PAQ: the YouTube streetwear show making a scene in men’s fashion
The online series presented by four twentysomething friends that sees them test out the latest hyped trends has been pulling in large audiences – and getting the attention of big brands
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Just about every person in the world is wearing luxury sportswear these days. But can you really run in those Gucci jogging bottoms? And what exactly are Yeezy Boosts boosting? These are just some of the questions that PAQ (pronounced P-A-Q) is trying to answer.
Billed as “Top Gear for hypebeasts”, PAQ is a YouTube series covering men’s fashion and streetwear, presented by stylish British twentysomethings Shaq, Danny, Elias and Dexter. In each 15-minute-ish episode, they undertake a challenge, such as playing sports in expensive sportswear, scouring charity shops to find a whole outfit in two hours with a £50 budget – or “Hustling uniforms from London workers”.
As you would expect with a TV show hosted by four friends, there is a lot of quick-fire humour. And in just over a year, PAQ has racked more than 1m views on individual episodes and now has more than 170,000 subscribers, the majority of whom fit the key 16 to 24-year-old demographic that advertisers seek. The swish, high production values of the show and their credibility in the scene has attracted top brands, including Adidas and Converse, who have been keen to collaborate with them.
Each episode-long challenge has a new judge each time, from one of their mates to bigger names that have included DJ Julie Adenuga, R&B singer Mabel, Vanessa White of the Saturdays and, in one instance, Shaq’s mum.
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James Cadwallader, producer and co-founder of Kyra TV (the channel that’s home to PAQ), believes the show’s success comes down to it tapping into a culture with genuine passion and knowledge. “If you made a pie chart of youth culture, men’s fashion and streetwear would be a massive part of that. It’s a defining part of young people’s lives. So PAQ is our answer to that.”
And while all of the PAQ presenters are passionate about streetwear, Cadwallader believes that it has a wider purpose: “It’s about breaking down the stigma of men’s fashion. It’s important that young men and young women feel good about how they look.”When I asked him about crossing the million views milestone with episode 16, the Adidas Originals promo, he confesses that there wasn’t exactly a big party or a bottle of champagne opened by a sabre. “We’re suckers for not celebrating our wins. There were a few high fives around the office.” But with episodes now airing weekly and a potential collaboration with High Snobiety, the ultimate authority on streetwear, PAQ are probably a bit more chuffed than they let on.
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