Skepta: a name you’ve likely heard before. No matter if you know him from his recently-released Nike collaboration, his 2015 smash hit Shutdown, a track that brought grime stateside in a way that had never been done before, or his recent appearance on Drake’s “More Life”, the grime don’s name has certainly been floated in front of you for one reason or another over the past few years.
However, there’s more to the London-based MC than collabs with the biggest sneaker brand in the world and hit records. Skepta is a true style icon, one that marches to the beat of his own drum, and draws from his roots to dress in a way that’s somehow both trendy and unique. Grime music wasn’t the only thing Skepta brought stateside, as the “roadman” style that he helped popularize has set down firm roots around the world. The Tracksuit Mafia don’s style has likely inspired your favorite celebrity/personality/Instagram influencer more than you know.
Not exactly certain what “roadman” style is is? Let us explain: It’s a look born in London, associated with the working class and typically attributed to males around 18-40. It consists of essential pieces like matching tracksuits (usually monochromatic), sweatshirts, tech-heavy shell jackets (like Stone Island’s Shadow Project line), athletic pants, running caps, bum/shoulder/waist bags, and “trainers” as the British would call them, like an Air Max TN or a Reebok Classic. Roadmen don’t often mix colors, and they’ve been known to wear the same brand head to toe, as wearing mis-matching brands (like Nike and Adidas) is a cardinal sin in their style lexicon.
Although the roadman style has been around for decades, Skepta was the one to bring it into the pop culture limelight and push it forwards from its humble, working-class beginnings at the same time. He took home the #7 spot on GQ Britan’s “50 Best Dressed Men” list in 2016, and he did it all while never compromising his classic roadman look (apart from a brief segue into Gucci and Louis Vuitton that he rapped about on his 2014 hit “That’s Not Me”) When asked about Skepta’s unique personal style, influential designer Astrid Andersen said it best, stating that “best-dressed should not just be about being able to buy the most expensive suit, but about influencing a culture and for understanding how to bring a strong personal sense of view across.”
If you know what your own personal “look” is, that’s when your style truly starts to flourish, as you’re then able evolve that look by embellishing it with your own personal touches. Skepta has truly brought the roadman look to the next level, all without compromising its working-class integrity. He’s done this by rocking everything from Cotweiler to Ambush to Nasir Mazhar without forgetting his love for his love for a good black Nike tracksuit and a crispy-ass pair of Air Max, and was even spotted recently in a full Craig Green x Moncler snow suit (pictured above).
When asked about his personal style in an interview with i-D Magazine, Skepta stated that he wants “the kids to see that maybe they should be aligning themselves not just with a price range, but the people who are designing for you”. In the day and age of social media, people are quick to jump on the latest hot trend, so there’s something to be learned from Skepta’s statement about staying true to yourself and your style.
So tip your running cap to the grime don, and enjoy his sartorial moves. Skepta is undoubtedly one of the best-dressed individuals in the culture today, and we can’t wait to see what he’ll do with his iconic roadman look next.