Beyond the hype // Joshua Kissi

June 2008

It's all about what you have on, and New Yorkers love to show off.

Joshua Kissi is a 19 year old student from New York City.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your city.

My name is Joshua Kissi but most people call me JKISSI. The majority of people I meet think “Kissi, what kind of last name is that?” So yes, my parents are from Africa -- Ghana to be exact. At the moment I’m in school; just finished my freshman year of college and I'm pursuing a career in the medical field. My upbringing and scene are dissimilar to most people on LB—more urban, street, inner city or however you want identify it—but it definitely shapes my style. I am from The Bronx, one of the boroughs [of New York City] which doesn't have a great reputation inside and outside of NYC, and it has influenced me greatly. Not only did hip hop music originate here, but also the culture of sneaker collecting, and that has had an immense impact on my life. I’ve really grown from being fascinated by just sneakers to liking all different kinds of shoes and fashion.

New York City is definitely one of the fashion capitals of the world. The diversity is what really makes NYC NYC. You could find hipsters in soho walking around in skinny jeans, a wealthy woman with her Louis Vuitton purse pushing her children around in an expensive carriage in the Tribeca area, and a young fellow draped in Coach, True Religion and Prada all in the same borough. Everywhere you go in New York City it seems like a never-ending catwalk. It’s all about what you have on, and New Yorkers love to show off. It doesn’t make a difference if we are in New York or another state, we will make it known that we are from New York City. I’ve traveled to various cities across the U.S, but none of them compared to New York City...that's a fact.

You started a new blog recently. Can you explain the concept behind it?

Street Etiquette, which me and Travy G. came up with, is fashion with an urban swag. It's our own little twist on what others would perceive as the “high life” or “high fashion,” and it's about going out of the box to bring together cultures that are entirely different. Street Etiquette is our lives, our code of conduct, so when we decided to start a blog it was quite easy coming up with a name. The blog is basically an exhibition of our unique lives in NYC, mixed with fashion, art and music.

Describe your personal style.

I'd say my personal style is very versatile. The styles I really love are different and all across the board. What I do is try to take bits and pieces of what I like and incorporate them into my outfit somehow. I feel having your own identity is key in fashion; having a look that other people could recognize as your own. Of course very few people truly originate their entire look, but it's nice to throw something in your outfit that gives people a sense of originality.

Also, this may sound like a very cliché answer, but I really dress myself depending on how I’m feeling that day and where I’m going. If I wake up in the morning and im feeling real lazy and whatever I would most likely just put on some jeans, sneakers and a white v-neck. On the other hand if I'm feeling uppity I'd probably put on more accessories and stuff like that.

Favorite designers and places to shop?

My favorite designers range from Marc Jacobs to my fellow Bronxite Ralph Lauren, whose timeless designs always stay relevant to me. No surprise that I'm a fan of luxury brands such as Dior Homme, Gucci, Prada and Versace. They are a little bit out of my price range since I’m still in school with a part-time job, but those brands are always superb.

My favorite store to shop in (as a lot of you probably already know) is Uniqlo. Not only are the clothes of good quality, but they also carry a lot of fashion staples for reasonable prices. A college student like me would definitely take full advantage of a store like this.

What's the first thing you look at in someone else's outfit?

The first thing I look at in another person’s outfit is what's on their feet (I'm still a born sneakerhead). I will also look to see if they’re comfortable in their clothing because a lot of people I see lack that. Various people wear their clothing for other reasons and look uncomfortable, but to me your clothing should be like your skin.

Favorite colors of the moment:

My favorite colors right now seem to be black, white, and gray. These are subtle colors but you could mix it up with any one of them in abundance and still look different everyday. I'd also add a vibrant accessory to the mix such as red or royal blue to finish off the outfit.

What's your favorite item of clothing?

My APC New Cure jeans. I’m still trying to fade them out and it’s been 8 months in. When I’m done with these, there will be a great debate over my next pair of raw denim jeans.

Next must-have purchase?

A pair of Common Projects Achilles Black Hi Tops.

I just fell in love with these—the buttery suede and leather combination looks beautiful and black is one of my favorite colors. I'm also really a fan of hi-top sneakers in general.

What do you think is the latest trend to appear/reappear?

I’m not an expert in ladies fashion, but I think it's floral print dresses, shoes and other accessories. I’ve been seeing this a lot when I go to Manhattan and I think nothing goes with the summertime like some floral prints.

For men, I think boat shoes are making a great comeback this summer. Even Vans jumped on the bandwagon with their own version.

Favorite fashion magazines?

The regulars like GQ and Complex, and definitely online mags like SELECTISM, Hypebeast and

What about your favorite music and movies?

Oh man when it comes to music I listen to a bit of everything since I'm a musician myself (drums, bass, guitar, piano).

Rap: AZ, Nas, Jay-Z, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique, Ransom, 2pac, Biggie, Outkast, Kanye West, Planet Asia, Royce da 5'9, The Roots, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

Reggae: Bob Marley, Buju Banton, Peter Tosh, Beenie Man, Gyptian, Jahcure, Sizzla, Bounty Killa, Barrington Levy

Rock: U2, Coldplay, Papa Roach, Velvet Revolver, Jimi Hendrix, Audioslave, Red Hot Chili Peppers

R&B: Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, The Isley Brothers, James Brown, O'Jays, Temptations, Michael Jackson, Jodeci, Dru Hill, Maxwell, D'Angelo, Tyrese, R.Kelly, Sade, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys...I could keep going for days.

For movies that stay in rotation—Coming to America, New Jack City, Paid in Full, Scarface, Malcolm X, Boyz N The Hood, Training Day, Juice, The Matrix (1-3), Menace 2 Society, and The Wood.

Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?

I admire the styles of Miles Davis, Sidney Portier, Jimi Hendrix, RUN DMC, Will Smith, Kanye West, Basquiat, Malcolm X, Sean Connery, Warren Beatty, Heidi Slimane, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Yves Saint-Laurent. Should I continue?

In all seriousness, I also just admire the style of the regular people I see walking the streets of NYC. Can’t neglect that.

What is your personal favorite outfit on LB by you, and by another member?

My personal favorite outfit by myself is Jean Jacket Steeze (pictured above). I wore a jean jacket which is a classic staple but very risky because if you wear it with jeans that are the same shade, it can be a tragic failure. To top it off I threw on some khakis but at first I couldn't find a pair that went with the slim proportions. When I finally got some for a good price at Uniqlo, I was happy because you could wear khakis for a formal look or just for hanging out.

For females, the person I admire the most is Lina L. in Girly. That girl just has steeze and in whatever she wears, she seems comfortable. For males, I would have to go with my friend Alex W. in Graduation. Everything went together perfectly in that outfit.

What would you say to someone seeking general fashion advice?

Be “you.” Try a lot of different looks because style is a process of evolution. We didn’t walk out of the house today dressing like we did from day one; you have to grow and learn.


show previous comments

Zoë Harvey
cool interview, but I disagree with you about the whole I've never seen a better city than nyc. but everything else, you're very descriptive.
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Coco Nut.
dude my dad's from Ghana! yay!
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Elena .
This was a great read considering I live in NYC, as well. It was fun to read about things I've noticed, as well. :D
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Leauxren Jade St.Clair
Meh Luveyy.. Im deff feelin dis n I kan honestly relate.. [NYC Mamii]
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Really want to thank all you guys :D
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Oskar V.
more interviews!!! from other countries please!!
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Ish Kargbo
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Tina Ong
I like Uniqlo too.
You have great taste. I loveitttt
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Greens & Beans
definitely feeling this
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Chukwuma A.
West african what up!
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Kieran R
I wish LB interviewed more guys!
Joshua is the only one to date :(
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Kevin Watts
Swagger at a zillion homie.
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Abigail Dawes
I think this is my favourite interveiw
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Gabby Batista
your sneakers = LOVE.
and god, we are like music twins, it's scary. :)
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Nat Z
such a nice guy
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Ashley J
definitely the best interview! so real. love your style too.
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Eugene Liu
I enjoyed reading this interview, you got style. Uniqlo is definitely my favorite store at the moment as well.
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Aiiness .com
wahaaaooow ! you are such a super nice fashionista!
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Jen J
Nice to see someone here I can relate to
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