Our latest Kickin’ It With brings us to Philadelphia with YouTuber and content creator Praise Asalu. With over 70K collective followers across Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, he’s amongst the many sneaker influencers providing outfit inspiration from daily fits to styling tips. “I love creating videos, taking pictures, putting together fits,” he shares, reflecting on when he started taking the creative route seriously. “I started being consistent and everything has been going up since then.”
Read on for our conversation with Asalu as we chat about styling sneakers, budgeting as a college student, and providing inspiration through his platform amongst other topics.
Talk to me about your relationship with sneakers, when did you fall in love with shoes?
I’ve always liked sneakers, it started off when I was in middle school. I was always hyped on the LeBron wave; 7’s, 8’s, all of them. I couldn’t get them at the time for sure, but it was always shoes that I really liked. Then I moved on to high school, my sneaker game still wasn’t there and fashion was terrible. I was rocking all red Pumas, all blue Superstars, it was bad. Literally, once the pandemic hit, that’s when I started getting YEEZYs. I think the first pair of nice kicks I got was some Off-Whites and that’s what started my whole collection.
I got some YEEZY 350s, a pair of 700s, the Jordan 1 High Royal Toe, and the Air Jordan 1 High Fearless. That kind of started the collection, so I just kept going. All of the shoes, I lowkey sold all of them, and then the whole setup really change last year when my homie put me on. That’s when I started buying shoes every day, every week.
What do you think makes your fashion and footwear style unique to others? How about your city?
Honestly, I say probably how I put things together. I know I’m not outlandish or anything, but how you put things together shows if you can really dress or not for real. Depending on the type of shirt or sweater you were and the colors, whether they go with your shoe or not, that always goes a long way.
All of my homies are from Philly and they can dress. Jersey is a little different, they’re rocking Nike Techs and denim biker jeans. They’re getting a little better now, definitely North Jersey; they got some drip up there for sure. When it comes to fashion, they got streetwear and vintage. Although I can say because of how often I’m in Philly, they can dress depending on some people.
Do you have any tips when it comes to styling an outfit around a particular pair of sneakers or silhouette?
When it comes to sneakers like my Jordan 1s and 4s, I wear pants that will fold over so it sits nice. In terms of styling, I always start with the bottoms so that automatically sets up what shirt and shoes I’ll wear for the day. Then I figure out if I’ll add a layer on top.
As of right now, what are a few pairs of sneakers you’re really loving?
My favorites right now are the Air Jordan 1 “Turbo Green,” Air Jordan 1 High “UNC,” Dunk Low Retro SP “St. John’s,” Air Jordan 3 “A Ma Maniére,” and the Aime Leon Dore New Balance 550.
Do you have a go-to brand when it comes to pairing your sneakers with something?
A lot of my clothes are either from Boohoo, Urban Outfitters, and I Iike getting my cargos from BLACKTAILOR. Everybody calls me Essentials because always rock their hoodies, they’re cozy. There are a lot of brands that hit me now which is valid because now I get work with a lot of Black creatives. There’s this one brand that sent me a purple cardigan that was mad tough called Wisdom of Age. Another brand called ATLYORK sent me a valid Dickie jacket, I can’t wait to rock that.
Can you name one pair that you wish you copped but didn’t?
I copped the shoe, that’s the funny part. The Air Jordan 1 “Dark Mocha,” I got them retail. It was sitting in my closet and during that time, I had to sell shoes. I sold them and the YEEZY Boost 350 V2 Bred when they restocked. Now, they’re going for like $700 and I’m probably not going to cop them again. Because sneakers are such a popular thing now, the demand for them allows people to charge a lot which makes it kind of hard if you want to cop a new shoe.
Obviously with you being in college, what advice would you give to younger people when it comes to budgeting and getting kicks that may or may not be difficult to get a hold of.
I’ll be honest, it’s going to sound bad, money always comes back around. In reality, shoes are an investment so if you’re buying a high-quality shoe then you’re probably going to be able to sell it for what you paid for or a little bit more. As far as budgeting, I’d say try to double the shoe so if you know it cost $400, try to get $800. Don’t put yourself in the dirt because you want one shoe and don’t have a fit for it.
What message do you want to convey to the world through your platforms?
Just be consistent. That’s what got me here, I started off doing stuff and I didn’t see any return but I did it because I really liked it. I would try to put out a video every few days or interact with my people so that helped me a lot. Even if you don’t have the bread for it, make do with what you have. Also, don’t worry about anyone else’s validation or don’t feel the need to be accepted by everyone. You’re your own person and everyone is going to have their own opinion. Just keep it pushing and do your thing!