If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve waited in line for a hot sneaker release. That puts you in the same league as @coryjking–a style enthusiast who gained over 30,000 Instagram followers in the past year–who did the whole campout thing back in the day for the “Galaxy” Foamposite.
Nowadays, though? Things are a little different. A Cleveland native who has spent time living in Arizona, Florida, and Georgia, King has built an Instagram following that currently clocks in at 33,000-plus thanks to a mix of rare sneakers, functional style, and a general aesthetic that gives off a feel of authenticity rarely seen on style-heavy social media.
“People ask me, ‘How are you doing it?'” King says of his success. “Honestly, I have no idea. My account is pretty point of view. I don’t post many pictures of myself, I post what’s in front of me and what I see. People like it, and I’m really humbled by that.”
Perhaps most important to this casual vibe is King’s most hard and fast rule: no paid posting, ever.
“I don’t want to follow a page shouting a bunch of random stuff out because they get it for free,” he says, “so I don’t think my followers would either.”
While his reasoning and commitment to originality seems obvious, it’s a concept that many influencers have moved away from in the last couple years as people have realized they can actual take their social media presence and monetize it. Instead, King has used his style and 500-plus pair sneaker collection to build his following with his footwear photos, especially, hitting the right note between everyday functionality and diehard sneakerhead wish fulfillment. And while 2015 was a huge year for sneaker releases in general, for King there really was only one that mattered.
“To quote Kanye in ‘Facts,’ ‘Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy,'” he says. “The 350s, especially the Pirate Blacks, I would say that is my favorite release of 2015. Those are dailies for me.”
The 350s fit well with King’s overall fashion sense, which reflects his casual, laid-back attitude.
“I dress pretty basic,” he says. “I wear pretty much denims, a T, and a bomber jacket, and my 350s constantly. I know people love to overuse the term ‘uniform,’ but that’s definitely my uniform.”
While King may be all about the Yeezys–in addition to Pirate Black, he owns in several other colorways–he has a broad sneaker taste; right alongside those Yeezys on his shelf are Jordans, Vans, Air Force 1s, and even ultra high-end Louboutins. For 2016, he currently has his eye on a few different Jordan releases. Like many sneakerheads, King is trying to figure out how to get his hands on the Just Don x Air Jordan II without taking a four-figure financial hit, and he’s also looking forward to the White/Cement Air Jordan IV, which for him is a “must.”
As he looks towards the future and how best to make use of his increasing social media influence, King’s goals are decidedly focused on everyone other than himself. He wants to “meet dope people who are into the culture, not get free crap from dope people in the culture,” and has recently partnered with a clothing store in Los Angeles on a line whose proceeds will benefit children victimized by physical abuse.
A man who still counts the very first pair he ever bought (Air Force 1) among his favorites, King gave us the rundown of His 8 Favorite Sneakers Right Now.
1. adidas Yeezy Boost 350 “Pirate Black”
2. adidas Ultra Boost (Black, Triple White, Cream, Chalk)
3. Air Jordan III “White/Cement” (’88): “A classic always in my top couple of sneakers that will forever be in my rotation no matter what my style is.”
4. Riccardo Tisci x Nike Air Force 1 “Vachetta Tan”
5. Visvim FBT Shaman (Black): “You gotta really love it”
6. adidas EQT Running Guidance x King Push (Black)
7. Air Jordan X “OVO”
8. Vans Old Skool (Black and White): “You can wear them with literally anything.”
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