage to your hometown.
I'm from Flatbush and I grew up out in Jamaica, Queens. That has been a big influence in my life in about a million different ways. A lot of the MCs I grew up listening to like Jay-Z, Nas, Lost Boyz, Biggie, DMX, and OG Shyne Po, had a heavy influence on my style. The template was laid out in the bars, to the ambience. It's really how you interpret it in your day-to-day. My personal rule is this, however: Just avoid boot-cut denim—it looks real sketchy.
The dope part about being in New York, though, is that depending on the hood you’re in, the wave can be different and refreshing. It's something that inspired me to roam around more often, and take photos of anything that catches my eye in any particular neighborhood.
Rocking boot-cut denim in 2016 is very sketchy, and I wouldn't trust you if you did. But I do trust someone who rocks a pair of ACGs. They’re a staple in the New Yorker outfit grid, and putting them to good use is a science.
If you haven't had Spam and eggs, you might be missing out in life. Before you go anywhere during this season in NYC, you have to be layered up to perfection. Mastery of that style is something I look for when shooting on the streets.
Why is the delivery dude always stingy with the extra duck sauce? Let me thrive. You need all the energy in the world to walk through these streets.
Don't be the guy still rocking shutter shades. It wasn't popping then so don't go back now. When so many factors start to play in shooting street style, you want to focus on something that stands out.