The theme of Highsnobiety Magazine Issue 13 is independence. At its core, independence is about self-reliance, individualism and thinking for oneself. Embodying so many facets of our culture, we chose four distinct cover subjects for the issue – a rapper, a pop star, a fashion designer and an actor turned streetwear entrepreneur – all of whom exemplify the issue’s theme in their own way.
First up is 25-year-old Atlanta-based rapper Jeffery Lamar Williams, known professionally asYoung Thug. From his eccentric persona and androgynous dress to his unhinged flow and sometimes incomprehensible lyrics, Thug’s entire approach has been unconventional. Taking aim at outdated macho tenants of hip-hop, Young Thug has, in many ways, completely changed the landscape of what rap music looks, feels and sounds like in 2016, all while being entirely and unapologetically true to himself.
Next, we have 23-year-old British singer and songwriter Zayn Malik. While Malik may seem outside the scope of Highsnobiety’s usual framework, we were intrigued by his abrupt decision to quit the massively popular UK boy band One Direction and go it alone. Reinventing himself and shaping his own identity, Zayn has evolved in sound and style since (seen here wearing a denim jacket from the newly refreshed Gucci). And, though it hasn’t been without tribulation, as a mainstream pop star who is also Muslim, Zayn is a true icon of multiculturalism today.
Then there is fashion designer Haider Ackermann, the self-proclaimed “eternal stranger.” Though thrust into the spotlight in part by a Kanye West co-sign, Ackermann is a true independent in every sense of the word. From his business structure to his design philosophy and everything in-between, Haider is a man who embodies the freedom of being everywhere and nowhere at once.
For our fourth cover, we showcase the infamous Chinese superstar and founder of CLOT, Edison Chen. A man of many talents, Chen is currently working behind-the-scenes with a number of independent streetwear labels in Los Angeles, staying out of the limelight of Asia. As such, he appears masked on our cover, in a piece from Matthew Williams’ incredible new womenswear label, ALYX.
Beyond the four cover features, this issue of Highsnobiety Magazine also explores many other stories of self-reliance and freedom, including the journey of legendary FUCT founder Erik Brunetti, the slow and steady rise of Sean Brown’s NEEDS&WANTS and the nuanced work of London-based creative Andrew Bunney. We also spoke with Samuel Ross of A-COLD-WALL*, caught up with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Bari to discuss their bubbling VLONE venture and sat down with Vancouver “fetish” rapper Tommy Genesis, in addition to many others, to shed light on the ways global creators are embracing self-directed approaches to lifestyle, art and business today.