In this (fairly) new world of the internet and social media, there are a few who are able to harness this energy and build a community of people with a passion for the same things. Jacob Keller, founder of Always Fresh Apparel, is one of these new internet trailblazers, who used his interest in fashion to create a Youtube channel that currently has more than 40,000 subscribers. A little more than a year ago, Jacob began reviewing his clothing purchases in what are known as “haul” videos, and since he has moved into collaborations, modeling and much more. He’s a great homie of ours and we thought his was a story worth telling. Check it out and see what Jacob’s up to at @alwaysfreshapparel or on Youtube.
The Incorporated: When did you get interested in fashion?Jacob Keller: I got interested in fashion at the beginning of my freshman year of college. I knew absolutely nothing about streetwear, brands, and higher fashion before then. It's crazy to think how much I've learned, the relationships I've made, and how far I've come in only three short years. TI: Explain how Always Fresh Apparel got startedJK: AlwaysFreshApparel started because I was bored. I had been buying clothes online for a good couple of months. I would go to YouTube and type in "hauls" and watch other guys take clothing out of their online boxes and show it off in front of the camera. I thought, "why the hell can't I do that?" So I took days trying to find the perfect name for a channel and out came the name AlwaysFreshApparel. Not the greatest channel name in the history, but it worked. I posted my first video about some clothing items I got from the streetwear website PLNDR.com. Crazy to think that after a year and a half, I am actually sponsored to do videos by that same company. Just shows that hard work and determination can get you places.TI: Describe your style - Where do you get your inspiration?JK: It used to be pretty crazy. All over prints, mixing colors, trying to stand out. But now, it's becoming much more refined and evolved. I am moving towards minimalistic and simplistic quality garments. Black and white everyday. Buying extremely high quality pieces that may be truly spendy, but wearing them multiple times throughout the week in different ways. That's what I think fashion is about. Sure, you could buy 10 t-shirts, 4 pairs of pants, and 3 jackets for $500 and have a different outfit everyday of the week and never look the same. Or, you could get 2 shirts, 2 pants, 1 jacket for $500 and focus on the quality of the garment and learn to style those pieces in multiple ways so that you get the most bang for your buck. That's just me though.TI: What has been your favorite or most surprising moment since starting the channel? Have you met anyone especially cool?JK: Most surprising moment would be just the way this whole movement has taken off. I mean I see people that put in just as much work as me with their channels and they just can't seem to explode, like the way I have. So when people ask me how they can grow their channel, I really don't know what to tell them because I can't explain how I got to the level I'm at right now. Let me tell you, I am completely blessed to be one of the largest fashion YouTubers, though. I have actually met a BUNCH of cool people. It's too hard to list of all the names but everyone knows who they are.
TI: How do you deal with all of the comments and hate that come with being an "internet personality"?JK: I laugh. I mean everyone says "awh nah man, I don't listen to that, it doesn't affect me." But in reality, everyone gets hurt by it. No matter how tough people act and how they say they blow it off, it affects even the strongest people. But the thing you have to realize is, these people aren't doing much with their lives. If you can sit and watch one of my 18 minute videos, and then comment a paragraph long insult to me, it doesn't seem like you have much better things to do. That's why I try to never let the comments get to me. Because you never know what these people have been through - maybe they hate because they had a death in the family, or maybe they hate because something terrible happened in their childhood. You have to realize that YOU'RE the bigger person and YOU'RE the one making something out of your life.
TI: What are your favorite brands out right now?JK: My favorite streetwear brands include 10 Deep, Black Scale, HUF, Billionaire Boys Club, Play Cloths, Staple, Stussy, Supreme, Publish, Bape, and many more. My favorite "higher fashion" type of brands include Pyrex (although I don't know if I'd consider them higher fashion), Timo Weiland, Comme des Garcons, Daniel Patrick, ADYN, Hood by Air, Surface to Air, etc.
TI: What do you think about the fashion scene in Portland?JK: It's pretty nonexistent, to be honest. That's why I respect the hell out of brands that start here and remain here. Because if I walk around downtown, 80% of the people I see are going to be wearing crocs with baggy jeans and In'N'Out t-shirts. No hate to them whatsoever. But as a brand, it is EXTREMELY difficult to sell to that type of consumer. People in Portland LIVE for functionality. They want clothes that will do their job and be functionally sound. It's hard to sell to a consumer that isn't in tune to the world of fashion.
TI: What are your favorite things to do in Portland?JK: Eat. I love the food here. You can walk down one street and dive into so many different cultures and types of food, it's incredible. The food carts downtown are also amazing. Besides eating, I love hitting up all my favorite stores weekly, making my rounds, talking to the owners, the buyers, the employees, and just getting them to remember me and creating networks and connections. I think in a relatively small fashion city like Portland, that's really important.
TI: Favorite food in Portland?JK: Damn. I can't think of one. One place I frequent (because I'm a health nut) is this place called Dick's Kitchen on Belmont. Grass fed, 100% organic beef burgers with air baked yam fries. That's a hamburger you don't have to feel guilty about.
TI: Favorite places to shop?JK: Machus on 6th and Burnside for sure. These guys have become family and they've welcomed me with open arms. They have the more simplistic, minimalistic items that focus on quality and fit. That is the type of fashion I am definitely moving towards so having a local shop like Machus only 5 minutes away from me, is beneficial to my wardrobe.
TI: In addition to the channel, what else can we expect from Always Fresh?JK: Man. I can't say much. I'm talking more with bigger brands and bigger stores. Brands that people know about and have heard about. Brands that I've personally bought from and are starting to take notice. I understand that I can't do this YouTube thing forever, so I've got a couple tricks up my sleeve.