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How the hype culture is changing on YouTube? Interview with Kofi McCalla from 'The Unknown Vlogs'

The mind behind 'How much is your outfit?'

How the hype culture is changing on YouTube? Interview with Kofi McCalla from 'The Unknown Vlogs' The mind behind 'How much is your outfit?'

Way before the streetwear culture exploded on Youtube with hundreds of videos and dozens of themed channels, Kofi McCalla understood before anyone else the next wave that would have invaded the bedrooms of alla the kids around the world. First with The Unknown Blasian, a first attempt that he himself calls a failure, then with The Unknown Vlogs, Kofi intercepted and faced the streetwear world in all its facets in advance. From the first Palace and Supreme drops to luxury brand store tours, The Unknown Vlogs has laid the foundations of streetwear language on the platform, not only with the now famous format How Much Is Your Outfit? but becoming the face of Hype culture on Youtube, for better or worse.

If on one hand there are fashion weeks, invitations from the best brands and love from the fans, on the other hand there is a scene with an age often very low and immature. According to the latest Global Streetwear Report, about 34% of consumers who are interested in streetwear brands are between 16 and 20 years old - while about 29% are between 21 and 25: these are numbers that struggle to fit in with a less playful and more educational purpose than entertainment on Youtube. Despite this, the more than 600.000 followers on Youtube channel and 150.000 on Instagram - with a growing community spread all over the world - are proof of a commitment that goes beyond the content and goes directly into the heart of passion, mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people ready to do anything to show on video their latest pair of sneakers.

nss magazine virtually met him to discuss about his experience and how YouTube is changing Hype culture.


Hi Kofi, how are you?

Keeping myself busy during quarantine. Hope you’re keeping well yourself.

How did you start making videos on youtube?

I didn’t like people at school. Too much drama I didn’t really care about. Would spend my times browsing Rick Owens and familiarizing myself with new brands etc. Then I would just skip school and go to London every week. I learnt more avoiding drama at school and got into Law School. I remember back in the 2016 days I would film everything and watch it back, in my bedroom, like my own movie premiere.

From your first videos to today, how has Youtube changed?

Back then there were less rules. There were less sub-interesting cultures on the platform. So I took it upon myself to bring a cool edgy streetwear scene to the platform. Now YouTube is flooded with loads of different subcultures and interesting people to watch.

In the last few weeks you’ve uploaded almost one video a day largely involving your audience. How much is important their support in a complicated time like this one?

I can’t just stay home and do nothing. With over 600,000 people on my channel, I have to give them content. Help them stay entertained during these hard times. It’s my role as a Content Creator.

How do you think your job as a YouTuber is going to change due to this general lockdown and its consequences?

I’m lucky to say I am 23 and am the CEO of Unknown Vlogs ltd. Turning my craft and interests into a full-fledged company. So during these hard times I am keeping my company running. Everyday I wake up. Plan and film a video. Edit it. Then stream for 3 hours. Sleep. And repeat. I am working 10 times harder now than I have ever. And I love it! The community I am growing is beautiful!

Could the fashion on Youtube be more than just an entertainment based on “flexing” hoodies and sneakers and maybe find an educational purpose?

Of course! but we have school that has made some what, educational videos boring for the majority. Then I find myself with the challenge of producing content that is both appealing and will also benefit in the educational sense. I have a new series coming out Thursday 30th April. Can’t wait!

In the last years the hype culture has totally changed the way we speak and think about fashion. Do you think that this kind of fashion culture will last or it will disappear and change into something else?

The culture is there. That won’t change. We all share the same values and interests. It’s the brands that extort cultures and make our values and interests shift away from the mainstream. While the mainstream milks our previous interests and beliefs. We have moved on way before companies ran out of ideas and resorted back to their old habits of finding what is new to forever last.

Just a few days ago Giorgio Armani wrote a letter addressed to WWD speaking of some of the critical issues of the fashion system that the the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare. Do you think that the fashion industry will have to change due to this pandemic? Maybe going more digital and giving up some old habits.

Time for everyone to hit the reset button. Now companies and brands are forced to adapt into the digital age. 2016 young me filming in all these stores to get kicked out and banned. 2021 paves the way to global recognize and welcome young content creators.

How are you spending these days at home? Do you have any tip on movies, books or documentaries to watch and read?

Currently finishing this Sapiens book. Rebranding Unknown Vlogs and Find myself bettering my physique by working out more and taking time to self-reflect and meditate. Expect more to come with my esports base I am growing on Twitch, and I hope to next see everyone soon after quarantine. Maybe DJ in your city! ;)