Shaq, Dex, Danny and Elias are the four guys making waves with their disruptive YouTube series PAQ. Their platform not only highlights the streetwear scene, but dissects the culture around it with quirky humour, finesse, and a little bit of friendly competition. They linked up with 18montrose for a two-part special to talk style, travelling, individuality and everything in between.
Out of all your videos what would say has been the most fun?
Elias: I always pick the Converse video. They gave us a budget to create an advert for them, we could do whatever we wanted. We ended up blowing the whole budget, we got two classic 80s Ferraris, a private jet, the stuntman from Star Wars, flew Dex over the Ferraris to slam dunk a basketball, ate caviar and drank champagne out of shoes! It was definitely a crazy shoot.
Shaq: The fact that it got plastered all over New York as well is mad!
Shaq: There’s too many for me to pick from. One thing I took away from our adidas episode was that fact I got to drive these giant diggers all day and took a photo with one in the studio. That’s pretty unheard of. But I can’t pick just one episode, I think PAQ as a whole is just mad.
Elias: Going to New York was amazing.
Shaq: Yeh that was mad, that was our first time travelling abroad together. We landed, and then woke up the next day at 6am. The Airbnb we stayed in had bikes and skateboards so we spent all morning skating and cycling around the block and it was like "I can’t believe we’re actually in New York!"
Danny: For me personally, I love the hustle videos when we have to go out and do a challenge. My favourite one of those was the pink shoot because I was on a unicorn. We went to a stable and I was riding a horse wearing a pink suit. That whole day was just funny as hell from start to finish.
Dex: For me, it would have to be the pop-up store. I got a chance to meet our audience, and was a big thing, especially having a chance to ask them questions. People see you behind a camera and get an idea of you, but when they meet you face to face they get another perspective. So having a conversation with them was really an eye-opener.
You’ve had the chance to travel a lot now, with the benefit of perspective, what would you say the streetwear scene is like in Britain? Is there a North/South divide, and on a global scale how do we compare to New York and L.A.?
Danny: In England—I’m from the north—it’s very much whatever you can get your hands on because you don’t have Supreme on every corner. The other side to the streetwear scene up north is the football side, you get a lot of adidas, Stone Island and a lot of casual wear. In America it’s the other way round, people don’t care who’s got the same items. It’s more about the super rare pieces. It’s very much about how much you spend and the labels.
So is it more about fitting in than standing out over there?
Danny: Essentially yeah—I don’t want that to sound rude! It’s essentially like trading cards, you just want the best, it doesn’t matter who else has got it.
Dex: And I got a bit of perspective on the guys where Danny lives. They do wear adidas and stuff like that, but they’ll do it very clean. If Danny was to wear adidas, he does it with a track jacket, some slim fitted trousers and then goes with his loafers. But being a boy from North West London, if you came to my area then you got guys in adidas tracksuit bottoms who are probably in shell toes standing there with a Nokia phone. Just shows that you can wear the same items but just with a different perspective. British streetwear is about individuality, reppin’ where you’re from and just generally standing out.
Has travel opened you up to other avenues in terms of style that you were maybe closed off to before?
Elias: I genuinely think that London style is one of the best styles in the world, I prefer it over a lot of other cities. One thing I will say though is that I take inspiration from anywhere, so travelling is the best way to get inspired. You can take little snippets from all over, a bit of LA, and a bit of NY, a bit of London.
Shaq: When I travel, the biggest thing for me are the cultures. I’ll try and take away cultural elements if I can, patterns, shades or even vibes. Originally I’m from Trinidad, and one thing I did when I came back from visiting there was: wear vests every day, in Trinidad everyone’s wearing vests because it’s so hot. So when I got home I cut all my t-shirts into vests, so I end up doing stuff like that after going places.
You’ve all got very specific tastes and styles, do you find there’s a lot of crossover in what you wear from spending so much time together through PAQ? Do you find that you guys bounce off each other?
Elias: That’s an interesting one because one thing I think we get frustrated with is when people say "you’re wearing black, you’re copying Dexter" or "you’re wearing dungarees you’re copying Shaq". Whatever we wear we interpret it in our own way. There are some points where we might crossover but we definitely have our own four avenues.
Dex: I’ll look at something Shaq, Elias and Danny do and I’ll be like like: "Woah that’s sick". I wear black all the time, but I’ve seen Shaq wear black and I’ve been like, I can get inspiration from that. So even though we stick to ourselves I still feel like in some ways we can inspire each other.
Shaq: There are times where we can definitely influence each other, but sometimes you just want to let someone have their own thing. I always like finding new stuff anyway, I get bored really quickly!
Danny: We take inspiration from each other, but at the same time I’ll sometimes see something and think - that’ll be sick for Dex - take a photo and send it to him. I’m more into staying loyal to brands. I think it’s sick when a brand has a story behind them, or an ethic. I love heritage, reading about fabrics and stuff.
You say you love fabrics, I saw lots of Stone Island in today’s shoot, is there anything you got to wear today that you really liked?
Dex: These Stoney pants are cold. They’re fire. I had these adidas by Raf Simons trainers on, they were cold, the black trench jacket from Ten C—18montrose I low key need some discount—because that was such a sick jacket.
Danny: I love Stone Island because they work with very innovative materials, you got heat reacts, you got like jackets made of steel, the down jackets are fantastic. I love C.P. Company as well. I’ve always wanted one of the C.P. Goggle Jackets, they’ve always fascinated me since I was young.
Elias: I’m a big fan of Stone Island, they really push boundaries when it comes to they way they make clothes and the materials they use. I loved the orange camouflage Stone Island Shadow Project jacket, the way it feels is incredible.
Shaq: I loved the VaporMax, they’re like wearing cushions bruv, it’s crazy. My favourite thing was probably the Nike M2K Tekno’s, the all white ones.
Stay tuned for part two of our PAQ special coming soon and check out new PAQ videos airing every Thursday on their Youtube channel.
Stylist: Lewis Munro
Art Director: Ruby Moon Fox
Photographer: Joshua Meeks-Rayvon