Dressed in a wide brim hat, Moscot glasses, and a homemade tour jacket, a pair of Black/Silver Air Jordan 5s are the last thing you expect to see on the feet of Theophilus London. Accept the new. In a generation where upstart MCs get more shine from streetwear brands than their record label, Theophilus is as much of standout artistically as he is visually mixing and matching from his favorite eras and styles.
His memory of sneaker nostalgia is as rich as most, but his commitment to a trend or aligning himself with a style is where he leaves most musicians and fashion gurus in the dust. Make no mistake though, he’s on top of his kick game. Still mapping out your plan to get the Cool Grey 11s? Theophilus got his months ago, in bulk.
Recently Theophilus sat down with us to talk shoes and fashion. Theophilus tells us the first pair he had growing up, his favorite sneaker (or lack thereof), switching between kicks and loafers, and taking the number one spot on Celebrity Sneaker Stalker.
Growing up, what was the first pair you remember having?
Theophilus London: Growing up it was just me and my mom. I remember, for Christmas, I was very disappointed because she got me these Mike Tyson Everlast shoes. They were probably cool back then but I wasn’t into that in third grade. Those were my first memorable pair.
The shoes that I wanted to have came from watching Fresh Prince as a kid, being like “what the f*ck are those 5s? What the hell are those 3s?” I wanted those. I really got into Michael Jordan and every single sports player that era circa the 90s wearing really cool sneakers. The designers were really killing it.
Theophilus London: I don’t have a favorite pair of shoes. It just has to match the mood of the day. I can hate it one day, so it doesn’t make it my favorite. I like different designs. I like the (Air Jordan) 5′s design. I just like to walk into an exclusive shop that has everything, and just grab it up and try it out.
Being from Brooklyn, the sneaker culture is very rich. What are your favorite spots in New York?
Theophilus London: I have to shout out Kicks Exclusive in SoHo right by where I live. You walk in the basement and they have really cool stuff. I can’t really lie and name all these shops in New York because I’m always on tour. When I get home I want something new on my feet instead of the studio sneakers I’ve been wearing all week.
You’re a big vintage shopper. What’s your best sneaker pick up from a thrift store?
Theophilus London: I’ve never actually picked up sneakers from a thrift shop. Mostly just jackets, hats, or shirts. I never get pants or shoes.
It’s not unusual for you to dress up. How do you decide between sneakers and hard bottoms?
Theophilus London: Depends on the time and the event. Sometimes I perform in suits and wear loafers, sometimes I wear loafers just to hang out. Sometimes I throw on sneakers with a dressy outfit just to cut the edge off. Sometimes when I have a non-dressy outfit I throw on some loafers just to cut the edge in.
Recently, you toured overseas. How does the music and fashion scene differ?
Theophilus London: In terms of music, it’s very progressive. There’s lots of really good stuff on the charts. UK’s commercial music is really good. There I’m listening to the Number 1 record and it’s actually good, where here it’s sh*t. Fashion is really good in Italy, Rome, and Paris. You have respect for the kids because they actually took their pants to the tailor. Kids have a huge intelligence of fashion and music all around the world, but the big cities have influence.
Who influenced your style growing up?
Theophilus London: Growing up in Brooklyn I saw these old dudes, maybe in their 60s or 70s, wearing aviators to block the sun or wearing these hats properly like baseball players. I take stuff from everywhere but I’m never a twin about it. I flip it.
Does fashion influence your music or does music influence your fashion?
Theophilus London: Both. It goes both ways.
There has been a lot of buzz around your friend Va$htie’s recent collaboration with Jordan Brand. What were your thoughts on the project?
Theophilus London: I thought it was great. The fact that she was the first girl to do a Jordan thing is dope. I think it’s a good step in her career to do something that high as a designer. As a young designer myself, I’m proud of her and thought it was awesome.
Could you ever see yourself doing a collaboration?
Theophilus London: I’ve actually worked on a couple so far but none publicly that I’m ready to put out. I’m working on a pin collection right now. I’d like to a collaboration with Gucci, Levis, or Moscot.
You’ve caught a lot of attention in NiceKicks Celebrity Sneaker Stalker column. Do you keep up with the blogs?
Theophilus London: Celebrity Sneaker Stalker is one of my favorite publications to be on like right next to GQ. Kids being able to go online and check out the site just to be inspired what they can collect. I think it’s good. I’ll have to send you some more photos. I could be kicking off Chris Brown or Drake or whoever is doing it. I’m not flaunty but I’ve got some shi*t in my storage, some nasty shoes I haven’t brought out.