First of all, Ian Connor is a person who cannot be limited to a single occupation or label. The terms “model”, “stylist”, and “creative director” are three words that are often used to describe what Ian Connor does. His unique creativeness has set him apart from the rest of designers within the industry, and has made him an icon in both the music and fashion industries. Standing at 5’5, it’s not his height that makes him the elephant in the room. His presence does not reside in any particular field, nor does it obey the cliché stereotypes associated with fashion. He is the best at what he does, therefor he can do whatever the hell he wants.
It was 2015, and it was New York Fashion Week’s most anticipated event. Kanye West was revealing his Yeezy Season 2 clothing line, and his fleet of disciplined models stood frozen like statues as they debuted Mr. West’s clothing. Unlike the stationary mannequins surrounding him, Ian Connor begins to sway from side to side as he puts a cigarette to his mouth and lights it. He nonchalantly whips out his cell phone, raising the eyebrows of everyone in attendance. The press swallowed the event whole and quickly reported the story as if he had just gotten away with first-degree capital murder.
With that being said, they clearly don’t know who Ian Connor is. Not only was he a model for Kanye, but he is currently a member of Yeezy’s creative team. He has styled for a monopoly of big-named celebrities such as Wiz Khalifa, Kylie Jenner, A$AP Rocky, and as of recent the Migos. He is Rocky’s creative director, he is the manager of Playboi Carti, and he has effortlessly implemented his style into the music industry.
Despite his lucrative connections, his vision speaks for itself. At a young age he promoted his “L3NF” clothing line through social media sites like Tumblr, and it didn’t take long before streetwear brands like Stussy and Bape were requesting him for modeling. The beauty within Ian Connor’s madness is his originality. When a person re-defines the standard of “cool” without even trying, it’s naïve to undermine that person’s influence.
He wore a pair of Sketchers to a dinner with Kanye West, and when asked about it during an interview with Complex Magazine, he said “…..I was thinking about how everything I own is name brand. It’s not supposed to be about that. It’s about style”. Style is not determined by a brand or a price, and creativeness cannot be obtained by swiping a debit card. In other words, his success as a designer is a result of his originality as a visionary. Ian Connor’s work as a creative designer proves that individuality is the definition of the word “cool”.
He can be seen fighting in public, taking selfies with old white men in airport restrooms, or simply just smoking a cig in the middle of the runway. When asked who his icon is, he casually responds with “serial killers”. Unlike typical models he is relatively short, he has several tattoos on his face, and he isn’t afraid to square up when the opportunity arises. Unlike typical fashion designers he can be seen smoking and drinking in the studio with Chiraq MC’s like Fredo Santana. Unlike typical managers he posts videos of himself and his artist slap boxing and sleeping with porn stars. He has stretched the boundaries of nearly every job in the industry, and has shattered all pre-conceived assumptions surrounding the word “typical”.
Far from typical, he’s only in his early 20’s yet he has influenced artists who are twice his age. He has broken all rules and crushed all standards that once coincided with his line of work. In summary: he is an icon in the music and fashion industries, and his impact on today’s culture will dictate our future perceptions of “cool”. He doesn’t feel the need to blend into the crowd, and he doesn’t obey any rules. Why? Because he is the best at what he does. He is Ian Connor.