I said time and time again that I would write about my trip. Over the past few weeks I've spent a lot of time away from my phone and just focusing on the things in front of me and it's made me realize the importance of putting that horrible thing down and seeing life for what it's like infront of your eyes. Like all the long blogs, they're meant to be read on a laptop. For the photos, click on them and scroll left and right to see them in full HD. Enjoy. And welcome to Spring Break.
When life gives you a week with no plans, you make the best out of it. For me, this week off turned into a mischievous tale i like to call Spring Break.
Now, there's a few different types of "Spring Breakers".
There's your typical college kids; the "let's go to Cancun, stay at an all inclusive resort drink a bunch of who knows what try to blackout and get really sunburnt"
There's your college kids who love home so much that they're like "I want to go home and see my highschool friends and sit in someone's basement and drink beer and watch sports all week"
There's your boring people that are like "wow, a week off, i don't have any money so i'm going to stay at school and just hangout on campus"
Then there's your people who are like "let's go to some crazy country and sleep on random floors and hangout with people from online and do whatever life throws at us".
I chose the last one. But I had a bit of purpose.
For OHKAY, I designed these new chains. The background story is that I ended up modeling for some UK brand a few months ago who did chains. I did some silly instagram ad idk they wanted "cool influencers on their page". They were going to pay me $350 but instead of asking them for the paycheck, I told them I wanted them to introduce me to their manufacturer. So they connected me with a team of designers in London who do jewelry. Once upon a time, back when i was first screen printing tees in my basement I had imagined doing jewelry of some sort. So I worked with them two months ago and we designed two chains for OHKAY. I made 2 different designs in both gold and silver. I made samples of them, and they were getting done in London. Oh, and I made this cool snow camo hoodie too that I needed to shoot photos of. So I thought to myself "why not go there, see exactly how the chains are made, make a relationship with the people who are making the stuff for me, and the rest of the story will play out as it goes". It seemed much cooler than just having them ship me the samples, right? A little bit more to talk about in my opinion.
I designed these and sent them over to my new manufacture friends in London. They brought these to life exactly how I imagined.
The designs looked a it like that. I always had this idea and I knew that it would prove that the brand is more than some screenprinted shirts.
So it's a thursday, a few thursdays ago, at 1:35pm.
"You have until 3:35 to finish this exam" my professor says as she walks around the class, passing a stapled packet to each student.
You can kind of hear the sighs go from one end of the room to the other as people realize the exam is 100 questions, taking up the front and back of ten pages. "Once you're done, you're free to leave" she concludes.
I get my exam. Grab my pen. Tap into the book of knowledge inside my head, answer the questions exactly as I studied them, finish the open response by 2:15, pass it in, give my Intercultural Communications teacher a hug, and walk out of the class.
I head to my dorm room, grab my suitcase, pack my laptop and camera into my backpack, say goodbye to my friends, and call the uber to the airport.
A few hours later my mom picks me up at Logan Airport in Boston. Usually my friends will pick me up if i get in late and we'll drop my stuff somewhere then head to Bijou, our favorite club in Boston. But the point of going home was to see my mom.
Her and I got dinner then I went back to my house. I got to lay in my bed for a little while, which, believe it or not, is sensational. Once you go to college you'll understand. Nothing is better than returning to your own room and sitting there in complete serenity just enjoying being back where you grew up.
A day goes by. Well, 22 hours, I should say.
I went to the bank and I took $300 out of my bank account. That equated to roughly 200 pounds because of the conversion. I thought that if all hell broke out, I had the company credit card to fall back on to get a place to live. But I knew I wouldn't need that.
"Let's go, my flight is in a few hours". We were all at 5 Morris which is this place in Boston owned by Merkinglsoth that everyone goes to and kind of traps out of. Not traps, but you get the point.
I have so many friends back in Boston because, well, that's where OHKAYGANG really started and a lot of the people who help with the brand are stationed in Boston, so when I'm there it's kind of a reunion we all get together hangout draw out ideas plan out future stuff and laugh about the stupid things. Because of OHKAY I've gotten really close with a lot of new friends over the past year so those are my go-to when I'm home for a night or whatever. That's my gang. That's who I call when I need something done or I need some ideas or anything. That's OG OHKAYGANG from the roots.
"Don't die, alright!?" Kevin says. We laugh as we grab my bags out of the trunk.
"Secure the box and bring me back a gold box logo!" Joe yells.
"I'll catch you guys on the flip side. Thanks for the ride" I say as I roll my suitcase (which was way too heavy) back into Logan Airport.
I laughed to myself. "I can't even get 24 hours at home". Everything moves so fast. Which I guess I love. But there's no such thing as sitting down. Too many places to go, too many people to see.
I check in and head to the international terminal.
International flights are crazy. It's like a luxury party bus but like in the sky. Ok, I don't know if it's that cool, but they're cool. They give you like warm face masks when the sun sets and blankets and pillows and stuff.
There's 11 seats per row, in a 3-5-3 set-up. They give you unlimited free drinks, two meals, and the TVs have just about every movie you'd ever want to watch that just came out in theaters.
And the best part about the flight, it was $419 round trip from Boston to London.
Side note, traveling is VERY cheap if done correctly. This is something I want everyone to know because there's a lot of kids out there that talk about "oh i don't have the money for traveling" yet they're buying $500 VLONE longsleeve shirts. I'll speak on budgeting some time and i'll try to teach you guys how to travel cheap and light but don't think i'm out here spending $2,000 on a week away. It's not like that. It's more like oh I'm selling an old pair of Raf shoes I have, making $600, and going across the world for a week.
So we fly through the night. I watch the sun set over one side of the ocean on my left, and watch it come up on the other. The night fell and the morning rose. The new day began, I flew for 5 hours and got hit with the 4 hour time difference. My mind was in yesterday but my body was in tomorrow.
from this part on, it would have made so much sense if I wrote about my last trip to London. You need to know some background of all the people so the pieces of the story fit together. Realistically, this stuff shouldn't work. Like i'm eighteen years old I shouldn't be able to fly to a new country with no plans of places to sleep and be able to stay on random floors at random houses and go to the best night clubs and get endless free alcohol and food all week. But I guess it's how it went down. And truly it's all because of the internet. Every underlined name is someone very important to me, and to The Web Of People. Everyone's name is click-able so you can like get a sense of who these people are because I think that adds depth to the stories. But just click around now so you can picture everything later on. It's a long story but to understand all of how the web works, you need to grasp the idea of the background of how it all began.
So last year Sofia's mom moved to London. Serafina and I met Sofia through the internet over a year ago on this private world of instagram we all belong to. She was one of our first New York friends. She's younger. Like much younger, she's like our little sister and over time has become one of our life long best friends. Her dad lives in New York so she was in school there for a while. So her mom moves out to London and Sofia ends up leaving New York and going to Boarding School in Italy. She's the craziest sixteen year old girl you'll ever find. It's wild because I'll be like sofia what do you want to do this weekend and she'll be like hmmm I'll meet you in London then we can get sushi one night then we can fly to Paris for dinner the next night if you want. But I think back and I'm like ok when I was her age all I wanted was to get a A- in my chemistry class in sophomore year of highschool. It's the internet, it's what it does to kids. Leo, Sofia, all these younger kids just evolve from being 15 to 19 at such a rapid rate mentally because they're rapidly just influenced by the culture. That's something I can speak on another time. Sofia would go see her mom a lot and since she was in London, we introduced her to Harriet a while ago. Once Sofia was friends with everyone from London, I was like well it's time to go meet all of them. So over winter I had time off from school and I was like why not go back to London. I went once when I was a senior when I was 17 but I just went with my two other friends and we didn't do much, so December was meant to understand the true London culture. I invited Brandon to come too, from LA.
So at this point we're back in London in December 2016. The Background.
We took this weird approach. Well, I did, and I told Brandon to trust me. We were there for a week, but we had no idea where we were going to sleep. I had talked to a few London people on Facebook and stuff and they said they'd house us if we needed. So we had options. Three weird options, I think it was.
But we got an Air BNB for the first night. That was our only plan for the week. And somehow, everything played out perfectly past that.
So Brandon and I got to London in December, on the first day, and we met at Sofia's house. Her mom has this beautiful house right outside of central London.
In London, there's this thing called The Basement , and basically it's this Facebook group that started years ago and it's grown to over 65,000 members across the UK, and there's a few of us still in it from the states. The Basement is run by a group of kids and they call themselves the Admins. It's a brand, too. It's a huge thing over there. Everyone knows about it. I just happened to have joined the facebook group when I was like 14 when it had 9,000 members and people would talk about new Supreme releases. I was friends with a few of them just from online, like Milo, Dan , and Leo, and I knew they were a big part of it. They run a brand from The Basement, too. They make money from the brand and they work with Nike and Adidas and tons of other brands on projects so they have funds, so they have this cool office on the top floor of a building in soho. So bascially we went to the Basement Office that day, the first day we got there in December, and met everyone in real life. These kids are the clothing kids of the UK. The kids who are influential to all these track-suit wearing, nike shoe-loving, ah-de-das saying, kids that aren't from America. In my mind, London is like a secret mission past New York. A lot of people in America who don't live in New York think New York is the hub for fashion and for "the scene" and for making someone famous or something. I don't know what they think. But to me, New York is just another place with far too-high rent and a shitty subway system. London, to me, is the level up from New York. The London scene is just getting big as far as fashion goes. It's like New York in 2013/2014. The "youth culture" has just been created in London over the past 6-8 months. So to jump in and see it from the start gave me a unique outlook and approach to everything.
Wait there's this part in the middle that is kind of essential to the creation of the Web Of People. So remember I said I went to london one time senior year of Highschool. I went with my two friends Hudson and Johnny . Long story short, Johny found this girl named Harriet online when we were there. They talked but we never hungout with her. Months later when she was in New York, her and Johnny got dinner and ended up spending a few days hanging out with one another. Harriet was apart of The Basement, too. But no one in the states knew what that meant, only I did. So Harriet and Johnny meet online, Harriet comes to New York, they become friends, Johnny tells Sofia about Harriet, Sofia's mom moves to London, Sofia and Harriet become best friends, Sofia meets The Basement kids, I go to London with Brandon, we become close with all of them. So I guess if Johnny Hudson and I never went to London back in highschool and lurked instagram one night at dinner, we would have never met these people. That's just how things work out. I guess everything does happen for a reason.
Below is one of my favorite point and shoot photos i've taken.
Leo, Sofia, and Harriet waiting for the tube.
Remember how we got an Air bnb for that first night in London. Well, we ended up inviting everyone we knew over to it. I was on Instagram just randomly inviting people to our address. We had the place, so we thought why not just throw a party.
We had everyone over the house that night. Lots of cigarette rolling, lots of beer drinking, lots of good laughs. I learned all the slang. Learned the importance of Grime music. It was in this area called Kings-Crossing. I know I always say my life is something out a movie, but this was the scene of mayhem. We pull up to this random country, find all new friends, make a friend group, and stay up all night long in this rented-out household dancing and partying like we owned the flat. If you've sen SKINS, it's like that. SKINS is a perfect representation of how all of this happened. Season Two, mainly. We became really close with people like Lloyd, Fei, Kamilia , Harriet, and Rhys . We met the true Kids Of London that night. And I've met the New York kids and the LA kids, and there's no doubt these kids are cooler than any kids anywhere. They're just real. They're not New York finessers or LA youtubers. But then again, the grass is always greener on the other side.
These photos were from our first day there.
The Air BNB was like a legit house, 3 floors tons of bedrooms and stuff. And it had this back yard that was connected to other peoples'. We were outside smoking and the neighbors came outside.
They ended up being a bunch of college kids. "How do you guys all know eachother" they asked us. "Uhhhhh... the internet"
"Do you want to come over and have some drinks with us?" I asked. Seconds later they hoped over the fence and joined us.
I ended up getting one of their numbers. They were just five cool dudes who were all staying there because their college was one stop away on the tube.
The night ended and the morning came and we all woke up sleeping on the floor with red cups everywhere and the music still playing. Identical to an opening scene in the show Skins. If you've seen that, you can imagine this story in its' entirety.
"What are we going to do with our bags" Brandon asked me as we prepared to return the keys to the Air bnb. I just remember being like holy shit what do we do i totally forgot to plan out our second day.
So I called The Neighbors.
"Hey man, it's Chris. Can I, like, leave my suitcase at your place for a few days?" I asked as I woke up our new friends.
"Sure man, bring it around the back you can put it in the hallway" one of them told me.
So we did. And our clothes stayed on Argyle street next to the Kings Crossing station. All week.
This girl Hannah and I had been mutually following eachother for like a year and I had talked to her and she had two open couches for a few nights, so we ended up staying 3 nights at her place. During that week we just went out and shot photos with everyone every single day. Brandon and I made an entire new friend group. And it was cool because no one really knew each other before that. We built a group of friends basically out of "who is in Soho and wants to hangout with us", and we ended up going out with the same few friends every day of the week. The photos below are just some random shots we took that week.
Every morning we would wake up at Hannah's and head to The Neighbors. The Nieghbors consist of five amazing, all totally unique college kid that go to the best college in London (UCL). They had this awesome house and they just loved us. We all just clicked. They party like crazy, too. Every night they go out. So they ended up giving us a key to the place so we could go in and change whenever we wanted. It was wild because like in New York, first off you're never finding a full on house owned by five college students, and second off no one is offering their house to you because in New York people are mean and don't really care about you. We made Hannah's two couches feel just like home. Clothes everywhere. The things we bought scattered on the floor.
When Hannah's grandmother came home we packed up and left, I think it was Wednesday at that point. I thought "hm, let's call them and see what they're doing". So I called The Neighbors and they offered us two blow up air beds for the rest of the week.
Each night we went clubbing. We got Brandon into every club possible, tossing different ID's at the bouncers and sliding them five pounds under the ID. We went out all night, slept a bit, woke up, took photos saw London, and repeated. But most importantly, we became best friends with The Neighbors. All five of them. That was our home base. So that week we didn't spend any money on hotels or any of that, we just made friends as we went along. We learned that we loved London, and we figured that London was nice enough to love us back. It's an entire different world over there. The people are different. The atmosphere is different. People move fast, but they care what you're up to. It's not New York. Not one bit. And I love it for that. Below are some photos I found from The Neighbors place the nights we stayed there. Everynight was its' own party. They didn't seem to do much schoolwork, but to me that didn't quite matter. The one in the middle is Sutwo (wearing a photo of himself on his shirt) he's from East London somewhere. He's the one who was the most in us and gave us everything we needed to feel at home.
Part of me wanted to drop out of school in Chicago and just go to school over there because it's just such a better atmosphere than America. I knew that I wanted to come back before the end of the year before The Neighbors moved out.
And at the end of our crazy week in December, we had made new friends that I'll never forget. We shot this photo right outside The Neighbors'. A week i'll never forget.
Back to spring break-ing.....
Did I sleep at all during the night flight, no.
Did I know it was going to catch up to me later in the day, aaaaabsolutely.
"This is your captain speaking. Welcome to London"
Big big stretch. Grab my bag. Walk off the plane. Go to baggaige, grab my suitcase.
I sent a text to the people who made the chains
'I'm in London".
I sent a text to Ryan Hall saying "Just landed"
I put in my headphones, looked up for where the arrow pointed towards "TRAINS"
Aaaaaand the journey begins.
So I get off the plane at Heathrow Airport, and I get my one week Oyster card.
Their subway system is called The Tube.
No where in the world is better and more efficient than The Tube. If you've been there, you know what I'm talking about.
Chicago public transportation is fast, but not Tube fast.
New York subway is gross and smells bad and is full of beggars and disgusting people and no kids really use it.
LA doesn't have a transportation system because the place is TOO DAMN BIG
And Boston's public transportation subway system is useless because Boston is Too Damn Small.
But The Tube is perfect. It's cushioned, well lit, incredibly fast, and so efficient.
So when I got to London, I spent $42 for the unlimited one week card.
So at this point it cost $419 for flight, $42 for transportation for the week. The tube is so good and so efficient that you don't even need to uber when you're in London.
Another interlude about life. There's this kid Ryan . We met Ryan in January 2016 when we were 17. Ryan goes to school in New York. We became really close with Ryan and we stayed with him one night before the Yeezy show last year. Ryan is just known as the most intelligent finesser ever. I don't even know how to elaborate on that. He just finesses everything. Big party, Ryan is on the VIP list. How? No One Ever Knows. He just is. He's just Ryan Hall. But anyways, he's studying abroad in London.
So for the first night I was going to stay at Ryan's place. It was Saturday and Sofia was flying in on Monday so I knew I just needed to find places to sleep till then, then last resort I had Sofia's place.
I got onto the Tube and took it towards Central London. I didn't sleep on the plane so I was dozing off every few minutes at this point. Ryan wasn't picking up the phone, it was like 10am or something.
I posted on my snapchat that I had gotten there and Harriet messaged me
"What are your plans for the day?".
"Uhhhh.... I'm meeting Ryan Hall but he's asleep right now then I need to meet someone to pick some chains up, what about you guys?"
-"Come to Rhys' place and drop your stuff here!" she said.
Rhys and Harriet are dating. They were back in December too. They met after she got back from New York last year I guess. Rhys was one of the few who really wanted us to have the best week when we came over winter. He's just one of those genuine people you come across every once in a great while in life. Harriet, too. Two amazing people.
Rhys is really really cool. He's got this really cool bowl cut haircut that looks so unique and he's Yung Lean's England Stylist. Do you know how much I love Yung Lean?
I asked him one time if he goes somewhere to get his bowl cut because I really thought he just did it himself but i felt terribly bad because he seemed upset when he replied that he has a special barber do it for him. Maybe a lesson is don't ask people if they cut their own hair.
So I went there. Had to switch trains a few times and ended up in East London at the University of Arts London. UAL.
I got off the tube and there they were, standing there waiting for me.
"Hello good to see you!" they say as we all hug.
I brought my stuff to Rhys' and dropped it off in his dorm room. All the dorms there are single so like it's one bed in one small room with a bathroom connected into it. Much smaller than my dorm room but really nice and a much nicer bed than mine.
We went right to central to go to soho.
I knew my way around at this point, so we just walked towards Supreme and saw a few kids we knew and chatted with them for a bit.
"I need to go meet up with a friend" I told them. "I'll be back in like an hour".
So I went to an address I was sent, and I met the people who designed the OHKAY chains.
I pull up to the address in North London, knock on the door and this man opens up.
I'm invited inside and he brings me into the big room where they do a lot of manufacturing
"You're a crazy dude. You don't accept paychecks I head. You stay up all night long, too. When you text me at 8am, it's really your 4am. What are you doing, studying? Or just making more CAD designs to keep me busy. And you'd rather come hangout with us than have us ship you these new chains. Is that how you Americans all are" the guy W said to me as he opened the door to their lab-type studio.
"Put these on" he said as he threw me two blue gloves.
"So here's the molds we made you"
I held these two blocks in my hand. In the middle was the cut out for the OHKAY logo.
Ok so the place was kind of like the lab that Walt gets in the 2nd to last season of Breaking Bad when he's working for the Los Pollos Hermanos guy. But it wasn't underground or anything. And they just made jewelry, not drugs. But it was all white and there were tubes and molds and material all over the place and people working at the computer on CAD designs and there was this machine that laser etched stuff.
I think this was one of the more proud moments I've had. I had flown to London late one night to see exactly how my new designs were coming to life. Most kids out there just have stuff done overseas and sent to them, but I wanted it to be more genuine than that. I wanted to see the type of people we were paying to make this stuff. I wanted to see where it's made. I wanted it to be real. So there I was. Tired. Overseas. With a big backpack on and 300 pounds in my wallet.
He brought me to his desk where he opened up a box for me.
"Here they are, Mr OHKAY Chris" says W.
I call him W because when I first reached out to him he said to me
"How did you get my contact info and how can I help you? I'm W and I make jewelry from scratch."
He hands me a box of 30 necklaces.
"Have fun. Give them to your friends, your parents, whoever. Let me know when you need more of them."
I shook his hand right after I put the silver one around my neck. "Thank you man, seriously".
Truthfully, that was the main purpose for the trip. I had my necklaces, I had my pendants, OHKAY truly was no longer just some tee shirt brand, and I was set. Part of me wanted to be like ok now I can go back to America and sleep for a week, but that simply wasn't in the plansbook.
I met back with my friends with a box of chains in my bag.
The tiredness was hitting me at this point so I needed to go back and nap.
The three of us headed back and took power naps real fast. We had plans for 11pm
We got up and went towards central to this old English Pub to meet Lloyd . Back in December Lloyd was one of my best friends when we were there. Every day I hungout with him. He has a new girlfriend now so the 5 of us went out and got drinks.
We drank lots of beer and talked about life. We caught up on what we've missed in the past few months and our crazy plans for summer.
It's crazy because to me, these are my real friends. Back home or at school I have a lot of friends who are just temporary. We all do. The people you like in the moment but the people who you won't check in on in a few years. I don't have too too many real friends, but a lot of them are over in London. So my time over there is the best time I could possibly have.
Ended up just drinking until the pub closed around 3am then went back to UAL with Rhys and Harriet. I crashed on the couches in his common room.
I had to wake up at 11 to meet Ben.
I got coffee with Rhys and Harriet. Rhys had the week off from uni as well. Over there, college is called (Uni)versity. Odd, but it's how it is. So Rhys told me that he was going to stay at Harriet's moms' house in the countryside for a few days.
"We'd rather you stay at my place and have a legit place to stay rather than staying on someone's floor, so you can have my place for the week" Rhys said to me as he handed me the keys.
"You sure?" I asked. I felt like this was a crazy moment because like wow Rhys trusts me with just about everything of his at this point.
"We'll be back later in the week" they told me. "The place is all yours".
At this point I was like wow the internet is the best thing to ever happen to me. I go over to a different country and there's people genuinely nice enough to give me their room for the entire week.
So that took so much stress off my shoulders. I now had my own home base. With a bed to stay in. And a really nice shower.
So I got on the tube and I went to go meet up with Ben.
Ben is another one of those real friend people.
We met Ben back in December, too. Ben had just got a new camera and he had just started shooting for The Basement. He came to the Air BNB and I remember Brandon and I taught him how to use Lighroom.
Over the past few months Ben has done so much stuff. He ended up leaving The Basement and taking a job with Hypebeast. So every week when you see those articles like "Look What Happened At the Supreme + Lacoste Drop Today" by Hypebeast, Ben is the one who shoots all of those. He covers every drop. And that's what I like about London, too. It's the new scene. Back in the day in New York, Supreme was crazy hype. Kids used to camp out for 2-3 nights just to get the box logo hoodies. It was the culture. People would line up down lafayette street in Soho New York for shirts. I used to do it, too. I used to go down there and wait for 5 hours just to get a windbreaker or whatever I wanted. But over time it stopped in New York. People started fighting and there was a stabbing and people were getting jumped and the streets were flooded with people just going in to buy the pieces to sell outside. So they stopped letting people camp and there's a sign-up system. There's no such thing as "Look what happened at Supreme New York today" because Supreme is dead in New York. But in London, the culture is so alive. And it's cool because all these people, all my friends, they're either creating or capturing the culture. Like Leo will wear something, Ben will shoot it, and every magazine publication will write about that single post for the next few hours. And they play their cards right, too. This is the new youth culture. Leo and all of them are the future of young fashion. And it's so cool to watch. When we first met Ben he had like 3,000 followers. Leo had like 40,000 or something like that. Now Ben works for Hypebeast and yesterday Ian Connor and Rocky took Leo out for dinner. It's crazy how fast things progress because of the internet and it's so cool to see the platform we've all created grow so large. I guess my favorite part of the internet is being at the fore front of it because I'm so affiliated with all these "fashion kids" and our tier and our overall giant internet friend group really is the next generation of kids who are going to create what is cool and make the wave for the next ones after us. And it all starts with long overnight flight, hard-to-get clothes, and figuring out how to capture the essence of the mood all in a 1x1 photo that you then blast out to the world. It's a crazy thing, but the internet is sensational.
So Ben and I hungout and shot some photos for some Hypebeast thing we were both working on. Ben shot some photos of the chains with me and we talked about what we've both been up to over the past few months. We walked around Soho like the good days. We finally met up with Ryan Hall. Turns out that Ryan met Ben the week before at a party. Ryan used to work for Complex so he does editorials and styles different shoots. The two of them were working on a shoot for Playboy, so they invited me on board. We made some mood boards and thought about ways to bring this new Playboy tee shirt line to the streets of London. Hannah came and met us for dinner. We ended up getting noodles for dinner and ate outside of some cafe. Drake had just released New Life so that was all we were listening to, on repeat.
Ben is really good friends with this fruit vendor guy named Lance. He's the one that Hypebeast wanted to interview. That's what we did for the majority of the day after shooting photos for the chains and shoes and stuff. I shot this candid of the crazy man.
The interview we did that day for HYPEBEAST can be found HERE
A little secret on the world of blogging. There's two types of blogging, and i'll go in depth in another article, but there's free blogs and there's ad-filled blogs. You read these blogs and there's no ads on the sides and I'm not promoting stuff and 1 million people could read this, and I'd get no money for it. Brands like HYPEBEAST, COMPLEX, and Highsnobiety, are companies who make their money off clicks. When you click a link, you see ads. Companies pay to put those ads there. So what do these magazine companies do? They make click-bait blogs, like this Lance one, or like the "Look What Leo Is Wearing Right Now " and hundreds of others that get you to click on it so they get money for it. It's really stupid and lame, but they pay kids like us to make the content for them, so they can make money off that. Yeah, 5,000-8,000 people will read this blog exactly how you're reading it, but I don't want ads all up and down the side of it. I just hope that you guys buy cool things we make and sell on this site in response. You feel me? Just some insight on the clickbait industry. .
As the daytime came to an end and the night came, Ryan went off to go do school work. Ben had to catch a bus back to where he lives, so I was about to be stranded all alone.
I messaged Stella and I was like hey i'm in london what are you doing tonight
We exchange phone numbers and an hour later I meet her in Central.
"We can go so some Spoon if you want"
-"what in the world is a Spoon I'm so american i dont understand any of this"
Basically, a Spoon is a chain of bars owned by some company Witherspoons, and they just are known for having cheap alcohol.
It's so weird because overthere you can be 18 and go to any bar or club or anything. Which, in my eyes, makes the culture more mature because if you get that responsibility at 18, you learn not to abuse it. Where as here we get Fake IDs and people get arrested for drinking and partying and it's all stupid immature shit like the system here is wrong for doing that because their crime rate is much lower and they have a lot less lives getting ruined by the law for something stupid like 'oh they were 18 and at a party where there was drinking'.
So we went and I guess it was kind of like a... date, almost. I don't know. It was fun.
There was a lot of
"What is your favorite ______" and
"Oh, I know them, too!" between Stella and I.
She has this cute english accent
like sometimes it's hard to understand her. Then again, sometimes I can't understand anyone. They have their own slang and their own talk and it's hard to pick up on sometimes. But it was just fascinating listening to her talk. We both talk english but we talk such different sounding languages.
We drank cup after cup. We talked about films we love, and politics and music and the internet and everything it does for people and how we're nothing but products of it.
We rolled our own cigarettes and took occasional breaks to step outside and smoke.
We laughed a lot. It was like a blind date. Like a "wow I don't know who you are but you're pretty online want to hangout all night and share stories about growing up and the places we've been and the wishes we have for life". That type of shit.
I was sitting there at one point just thinking to myself
how the hell did i get here and how do i get myself into these situations
but that's half the fun
that's the stuff that a lot of kids are never going to experience
so i know to make the most out of every bit of it.a
At 1 the bar closed and we had our last smoke outside. It was warm out so we walked to the nearest train station.
We sang the song Come On Eileen as we danced down the streets of London late Monday night.
We held hands and spun around.
There wasn't a worry in the world.
It was so weird. We were endlessly smiling. For the first time in so long, i was so happy.
Nothing to care about, no worries, just pure happiness.
I had a place to stay, i had this new really cool friend, it was warm out, i had a bunch of money in my back pocket, new chains back at my homebase, and the music was playing loud.
We must have walked for something like fifteen minutes and I started recognizing the place
"Stella are we near Kings Crossing!?!!??!" I asked her
"Yeah that's where we're going!" she replied.
I grab my phone and text one of The Neighbors
"I'm On MY WAY OVER"
We walked a few blocks past the station and towards the neighbors' house.
I look up and outside of the store at the end of the street is one of my neighbor friends.
I laugh a bit as we make eye contact, his jaw dropped.
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE AND HOW'D YOU END UP HERE" he says as he hugs me.
"Man, it's a long story" i say, chuckling.
"Are the guys at the house" I ask him
"Yeah everyone's there, we just got back from a pub. I'll be back there soon. Here's the keys go say hi". He gave me his keys and Stella and I head back down the street.
I open the door and walk in. Even though it's only been like 3 months since December, it feels like I walked in just like good old times.
"HOLY SHIT IT'S OHKAYCHRIS" they all start yelling as stella and I walk into the kitchen.
A lot of "what are you doing here" and "how have you been" go around and we all catch up.
Stella turns to me and shes like "how the hell...." and i was just like "don't worry about it, i'll tell you later".
We chill for an hour or so then her and I uber back to Rhys' place.
We smoke some more and listen to the new Drake Album.
Little do you know, the Drake album has SO much London reference on it.
It's a big album full of songs that wanted to be grime but didn't make the cut.
He gave Skepta his own Interlude, featured Giggz, named a song Blem, everything is just english influenced.
The next day was calm. Slept a bit and woke up mid-day. My friend Addy from Massachusetts was also in London. Well, she was out and about in Paris but she came back to London for a few nights. Her and I hungout during the day and got lunch and walked around and shot some photos. She was staying in some hostel so I went and checked in with her. We walked around central london and went by the london eye. She told me about her vast Paris adventures. We got dinner in Soho then headed back to the hostel to hangout for a bit. It was a unique atmosphere because there were so many people from all over the world just staying there because it was $10 a night for a bed and somewhere to put your stuff. So if you're in need of a place to stay for a week you can legit live there for $70. The cheap-travel way.
Ryan Hall told us about this club XOYO, saying it'd be lit because it was uni night so all the college kids go.
We thought "why not?".
So we invited Stella, we got dressed up, and we met in South London near Shorditch.
We got off the train and I was on the escalator and the kids going up it had some 424 hat on.
And if you don't know, 424 is a brand in LA and when I go to LA the 424 dudes are my homies like I always go chill there and hangout with them so I complimented the kid on his hat and we started talking about clothes for a bit.
He told me that his friends were the ones who run the club and he's like "do you guys want to come in with us?" but we denied because we wanted to get a bottle and drink on the street before going in.
When you go to clubs, the best thing to do (if you plan to drink) is to drink a lot before, because once you're in, it's like $6 per drink and you need to drink a bunch to get drunk so to save money just drink a lot before and don't get scammed by the price of the bar.
So we drank before then we went in. It was this giant 2 story club. The first floor was playing American rap and the bottom floor was all house.
We got a few drinks at the bar and danced around. I was standing on some table dancing to the new Drake album and the 424 hat kid came up to me and was like
"Yo grab the cool girls and come with me"
part of me was like hmmmm this could end bad but the other part of me is like wooohoo i love london i trust everyone here!!!!!
so we went
and he brought us behind the DJ booth and into this back door
and down some stairs
and he opens the door and he's like
"American friends, welcome to the real party"
And we were in this room one flight below the DJ booth
with leather couches all around the perimeter of the room
and tables in the middle, full of giant expensive bottles of alcohol
"We run XOYO! What is ours, is yours! Enjoy!" he said as he lit up a cigarette
There were probably 40 people in the room all drinking and dancing and talking
"When Drake and everyone comes to town, we bring him to the club, they perform, then they come hangout with us down here. Drake's not in town but you cool American fashion kids are just as fun. Let's drink!" he says.
I laughed, then we drank. And drank. And Drank. aaaaand drank.
Next thing you know, it's 2am and I'm in the DJ booth picking out songs to play.
"How do you know how to DJ" 424 hat screams in my ear.
I yell back "I DON'T, I'M JUST AMERICAN AND YOU GUYS LOVE AMERICAN RAP"
"You know how to get the people dancing?" he asked me.
I lean over and load Bad And Boujee onto the next deck.
"READY?" I yell at him.
I move the DJ deck thing over to the right deck and the song starts.
I wish I was kidding when i say this, but 400 London kids start SCREAMING the words to the intro. 424 Hats hits a button and the fog machine goes off and the beat drops
The vibes were right, i guess. They love that shit!
Club closed at 3 and we headed back to Rhys.
Slept for the majority of the day, woke up, had another London day.
Sofia flew in around 4pm so I wanted to see her.
Her and I had dinner and caught up. We're friends from New York but we only see eachother in London. It's hard to catch her because she's all over the place all the time.
We were looking for something to do and Ryan Hall invited us out to this place called Paper. I guess Paper is like the nicest club in London.
He said he had some promoter or something, so that means free drinks all night.
We were in.
We met Ryan around 10 and ubered to the club.
We waited for this girl Alex who works for the club. Her job as a promoter is to get cool looking people into the club so that the people who spend $3,000 for a table feel better about themselves. It's a weird system. The club system is whack but all I know is that I don't go out to nice clubs unless I'm going to be with a promoter.
Basically, every hour on the dot, the club would bring over the largest possible bottle of Grey Goose for us. Each hour. What we do with it is up to us. It was all free. No questions asked. We were treated like kings. All the rich assholes around us have to pay $1,000 for the same bottle. But they're the rich people trying to get girls to their table and we're the cool kids of the world doing whatever we want whenever we want because we look unique and we bring life to the club.
But at the same time it's one of those times when you need to Code Switch because you do need to act different in a high end club when you're wearing a long sleeve button down than you do when you're at a college party drinking from a keg. You know what I mean? You need to evaluate your situation and then learn to morph your mood, not to replicate that of the others, but you need to be on the same vibe they're on because if you look too-out-of-place in the club you'l throw off the vibe and look weird.
11:30 rolled around and someone jumps on the mic.
"WHO GOT THAT NEW ALBUM MORE LIFE?" this guy says
out of instinct, I want to start screaming at this point. I yell at alex
She shrugs her shoulders and very normally shes like "oh, drake's out back there" and points behind the booth.
Who's back there but Drake. At some table behind the booth with a bunch of random girls just dancing.
The DJ for OVO started playing some stuff off More Life and the place was going crazy. Since it was some high end club no one was taking videos on their phone they were just enjoying the moment. It felt surreal.
A little while went by and I was sitting down and this girl kept staring at me
I'm like why she looking like that
Minutes go by and she walks over and says to me
at this point i'm like
howwwwwwww is this happeninggggggggg
turns out she's some 25 year old girl from Boston and she's a designer for Bodega, some store i'm close with. she told me she had seen me on instagram and stuff.
"Aren't you like sixteen how the hell are you here"
I looked at her and I was like "i'm still asking myself the same thing"
An hour goes by and Drake grabs the mic
He says some wanna-be english things then he performs KMT
I went wild
yo like i love drake everyone makes fun of me for it but his music is so fire
so to see him live in London was wild
then he just danced around for a bit and left
but the night felt like it was going on forever
we just kept going crazy at the table all night.
The club eventually ended and we went outside and guess what
The sun was coming up
It was 6:45am.
I was exhausted, and seeing double at this point, but I had seen drake live in the club and that's all that matters.
Went back to Rhys', fell asleep, woke up at 2pm the next day, and resumed my life.
Wednesday was fun, I went over Sofia's and just took a nap then hungout with her and we walked around her area. Her part of London is something you'd see in the movies, like all the houses just look so English and it's something that you won't get anywhere in America.
At this point I had spent like 100 pounds or so, just on food and drinks and candy and stuff to keep me alive. I had brought 3 of the OHKAY Got Ammo snow camo hoodies that released last weekend. I posted on my instagram story
"ANYONE IN LONDON WANT TO BUY THESE UNRELEASED OHKAY CHAINS OR HOODIES DM ME"
I got like 35 DMs.
Sofia really wanted to go see this band called The Garden because they were playing in London.
I got Stella and I a ticket and Sofia invited her friend Eros. The 4 of us went and Sofia ended up crowd surfing and it was a good time. I don't like The Garden and I wouldn't ever see them again but was it a fun night and did we enjoy ourselves? yes.
We ended the night at some secret cocktail bar that Eros brought us to. We had to knock on the door then he said some password to the bouncer and he let us in. It was some speak-easy type place in Chinatown. The vibes were quiet and dark and Stella and I only stayed for one drink then we walked around for a while then went back to UAL.
It was the absolute prettiest of days. The sun set perfectly over the land and sofia and i ubered through london as the night came and the brisk air took over. The houses reflected the light of the day and the scenery was out of a foreign film. I hope these photos make you as happy as i was.
Thursday was productive. We shot photos for the chains and the new hoodies and the new Converse shoes. Ben and I got lunch and then he had to go because Nike flew him out to Turkey to shoot coverage of their new party. I ended up walking around alone after he left and just watched as the people of the city did their thing. I put my phone in the bottom of my bag and just sat on the steps at Oxford Circus and watched. It's a lot different from the life we live in the states. The way people interact. The way people talk. The way people carry themselves. It's different in a unique way. Maybe it's hard to wrap your head around. Maybe not.
I just watched. For an hour.
It was almost beautiful. I was just a wallflower for a little while.
Once 8pm rolled around, we had reservations at Nobu.
Me, Sofia, her friend Alex from Italy, Dan, Leo, and Maya.
We all ate a 5 star meal, got endless sushi, and talked about life.
Leo told us that when Tyga was in London, Leo would go to Nobu with Tyga for 4 nights straight and only eat chicken fingers. Crazy.
I thought it was funny how we were 5 kids in the nicest resteraunt we could find in London, all wearing silly Supreme shit and converse shoes.
We ate until we couldn't eat anymore then left.
Ryan Hall got me on the list for some Reebok party so I ended up going to that for a bit. It was pretty cool, got to see some designs for new shoes coming out in the future, got to take some photos, got free dinner and beer. Good people and stuff. Once that ended, I got a text from The Neighbors.
They invited me out to some club in East London. Sofia Alex and I realized we had nothing else to do so we went and we danced....... The college way.
The sweaty-club-atmosphere fog-machine-going-off way. It was a fun time.
It was probably 4am when we got back to The Neighbors house and I ended up just spending the night there and crashing on the couch.
The next day I got up at like 11 and I just knew the best bet was going to be to sleep at The Neighbors on my last night.
I took the tube to UAL and grabbed my bags, then went right back to The Neighbors place on the other side of London. Going across London only takes about 25-30 minutes.
During the day I hungout with Fay and this kid Dan who I met on IG. It was real sunny out so we just went to a park and chilled for a bit. I had replied to the DMs about the hoodies and I scheduled to meet up with 3 kids.
I met them all in Soho and sold 3 of the hoodies for 85 pounds and 1 of the chains with the hoodie for an extra 50 pounds.
This dude cracked me up. He been buying all the OHKAY stuff from Spain for like six months now but he happened to be in London too so he was wildin' out to grab a hoodie. I sold him the hoodie and his face drop like "omg is that Fay" and she standing over there looking at her instagram on her phone knowing half english like "hi i fayfu" and hes like "chris can i please please get a photo with her" so of course we're like Fay come here this kid loves you.
I went from having like 100 pounds left to having 400 pounds.
It was cool, the power of the internet. These three kids were pumped to get the hoodies, too. I hope they wear them a lot.
That's the cool thing about running the brand. Since OHKAY has been growing and growing for over a year now, kids all over the place are into it. So when I get low on money in a foreign country, I just sell a few hoodies and with double what I came with.
Since it was my last night, I wanted to go out and see people. Stella and I had planned to meet at the Spoons place at 10pm. My phone had died so i had to walk there from memory. Got lost a few times then made it there. We drank for a bit, looking for plans.
Afterwards we tried to go to some clubs in soho but once it's like 11:30 every place hits capacity and you can't get in, no matter who you are. We took L after L.
We ended up going back to Sofia's house
We realized it wasn't really worth going out at that point, we'd rather just hangout and enjoy our last bit of time together.
We chilled all night. I thought it'd make more sense to just stay up all night long.
So we did. And we walked around the neighbordood. And we drank wine from the bottle. And we smoked whatever was left in the tobacco package. And we danced in the street. We watched the early trains pass by Sofia's, en route to central. And we watched the sun rise over the buildings. It all felt right.
The sun was above the houses and it was around 7am.
My time was up and the adventure was coming to an end.
My body was nearly deteriorated because of lack of sleep and my mind needed a re-fuel.
I grabbed the bottle of wine and called an uber.
I said my Farewells to our italian friend Alex, my sincerest goodbye's to my new friend Stella and my See You On The Flip Side to Sofia.
I grabbed my backpack and got in the uber.
We drove alongside the Thames River.
Big Ben passed on our left.
The sun rose on our right.
The driver was young. Probably 25. He had no problem with me drinking wine as we listened to classical music on the morning commute.
A 45 minute ride felt like a ten minute journey. London had passed in the blink of an eye.
The sun was fully up and the people had started their new day.
My mind partially behind, and completely foggy. My body needing sleep. My hair probably needing washing.
I got to The Neighbors house by 8am. One of them was still awake, he had just returned home from the club.
I just needed to fight the tiredness for two more hours. Then I'd be at the airport ready to get on my plane.
We sat and talked about my week. We talked about University College London. We talked about America. We talked about what we want to do when we get older and how we want to be young forever.
The sun only rose higher and the people continued their day.
My bag was packed and my new chain was on my neck.
I wrote a letter to the neighbors. It read something like this.
I want you guys to know how much I truly do appreciate you guys, from the bottom of my heart. For some reason, you guys have taken me in and let me use your place as if it's my own. The stories you guys tell, and the memories we've all had. Irreplaceable. All 5 of you guys will always have a special place in my heart. And this house, too. I'll never forget this place. I don't know when I'll be back, but hopefully soon enough. There's a gold chain on the kitchen table. Hang it up somewhere. Remember my mark. Because I'll always remember how awesome you guys were to me, to Brandon, and to my crazy story of life. Talk Soon. Good Luck In School.
And that was it. I left the house, locked it behind me, got on the train, and took it to the airport. I needed to ask the girl sitting across from me to wake me up when we got there.
My eyes opened as the tube doors did. I was at Heathrow. Tired and feeling partially sick from being so run down. But happy on the inside.
I knew the day would suck. Traveling always kind of sucks.
But I got on my plane
No one sat in my 5 row. I don't know why. But I wasn't asking questions.
I put the arm rests up, sprawled out across 5 seats, shut my eyes, and slept.
Next thing I know.
"This is your captain speaking. Welcome back to America"
I get off the plane. Grab my bag. Walk outside. Get in the car. Close my eyes, and shut the page of the story of Spring Break.
But I came back to America, took a nap, and went to the bank to exchange my money.
I go to this one bank teller at the bank near my house. His name is Matt. He's been the dude I've gone to since I was like 15 years old. I used to go there and take out $100 to go buy shoes, flip them the day later, and bring him back $200. He's my guy.
"Chris, glad you're alive still" he says to me as I go up to the desk looking like I hadn't had a real night sleep in about two or so years.
"Matt, it's been a long week man"
He looks at me and he laughs. I open my bag and grab a hand full of foreign cash and hand it to him.
"How in the world did you come back to America with double the amount of money that you left with" he says as he counts the crumpled up english Notes.
we both crack up at this point. I do one of those shoulder shrugs looking like I don't even have the energy to begin telling the story.
"You amaze me, my friend! You certainly don't spring break like the rest of 'em!" he says as he punches numbers into the computer, pulling my account up.
I sigh a bit, solely out of exhaustion. I said nearly the only logical think I could come up with
is one wild place".
"Safe flight back to school. See you over summertime. Good luck with the clothes and all of that" he concludes. I crack a smile. "You got it" I say as I walk out the door.
so I guess all of this, is all of that. Everyone's always like "what do you do" and I never have a solid answer because like yeah I run a cool website and I write about life and I design clothes and ship 30 things a week out of my dorm room, but at the same time i'd just a kid with a small camera, an iphone, and a good understanding of the world. All of this can't really be summed up. And most of the time people don't understand all of this. So when people do ask what I do for a living or something along those lines, I just hit them with the
i do clothes and all of that