This past April, Drake wore a striking blue paisley Visvim Kerchief down jacket while sitting courtside for a game during the 2019 NBA Playoffs between the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers. The next day, Upscale Hype, the Instagram account that IDs celebrity outfits, posted a picture of Drake wearing the coat, but they couldn’t tell you where to purchase the jacket. That's because the piece is almost a decade old—it was included in the Japanese brand’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection. So how did Drake get it?
A 24-year-old from England who runs Hidden.NY, a popular style-based Instagram account boasting almost 100,000 followers, including Drake, sent it to him via his stylist. Drake DMd the account, which launched last August, to inquire about personal shopping and Hidden, who currently lives in New York, obliged.
“When [Drake] first DM’d me I was just happy to be recognized by somebody so iconic,” he tells Complex. “He buys so much shit that I send him. It's crazy, but that's really cool. We just sort of texted for a bit. I heard some of his new music. We talked about that, and he said if I saw anything that I thought would be good for him to just send it through. I've been doing that sort of regularly.”
Over the past year, Hidden.NY has become the streetwear industry’s communal moodboard. Its followers, which include Virgil Abloh, Takashi Murakami, Don C, John Elliott, and Ronnie Fieg, have grown accustom to its appealing assortment of rare Nigo photos, rapper fit pics, and coveted sneakers. It certainly isn’t the only Instagram page out there taking a look back at the history of streetwear—Lil Jupiter is another notable curation account and he’s been able to parlay his following into successful collaborations with brands like K-Swiss and Advisory Board Crystals—but it stands out with its hard-to-find images that aren’t already circulating on Instagram.
There’s also some mystery behind it because Hidden hasn’t shown his face or identified who he is. But that hasn't hindered him from making business moves. He recently released a T-shirt design with Vandy, a DIY designer on Instagram known for his bootleg designer apparel that’s worn by people like J. Balvin and Billie Eilish. A project with New York-based label, Brigade, is set to follow. He’s also curated a marketplace of desirable archive items for Grailed that is currently up on the popular fashion marketplace.
Hidden.NY’s love for streetwear started when he was 10 years old and visiting Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, with his father. He spotted a poster for N.E.R.D.’s Fly or Die album in the window of a music shop and it all snowballed from there.
His fandom for Pharrell eventually led him to learning about Nigo, who at the time was leading the now-iconic Japanese brand Bape. He became so enamored that he traveled to Japan when he was 14 to experience the culture first hand. Throwback Nigo photos from photoshoots and catalogs frequently get posted to the page alongside tons of iconic pieces from Bape’s archive. He even still collects pairs of patent leather Bapestas, and colorful ICECREAM sneakers even though he admits they aren’t to wear. He says his personal style is much more plain than what he posts on his page. Some of his go-to pieces are Stone Island trousers and Nike ACG T-shirts.
After secondary he would go on to study menswear design at the London College of Fashion before moving to New York City in 2016 where he would do some freelance design work for brands like Billionaire Boys Club and Common Projects. The Instagram page started as a mood board for clients to see his inspirations, and eventually snowballed into what it is today.
“I wasn't intending for it to become anything, but I'm really happy that it has. It's changed my life in a way. I have an outlet now for my work and my thoughts and my designs,” he says. “I don't want it to seem snobby. I don't want it to be like, ‘I know all of this and I'm looking down on you.’ I like it to be more approachable.”
His curation process isn’t as complex as you might assume. It’s a lot of time just scouring the internet for images that intrigue him. What used to be a designated Sunday activity has turned into a more leisurely undertaking with Hidden looking for photos to post at any hour of any given day—when he’s not posting or looking for images he works with brands on content creation and promotion. He even sells his own Hidden.NY merch, tote bags emblazoned with the page’s logo. He considers Tumblr a very valuable resource with Scanners93 being one of his favorite pages for archival Nigo imagery. Other photos come from his collection of scans from old books he’s accumulated over the years. Despite a focus on the aughts, Hidden wants to make sure his page spans across every time period of streetwear.
“I think [streetwear] is still young and that each era of it has had some major highlights, I try to showcase them all,” Hidden tells Complex. “I don't really like it when people say only old streetwear is good. I think that there's good stuff now, too. There’s a lot more of it now, so you have to look through more to find the good stuff, but I like the idea of combining old stuff with new design.”
As one might expect, crediting original creators of these various images can sometimes pose a problem. While he usually has no issue giving the proper credit once he is notified, sometimes he opts for simply deleting the post if he’s given a hard time.
“I'm always happy to credit people. It's not a big deal to me at all, but I find it difficult when people expect me to know everything,” says Hidden. “I post 20 to 30 things a day. I try to credit everyone and I'm always happy to credit people when they message me, but some people are so incredibly rude, and I'm just like, ‘I can't even keep your photo up now. That was just out of order.’ Like how can you be that mad at me? It's insane.”
Hidden.NY’s ultimate goal is to design what helped him fall in love with streetwear in the first place. He wants to work on album art for some of his favorite artists like Playboi Carti, Maxo Kream, and Future.
“I think there's a possibility I'll have some input on one particular upcoming album [cover], but I don't feel like I can talk about it. I think that'll be a next step for me,” he tells Complex. “I hope that it will show what you can do with an Instagram page. I want to show that this stuff isn't stupid. People think it's lowbrow, but I think I can prove through the things that I do in the future that you could turn something like this into a respectable business.”