You may have heard whispers that New York is over. Harlem born and bred celebrity stylist, Kwasi Kessie is here with a message; New York is only just beginning. As well as being adidas Runners NYC Harlem Captain, he is also stylist to some of the biggest names in music, including Diddy, Jamie Foxx, Chris Brown and A$AP Ferg. A true product of 'the city that never sleeps', Kwasi is never on pause. It was this very spirit that he set out to capture in the design of his limited-edition, hand-customized adidas RPT-01 headphones.
“This is something to pay homage to New York City”
I’m rocking the headphones right now. Last year I was seeing things in the headlines; people were saying that New York is over. When I first heard that, I was livid because this city holds a special place in my heart. So when adidas wanted to collaborate in celebration of New York City, I was a trillion percent up for showing some love to NYC. The whole idea behind the snakeskin is that I'm from Harlem and we like exotic, spicy, fashionable things. Between snake skin and colors and textures and vibes, we always want to stand out fashion-wise and be unique. This is something to pay homage to New York City as the fashion capital of the world.
“People call me the ultimate New Yorker”
Growing up in New York City has shaped me tremendously, because the energy and the access is unparalleled. I like to say, if you can't make it here, then you can't make it anywhere, because there are so many opportunities. The culmination of everything that people hope and dream is right here... The lights, the glitz, the glamour; it's all true. I literally thrive off of that energy. It's nonstop. It creates the ultimate drive because it makes you want to get stuff done at such a rapid pace and at such a high level. You always want to exceed expectations. That’s what New York City breeds in me; it literally makes me feel like I can do anything.
“I don't stand behind anything that's not really dope”
I love the adidas RPT-01 headphones. The best thing about these headphones is that the battery life lasts forever. There’ve been times when I don't charge them and I'm continuously every day, not charging them and thinking ‘I hope they don't die on me’. And they don't. I really really love them and champion them and I don't stand behind anything that's not really dope, because my name is attached to it.
“Music has been a real gamechanger for me...I almost forget I’m running”
Since COVID, I'm not running with people, so I've started to use music as my motivation and to get me through long runs. These headphones have helped my performance out tremendously. When my favorite song comes on, I just feel like I can run faster and harder. Music has been a real game changer for me in terms of my performance, because it creates a situation where I have to lock in and I almost forget that I'm running. I'm just feeding off the energy of the album or the song that I'm listening to. I always listen to up-tempo, energetic music because you can just surpass anything that you ever thought was possible naturally. Before COVID I would be running with people and I would be motivating them or they would be motivating me, but now it's the music that has to take on that task and it’s songs that power me through my workouts.
“Life: I love encouraging and motivating my community to live healthier lives”
I'm going to change the world by being an inspiration to my community. I feel like it starts with your inner circle. It starts with your neighborhood, It starts from where you're from, to make an impact. From running to fashion, I want the younger generation and the people around me to see that it’s possible. I didn't know that there was such a thing as a stylist growing up, so I just want to show people that you don't have to be a rapper, you don't have to be a model. You could be just as great as them by doing things behind the camera and behind the scenes. On the running side, I want to inspire the community to lead healthier lives and just to create movement. Whether it's running, walking, swimming, whatever it is, just have a healthier mentality. I feel like my movements correlate with my broader goals in life, because I just don’t stop.
Where I am now in my present day is very very fulfilling and humbling. I'm very proud of where I am. I owe a lot to the people around me, and also to this city, because how else would I have been working with Sean P. Diddy Combs fresh out of college? And how else would I have been running with adidas runners NYC and been a captain in Harlem? You know, that's that New York energy right there. That doesn’t happen in a lot of places, so I’ve definitely got to give credit to my city for who I am today.