Launched in early 2017, PAQ has helped the Kyra TV YouTube channel – where the series is hosted – amass over 86,000 subscribers, while the show’s Instagram account has racked up 42,000 followers. Created by Danny Lomas, Dexter Black, Shaquille Keith, and Elias Riadi – a group of friends who are all 21 and under – it appeals to style-conscious youths through its outlandish challenge-led episodes that air every seven to ten days. “People who love cars have shows like Top Gear, people who love football have shows like Match Of The Day,” says Lomas, “but there’s nothing out there right now for the millions of young people who are mad about streetwear and its surrounding culture.”
As a London-based collective of fashion-loving friends, PAQ’s hosts represent the creative, DIY spirit of Gen Z. Each presenter has their own distinctive sense of style, and the series highlights that having an interest in fashion is as much about playfulness and creativity as it is about knowing the right brands and having the biggest clothing collection. By injecting humour into casual conversations about their favourite looks, PAQ challenges the status quo of pretension and exclusivity. “It was refreshing seeing the crew go after unique style competitions to prove the point that streetwear is not a thing of wearing different brands but it’s the creativity you put into your outfit,” writes Greg Harris, founder of online lifestyle publication Modern Life.
The relatable hosts of PAQ (comprising an art student, a skater, and an aspiring musician) and the DIY aspect of the project have been key in drawing the attention of Gen Z. They aren’t wealthy onlookers of fashion who are buying into it for the kudos, they’re regular people who just happen to be menswear fanatics. The unfiltered enthusiasm that goes into each task they’re given also lends an air of authenticity, which younger generations crave. “The world of streetwear and men’s fashion can be so serious sometimes,” says Sam Olanipekun, digital producer of PAQ, who adds that the show is an antidote to that. This attitude is shared by Harris, who writes: “Seeing material such as this, it makes it fun to shop, it makes it fun to do ridiculous things with clothes, it makes it fun to surpass the limits.“
“Streetwear – understood as a cultural phenomenon and not a trend – is certainly destined to last,” says Antonio Cristaudo, marketing development manager for Pitti Immagine. PAQ is representative of how people actively want to be involved with the streetwear subculture – a rejection of the pretentious one-upmanship that’s usually associated with high fashion. The fact that its content isn’t dictated by fashion houses, but rather by what people are talking about within both the online and offline streetwear community, helps to solidify it as an ‘authentic’ movement and tight community.