Ian Connor, known by many as ‘The King of the Youth‘ as well as his twitter username ‘Soulja Ian’, has been an influential force in fashion and street culture for a considerable amount of time by now. Recently, Ian, in addition to his big brother, A$AP Bari, has been tied, both directly and indirectly, to Wiz Khalifa. Let’s flashback to 2012 around the time that it all started to blow up for Ian Connor; then he was running with some of Tumblr’s greatest products in Glyn Brown, Ken Rebel, Ade Oyeyemi and Joo Henderson, who made up L3NF. Ian and the rest of his friends made names for themselves through inspiring a new wave of street fashion by displaying their nonchalant attitudes with the power of the Internet.
One cornerstone of Ian Connor’s rise to influence was his collaboration with enigmatic designer Wil Fry to produce one of the most memorable streetwear pieces of all time in the jersey and shorts set. Ian’s rising influence gained him attention from just about every emerging (Rhude, 424onFairfax, Lumieres) and top brand (Stussy, Supreme) vying for his presence in their lookbooks. Not limiting himself, Ian extended his presence to music and soon came to be associated with A$AP Mob, a testament to his cultural versatility. His kinship with the Mob became known globally as Ian made cameos in videos such as ‘Shabba Ranks’ and ‘Angels’. Being a member of A$AP continued to open the floodgates for Ian, who was then hanging with artists such as Fredo Santana and Soulja Boy while working again with Virgil Abloh, after a short fallout. Earlier this year, Ian even traveled to London where he was received royally by many before returning to the US to further his growing cultural legacy. After London, Ian with the help of A$AP Bari and another Mob member, was able to officially open his first-ever store in Ohio called Nova; a boutique focused on selling brands that define today’s progressive culture.
Currently, Ian has been running with Wiz Khalifa, which comes as somewhat of a surprise, but it all makes sense considering Connor’s ties to the hip-hop community. Rumors have flown that Ian is now Wiz’s official stylist/advisor, and it’s not difficult to see Connor’s influence on Khalifa’s latest fashion statements. Wiz has been seen lately in more streetwear than ever, repping Boy London and Bred Air Jordan 1s amongst a vibrant style ensemble, and it’s evident that Ian’s influence on him has set in. Ian has already began to deck out Wiz in Supreme and distressed white denim, and sooner or later Wiz should be just as much of an admirer of Raf Simons as Ian is.
The question that persists is: did Ian himself see this coming? It would be almost a lie to say yes but for what it is, Ian has taken his chances, and benefitted through making the most of his opportunities. The recovered Tumblr addict is now seen with celebrities on a regular basis and now seems to be styling one of hip-hop’s youngest cash cows in Wiz Khalifa. It’s clear that his influence now not only stands tall within the young generation, but the ones in power have taken notice of the Atlanta-born tastemaker as well. ‘King of the Youth’ or not, Ian Connor is growing up before our eyes and has ensured he will be a lasting fixture. Time will only show how Ian chooses to direct his ambition and influence, and it should be an intriguing and exciting endeavor.
Co-Written by Tyler Kennedy