Kojey Radical has performed to filled-up festival crowds, sold out gig venues and captivated the ears and eyes of music fans with his energetic brand of alternative hip-hop and charismatic personality-filled performances. For the British-Ghanaian rapper, music is a way for him to reflect on life, with his songs discussing everything from identity to religion.
Outside of music, he is known for his eye for style, regularly spotted donning an eclectic mix of high-end designer and cult-loved streetwear, which contributes to his sense of personal sense of identity.
This style has struck a chord with the fashion set, leading to recognition from the broader fashion industry. After presenting an award at last year’s Fashion Awards, he has been invited back to host this year’s ceremony alongside Maya Jama. We caught up with Kojey ahead of the big night to talk style, André 3000 and getting wham in the gym.
How did you get the role of host for this year’s Fashion Awards?
I have no idea, honestly. I am just as surprised as everyone else. I gave out an award last year to Burberry, and apparently, once I got on stage, they made their decision in their head that I would be hosting the next year’s one. I’m excited to be doing it for sure.
How does it feel to be tonight’s host?
We’ll find out, I’ve never hosted anything. You’ve got to ask me afterwards.
How have you been preparing for tonight?
Yeah, a haircut. I’ve brought my PlayStation to the hotel. If I make something bigger than it is in my head, then nerves take over. So I’m like “business as usual” until it’s time to [get up] and go.
Is there one award you are especially looking forward to presenting?
No one in particular, I think it’ll be the whole thing in general. It’s going to be super dope to see all of my peers dressed up, looking all sharp and suited and booted. It’s a very rare moment to experience this kind of thing. The fact that it’s coming towards the end of the year is nice. It’s almost like a fashionable Christmas party that you don’t mind going to.
On Instagram, when you announced you would be hosting the awards, you said, “Fashion has always been a very important part of who I am.” What does fashion mean to you, and what is your first fashion memory?
Fashion is identity. It’s not even about putting on loads of designer items. If you can put an outfit together, then you’re the man.
If you go to a fashion house and you look at their mood boards, they’ve got pictures on their mood boards of man just from the market – they roll up their sleeves in a certain type of way, they drop trainers the way they drop them. It’s practical because they need to be on their feet all day. It’s not fashion.
Real life is what inspires fashion for me. I grew up in Hoxton Market, so every day, you would see a million different characters, all with their own sense of style. That’s just what it was for me.
For you, is fashion rooted in practicality?
Fashion is life. Fashion is the same as breathing, eating, everything. Even the way you put your socks on is fashion. Everything is all-encompassed
If you were to receive a Fashion Award, what would it be?
The “Most improved whamness award” because I’ve been in the gym.
What is one piece of clothing or accessory that cannot live without?
My headphones. As long as I can cut the world out and listen to my music, I’m happy. I’m the type of person who [buys] headphones everywhere. I’ve got Bang and Olufsen, Sennheiser. I collect headphones, I like the design of them. Headphones are my thing.
Do you match your headphones to your outfit?
It depends. If I’ve got a hat on, I can’t get my overheads on, then I’ll go for the in-ears. More time, it’s comfort over style.
Who are your biggest fashion inspirations?
Probably my older brother or André 3000. [André 3000] was weird. Sometimes, you can just look at someone and go “I’d wear that,” and I think that’s as simple as it needs to be sometimes, just like “would I actually wear that?”
At the end of the day, to a certain degree, we’re all mannequins when it comes to this fashion thing. You can put on the most elaborate outfit in the world, but you’re not going to the shop in that. You’re not going to Asda in your inflatable latex balloon outfit. It’ll look good on the [red] carpet, but you’re not going anywhere.
Whereas with André 3000 you can look at him and be like, “I’d wear that.” He’s fashionable and practical.
In your opinion, what is the key to great style?
Don’t try too hard.
Your personal style pairs high-end designers with streetwear labels. For example, one of your on-stage looks paired LOEWE Anagram jeans with Jordans and Corteiz boxers. What does it take for a brand to stand out for Kojey Radical?
Forward-thinking design but incorporating real-life practicality. There are certain things that as much as they’re amazing, they’re just going to sit in my wardrobe. They’re not coming out more than once or twice.
The simpler the cut, the more attention you put into form and fit, and the more likely it is you’re going to get my hard-earned GBP.
Are there any pieces you find yourself going to again and again?
I was rinsing those LOEWE jeans for a little bit, but I’ve retired them. I’ve got a BAPE hoodie, a grey one with a camouflage hood with the shark graphic. It will change next week, it could be a cricket vest from Gucci, or a tank top. It depends on the weather that week.
What have been your standout fashion moments this year?
I went to the GRM Gala, and I had this really dope Margiela suit on, and I put it together, and I was gassed. I like it when I piss people off. I had some high-heeled Tabi boots, and people [were like] how come you’re wearing split toe? I like that shit.
Would you rather only wear trainers or shoes?
Trainers all day.
What is your favourite trainer?
Either a Reebok Fury Pump or a New Balance 650
One of the great things about the British Fashion awards is that it brings so many creatives together and helps fund the next generation of talent. How important do you feel collaboration and community is in the fashion industry?
It’s what makes the industry. You know there are Samsung parts in an Apple phone. We all need each other to survive. It goes hand in hand. Even if you go back in time and you look at any one of your favourite designers, they studied under one of your favourite designers. We’ve got to sharpen each other. Collaboration is key.
Is there anything else you want to share?
If I fuck up, delete the footage.
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