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Pete, Kim and the moodboard to designer pipeline

Last week, a sequence of paparazzi photos confirming dating rumors between Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian likely became some, if not the, most viewed social media images in recent memory.

The pics captured seemingly every demographic of poster, with onlookers picking apart details like a piece of forensic evidence. The tightness of their grasp, Kim’s ironic, perhaps even subversive, choice of Yeezy footwear were all scenes of importance.

For a much smaller demographic of onlookers (ones likely prone to trolling Instagram while wearing a pair of Birkenstock Bostons and listening to Playboi Carti) Pete’s shirt was the center of attention. Within the historic paparazzi images was a black tee with a green “h” logo on the chest, the work of Instagram moodboarder @hidden.ny.

The importance of @hidden.ny (an account with 676,000 followers at the time of reporting) lies very much within the eye of the beholder. To some, the account is a droll repost machine, pumping out the same celebrity and streetwear photos at a pace that manages to assuage the IG algorithm. To others, hidden has been a mirror to the shifting sands of streetwear’s growing landscape in recent years — a trend forecaster, confirmer and killer, all in one.

What we do know about hidden from the few interviews he’s given is that he is an anonymous Brit currently living in NYC. He sometimes helps Drake shop on Grailed, he appears to be close with Lil Yachty, he is blocked by Nigo (the most recurring character on the account) and he posts on IG — a lot!

Early this year, hidden began laying the groundwork to pivot from successful moodboard to fully operating clothing brand. In April, the account orchestrated an effective reunion of HBO’s “How To Make It In America” (a story of NYC fashion hustle the account seemingly hopes to replicate) to announce a more structured, regular rollout of merchandise including branded tees, hoodies and socks.

The blueprint for the moodboarder to streetwear designer pipeline was undoubtedly put in place by Justin Saunders aka JJJJound. Originally birthed as a mid aughts design blog, JJJJound captured streetwear’s early days on IG, moodboarding through a steady flow of vibey, design-tinged images all flavored to a palette of millennial minimalism. Since amassing a loyal following, Saunders has been tapped to collab with footwear brands like New Balance, Reebok and Vans while also pumping out a steady stream of merchandise ranging from elevated, branded basics to tasteful home goods.

In an industry where creative directors are celebrities and celebrities and creative directors, it’s no surprise that even relatively nameless Instagram accounts now have the potential to fill the shoes of fashion designers, which isn’t to say the duo’s success isn’t impressive.

By way of the algorithm’s constant, undying need for newness, internet fame has become something of red herring. For every Island Boy or Emily Mariko, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of once-viral content creators since landed on the island of misfit influencers whose relevance has dried up, largely through no fault of their own.

In this environment, pivoting is one of the best ways to sidestep staleness — TikTokers become pop stars, pop stars become YouTubers, YouTubers become boxers. The question for a growing avenue of aspiring fashion designers isn’t so much “how do you get clout?” rather “what will you do once you get it?”.

Quick links

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Here's a Ted Talk

via @majfye

A look ahead

👟 Bape x adidas Superstars drop Wednesday, November 23

👟 Pyer Moss Reeboks drop Saturday, November 27

🛍 New arrivals from Martine Ali drop on Seasons on Monday, November 29