Arts & Culture Fashion

Four friends and a YouTube channel are bringing fun and irreverence to men’s fashion and streetwear

PAQ has and continues to make streetwear more about how we want to express ourselves and less about who’s wearing the most expensive shoes.

The boys of PAQ have filled the gap that we once saw in the fashion industry. They have manifested a merge between fashion influence and the people that support it.

If you don’t know PAQ, I’m sorry, and allow me to introduce you. PAQ is an online television series created in 2017 by four 19-21 year old friends: Shaquille, Dexter, Elias and Danny. The London-based show aims to celebrate and experiment with men’s fashion and streetwear. The episodes consist of challenges ranging from styling themselves in full women’s wear to thrifting, all the way to customizing and creating clothing. They’ve even styled some big influences in fashion and music on the show like Aminé, Lil Baby, Zara Larsson, Aitch, Cuco, Kojey Radical and more. The PAQ boys are making waves in the streetwear game and in the subculture of men’s fashion with their growing following and the movement of freedom in fashion behind them. 

PAQ’s mission is to bring more playfulness to fashion and streetwear and to make it more about a form of self expression, not a form of expressing status. They do this through the process of design and creation of beyond just outfits, but videos, shoes, story and poetry, photographs, displays, different cultures and even time warps. Turning fashion into more of a creative outlet than a high stakes competition to look “the best” or to make the most money. They want to “inspire young people to feel good, however they look.” 

They explore fashion culture from a variety of angles on their show, which is why it show works so well. They want to challenge the basic assumptions of the fashion industry, asking what is most important in fashion and style and, could the industry be better off without its seriousness.

Each of the boys has a unique style. Pictured in the image below, alongside popular rapper Aminé, Danny (far right,) a skater and DJ, dresses as a classy 60’s or 70’s stud, whereas Dexter (aka Dexthefreak) (far left) takes inspiration from goth culture and old school hip-hop, dressing in all black and nothing else. Shaq (left) is an art student nearly ever seen without hoop earrings and a beret. Elias (right) is prominent for what he calls the “astro boy” look with intense colours and unexpected combinations. Each episode explores how these varying styles are expressed in different contexts.

Most episodes, the boys will either style themselves or they will all style one person and compete to see whose look was the best. The notable differences in their styles is the key element that inspires their audience in expressing diversity in fashion and embracing whatever look they’re going for. Not to mention that anyone watching can relate to at least one of the boys’ styles, which allows the show to appeal to a large audience. 

PAQ has worked with some well known brands. Their first collaboration was the Adidas Originals collaboration they did in 2018. This was the first of their videos to hit one million views and what originally gained their channel its recognition.

They’ve also collaborated with Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Foot Locker, Lacoste, Converse, Tommy Hilfiger and even Nikon and it doesn’t seem like they’re stopping there. At 768,000 subscribers on YouTube, PAQ just keeps growing and the videos are including more and more cameos, leveled up challenges taking them around the world and even into extreme weather conditions, and riskier choices, from playing with feminine silhouettes to experimenting with styles from nearly every decade.

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PAQ and its network, Kyra TV, have created a big influence in streetwear and men’s as well as women’s fashion. They make not only streetwear but fashion in general more about how we want to express ourselves and less about who’s wearing the most expensive shoes. PAQ has been breaking boundaries of conventional fashion with their challenges since episode one. They’ve put their message of embracing and amplifying alternative fashion in Times Square with Converse, where the campaign got their posters plastered all over the streets and in International Footlocker stores. The Converse campaign was a tribute to the old school 80’s Converse design but brought a twist with their posters reading “Boys don’t cry” and “Boys don’t show emotion,” using their platform to address gender roles and mental health. 

PAQ’s open minded take on fashion as a whole is demonstrated in each episode of the show as their visions become reality. In one episode, each of the guys made a short 90’s inspired film and each one spoke volumes to their identity and expression. Dex brought to life his dream 90’s music lair, Danny lived out his 90’s drifting fantasy complete with stunt driver, Shaq combined acting with poetry and style and Elias travelled back to Morocco to reconnect with his culture from when he was young. 

Their message has caught on among their viewers and followers and spread to other social media like Instagram where their fashion serves as inspiration to both content creators and consumers. In a recent episode, PAQ fulfilled a subscriber’s dream with Make-A-Wish by each styling him and showing him around some iconic places in the fashion industry. 

Hunger TV

Danny explained why he thinks the show has been so successful in an interview with Hunger TV: “It’s like a big journey where you see us as people and can relate to us. We don’t come from a massive fashion background and we don’t take fashion so seriously. We’re just four lads having fun.” This element of relatability and positive energy is contagious and runs through each of their episodes. The show is about fashion but each episode comes with challenge, jokes, creativity and messing around. It shows that you can be happy, successful and expressive all at once; that putting on a facade of high status which we often see in the world of fashion, is not necessary whatsoever in succeeding with fashion and self expression. 

Now more than ever, people are expressing themselves freely in terms of fashion, dressing less according to gender and stereotypes and more according to how they feel and simply want to present themselves. Fashion is evolving into a more and more open minded industry in all respects. From style, to fit, to price, PAQ has made a dent in the barrier between full freedom of expression and the prior rigidity of fashion and streetwear.

Cover Image: Instagram / PAQ.official

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