PAUSE Meets: Luka Sabbat
In today’s digital age, the youth of 2017 are already doing their own thing because of the internet. Meet Luka Sabbat, a rising style icon, raised in Paris now living in New York, PAUSED for a moment to discuss his opinion on the becoming influential without being an influencer, what he loves about Paris Fashion Week and what it means to be winning.
At such a young age you are doing so many things, do you ever feel pressured?
Every day, all the time.
What do you get pressured by?
Time… Deadlines stress me out the most because if I had all the time in the world I wouldn’t feel that way. So just time itself.
Do you feel like you don’t have the time to enjoy yourself and are you always working?
I get to travel everywhere in the world for free so that’s pretty cool! But I feel like I don’t just get to wake up and be a teenager. Some people come to fashion week and f*ck about, do their thing and have free time because they have a regular job, but I don’t really have that kind of option.
Do you feel like because of your fame you’ve lost out on some of your teen years?
I definitely skipped it but I’m not mad about it.
When did you blow up on the internet and start getting all this exposure?
When I was about 17. Like 16 was a good teen year, I just played video games a lot.
So you gained this exposure from the age of 17, I believe that is when Instagram started popping off and became a huge part of everyone’s day to day life. When I was your age the internet had not fully developed as it is today, did you feel like you were under pressure on social media to have a following?
Well no because I didn’t mean to go in that direction. I just ended up coming into that direction. I felt the pressure when it was already too late, when I had the followers.
What do you mean by too late?
I didn’t feel the pressure while I was doing it because that’s not why I was doing it. I didn’t plan to go in that direction. I was just posting pictures of my outfits and then Vogue started calling me a style icon and I was like “f*ck!” Now I gotta get these fits on point!
You literally kill it every time you post a new outfit on Instagram. What I love about you is that you like to try different things and you don’t stick the to the norm, you switch it up.
I wear women’s clothes all the time, you can’t limit yourself – style is for everyone. Everyone’s scared they are going to get hated on. No one wants to wear something that people are gonna be like, “Yo, what the f*ck are you wearing bro,” but that’s because they’re not wearing it with confidence; you’ve got to wear it and know you look good. Young Thug wore a Gucci dress on the cover of Dazed and people was hating. But he just accepted it and now he knows he can get freaky with the pieces and try whatever he wants.
Do you get hate from your followers?
I do a lot, people tell me all the time “take your father’s shit off”, or “you’re jeans are too tight” or like when I was one of the first young youth n*ggers to start wearing Chelsea boots and cowboy boots and everyone else was just wearing sneakers and everyone was like “What are those?!” And then a few months later everyone’s got f*cking boots on bro!
Have you ever felt depressed in your journey with the amount of exposure? Like when Vogue featured you, did you feel like “Damn, I need to step up my game”? Does it ever get too much for you sometimes?
Yeah, like at first I was like, “Oh sh*t, I don’t even know how to go about this?!” With Vogue and New York Times, like sh*t this is getting real. But then I thought like I already started going that way so I may as well keep going, right?
You’ve grown up around fashion all your life; your mum was a stylist for Dior and John Galliano, right?
Well no, so my mum was a stylist, yes. She worked with Galliano and Dior because of this guy who was a show producer who was producing shows for everybody. So she worked on that with him but was also a stylist. That’s were people get it wrong, her styling work was separate to her work with Dior and Galliano. My dad was a ghost designer; he worked with people. He had his own stuff as well but he was a collaborative and creative guy.
Do you think you would be doing what you’re doing today if it wasn’t for your parents?
Absolutely not, because you always low-key end up doing what your parents were doing. Either personality wise or work-wise. I wanted to be an actor. I went to acting school and stuff.
Wow, I could see you being an actor.
I’m still going to pursue that now, as I have the platform to.
So how did you get affiliated with Kanye West and the Jenners?
I hate how people go back to it, but long story short my friend Virgil introduced me to Kanye West.
And how do you know Virgil?
Mutual friends, social media.
What would you say to teenagers wanting to follow in your footsteps. Hanging out with some of the coolest creatives like Virgil & Kanye West. What advice would you give them to get to where you are?
You always have to be doing your own stuff, period. You have to do something for Virgil or Kanye to care about you. If you’re on some thirsty sh*t then it ain’t going to happen. I think you can’t be stuck in that mindset of wanting to get to a certain following within social media. You need to be true to yourself. There are kids who will be hanging outside the Off-White shows trying so hard to get in, but there isn’t anything for them in there.
Did you ever do that?
Nah, I used to game. I used to have a YouTube channel and I would play video games. I would never be outside [the shows] like that. I didn’t f*ck with the outside world.
So when you first started your journey how did you get in there?
I never thought about it like that, I just go with the flow.
What inspires the way you dress?
It depends, it’s different every day. When I wake up, I got to be on my cozy sh*t. I wear like needle sweatpants, Nikes, or cozy Vetements sweater. Sometimes I wake up and I’m on my archive sh*t and thrown on some old Rafs.
Do you like statement pieces?
Yeah! I care about clothes, I dont know… Like when I step out in this jacket, you know what time it is.
Haha, so you do like to stand out?
It’s not about standing out, it’s about being the one.
Who is your favourite designer at the moment?
Raf Simons and Haider Ackermann.
Why do you like Raf Simons?
He’s the best. All his collections from 1998 have been great. Raf is the best.
Which Fashion Week do you prefer? London, Paris, Milan or New York? And why?
Paris, because everybody’s here, it’s got the vibe. New York is cool.
So why is everyone here in Paris do you think?
Why isn’t everybody here in Paris? Like you’re here in Paris, they’re here in Paris, all your friends are here in Paris.
But you live in New York so why do you not prefer New York Fashion Week? What’s missing in New York?
It’s a vibe like I don’t know, here’s just different like look at the setting in Paris. It’s a different mood, like you’re not going to get Dior in New York, or Givenchy or Balmain or Off-White. What shows are in New York? I mean there are actual shows in New York, there’s a few people doing their sh*t out there and that’s why it’s cool to be out there, but New York? It’s cool, but Paris is the one. London Fashion Week is cool too.
Have you ever been to London Fashion Week?
I went once a year and a half ago and I went to the Astrid Anderson show and some other cool shows. What I like about London is that it’s all the up and coming designers, that’s where you’ll have like Astrid and A-Cold-Wall* and just a bunch of new people. And then Paris is the big boys.
And you’re originally from Paris, right?
I was born in New York, I just grew up here in Paris, just down the block actually [Le Marais].
What are your five top tips for someone to become influential?
You’ve got to be on your own sh*t bro, that’s one. Two, is you can’t be on other people’s sh*t. Three, other people’s sh*t is not your sh*t. Four, your sh*t is your sh*t and not other people’s sh*t. And five, to be influential, first off sit down and think do I have something to bring to the table? Do I have something groundbreaking, do I have something that hasn’t been done before? I don’t really have five tips I just have like guidelines. You’ve just got to have something to bring to the table. There are a million kids out here and there are a million people with followers that don’t matter and they have nothing behind them. Being an influencer? You don’t have to be an influencer to be influential. You don’t have to have a million followers to be influential. I could name five kids with three million followers and add nothing to the culture. You can’t just count on social media, you have to be influential in yourself. Luckily as a young person the internet helped me to be influential and helped me to be who I am, but I would still be able to be influential without the internet.
And do you prefer to be an influencer or a model?
None of the above. Creative.
Describe your style in one word?
Hold on, I got to consult my brain… I’ve only got 5 minutes left (of this interview) and I think it will take that long for me to answer this!
How does being in a relationship affect your fame status?
It doesn’t. My girlfriend is with me and she’s going all the way to the top. She’s fire, she’s lit. She doesn’t care about no club sh*t or free sh*t, I’d be having a fight for her to even be out here at Fashion Week, she’s like that. She doesn’t even post nothing like that, but I think my girlfriend is one of the key parts to my success, that she’ll be helping me stay focused. Too many people be out here chasing too many girls, and I ain’t gotta do none of that.
What are you guys going to do for Valentine’s then?
I’ll be in Mexico then so I won’t be around. [To his girlfriend:] It’s Valentine’s Day every day baby!
What are your career plans this year?
Hot Mess coming this February at Milk Studios in New York. It’s this photo show I’ve been working on with this kid I’ve known for two years. It’s all these crazy fire photos that actually me and Noah shot off my campaign for Hot Mess, so we’re coming out with a huge book.
And what are your goals for 2017?
Holy sh*t, I don’t know man! Just to keep winning. I don’t set goals because if I don’t achieve them then I failed.
But sometimes it’s good to set goals to push yourself?
That’s not how I go about it. See everybody’s different, some people like to set goals and then they achieve them, but my goal is to win.
Win at what?
Just winning, like what is winning to you?
Winning at everything you do?
Nah like what would it mean for you to ‘win’? Like at the end of the year you look back and you’re like wow I won.
To be winning is just keeping myself happy, putting out good content, keeping myself relevant, keep working. For some people winning is fame, for some it’s money, self-gratitude, it really depends. But my goal is just to keep winning; it’s not like I have to be doing certain things by the end of the year. Because it will push you forward but then if you don’t reach it then it will bring you down, so I just stay in that weird grey area where my goal is to keep winning and then I decide what winning means.
See more photos with Luka Sabbat shot by Jake Hateley here.