A Talk with Pittsburgh's favorite fashionista.
Geechi P appears like a "hypebeast." A kid struck with culture craze only doing things to be trendy. Look at his Raf and Supreme outfit. But fault to anyone who judges the man because Geechi P is authentic.
Style plays Geechi. He wore a red cape on his head when I first introduced myself to him out-front Boom Concepts in Pittsburgh's East Liberty. Striking, "the cape" held his braids in-check. Later, a video of Geechi basking in the sun with his red durag flowing in the wind hit his Snapchat. He's funny and aware of his image. "I go on [social media] to entertain people then I leave," he says.
Now 22-years-old, "my goal is to be a stylist," Geechi says as he walks me through his native Hill District neighborhood. "All I know is girls and clothes."
Although Geechi claims he didn't develop his own style until he was age 15 in high school. "I was the hybrid high school student." He calls himself a nerd who played basketball and painted and even substituted gym for dance at Northside Urban Pathways.
Additionally, the Geechi P nickname came from his pal Fredd. "We needed something catchy," Geechi says. The "P" stems from Malik Pettus, Geechi's government. During hang-outs, Geechi and Fredd watched music videos on MTV and rappers Wiz Khalifa and Currensy. "I was Wiz and Fredd was Currensy." He starts singing Wiz's stylish lyrics. "Camo shorts go with anything I wanna wear." Geechi's taste arrived from devouring these hip-hop icons and others like Kanye and Pharrell. He studied the fashion labels, like Alexander Wang and Bape, that 'Ye name dropped in his raps. He smiles remembering his all-black B.B.C. Ice Cream sneakers with gum bottoms by P and Nigo. Also, when Geechi's mom started his $20 allowance, he bought Diamond Supply T-shirts from Brick Diggler at the Timebomb streetwear boutique as often as he could.
"I like to test myself. Can I make this look nice?" Geechi says. His style combines great designers. During a photo shoot with photographer Jordan Beckham, Geechi mixed labels Fred Perry with Raf Simons and Marc Jacobs with Maison Margiela.
We pass numerous memorials for iconic Hill native and playwright August Wilson on Wylie and Bedford Avenues.
Currently, the fashionista makes his mark as the creative director of Everett Banks' hip-hop events such as Trappers Delight or Trapaganza, a TILT Party. Although Geechi's own clothing label, Humble Island, motivates people to find shelter in their own self-confidence.
Altogether, the outfits that Geechi curates along with his pep animates a cool depiction of someone on trend and passionate about fashion and streetwear. He sticks out in Pittsburgh's blue-collar, city sportswear dress code. Allow his thoughts to supply an understanding of style, culture, and personality.
I would call myself a forefather because I'm a culmination of style, research, and brand identity. I've been known as a fashion guy longer than these people. People know me as the dude who dresses nice or the dude who knows clothes or the dude who did that fashion show here. People want to see what I'm wearing more than what someone else is wearing. They would critique my fit more than they would critique an average person's fit. If they saw me off my game, it would be terrible. I would be eaten alive. People are looking to say, "he's not as fresh as he thinks he is." That's what makes you a forefather though when someone wants to bring you down from your spot or your wave. Whenever you're at your high and mighty point, and someone wants to take that from you, you're in competition now.
What are you trying to push about style in Pittsburgh?
I'm trying to push the art of mixing and matching great designers. There's a lot of shit that I have on that people don't recognize what it is. I have an $800 Alexander Wang hoodie. It's a plain gray hoodie, but it's cashmere all the way through though. You would know it was an Alexander Wang if I told you or you saw the tag, but people think I just have on a gray hoodie. That's what's up. The real people know what I have on though. It's an Alexander Wang piece and it's $800. The crazy thing is though I got it brand new and didn't pay full price for it. I paid $200 for it, and you know how much I paid for these [adidas x Raf Simons Ozweego]? I paid a buck 80 for a $500 shoe in new condition. Whenever you have connections like that, that's when you know you're in the game. Whenever you can wear shit that people don't know what the fuck it is, that's when you're in the game. Like this simple Y-3 bracelet came out in the early 2000s and it's one of my favorite pieces. You'll probably never see this again.
I want to show people that you can wear high designer shit with average shit. If you have a couple rare designer pieces in your wardrobe, then you're good. I want style and Pittsburgh to be a conversation. I want people to be like, "Pittsburgh style is dope." I want to bring that vision to people's eyes and have them say, "that Geechi dude knows what he's talking about." I want to be the reason for people to look deeper into fashion.
I hate when people say I'm fresher than you. I'll say to people, "I'm fresher than your boyfriend." It's my catch phrase though. It's a joke, but it's not a competition to me. I don't think fashion is a competition. It's supposed to be you expressing yourself with what you feel comfortable with. I'll be out, looking fresh, and see somebody else looking fresh and I will tell them, "I like that." It's mutual respect. Communicate through the way you dress. People want to be in fashion but don't know the essence. People think fashion is being the freshest. If you think fashion is having the dopest 'fit on, then that's base level. That's where I was at years ago. That's cool, but somebody out there is going to look better than you.
So, what is the essence of fashion?
Being comfortable with your own sense of style. Being the freshest version of yourself. I'm fresher than old me. I look back on my 19th birthday outfit and think I could have done that better. Elevate yourself through fashion and art. Evolve because it's always changing.
"Hypebeast" is used wrong. It has a real definition. A "hypebeast" is someone who doesn't have their own sense of anything, and they follow trends. But you can still follow a trend and not be a "hypebeast." Trends are supposed to be fun. Real fashion people find trends fun, and that's why you see fashion related people doing the same things. Remember when VLONE came in? People want to have fun with a trend while it's hot. You'll see Playboi Carti in a VLONE shirt and then A$AP Rocky will wear the same shirt differently. Trends are like hashtags on Twitter. Everybody wants to throw their two cents in. You're only a "hypebeast" when you wear something specifically because of somebody else. Be original with your 'fit.
I remember I had a hairstyle back in the day. In high school, I wore my braids to the back with one braid down. Then this dude copied me and called it the Geechi P.
Talk about the stereotype of a fashionable man perceived as gay.
I'm not gay. I just really really like clothes, and I'll take your girl. It comes down to the perception of someone well-groomed perceived as feminine. Society says a man has to get his hands dirty. You know? We're in the coal mines, we have to be in the trenches, and we have to have dirt on our hands to be manly. You can be a manly well-groomed man though. I know people who wear skinny jeans who would fuck you up. There is someone with a Glock in his skinny jeans. There's a well-groomed gangster out there. That stereotype is getting lost now, especially with the purple and pink hair rappers. Even Rocky and Chris Brown for example. Don't fuck with them. Feminine looking dudes are... think about Michael Jackson and Prince. People would tell me I look like them as an insult. But, I'm like Michael Jackson got hella hoes. Prince, assless chaps and all, got hella hoes. The dude you think is the roughest toughest dude probably didn't get as many bitches as them two. Prince wore assless chaps and still took your girl. I used to want to be Michael Jackson. Behind closed doors, you can call me whatever, but respect me when I'm here.
Ian Connor is one of those people who does something that I can't do. His style is dope. He makes dirty look good. He looks very rugged and dirty. He wears a dirty pair of shoes and a baggy sweatshirt and it looks dope every single time. He gets respect from me. You can see hints of Ian Connor in the people who he styles, like Kylie Jenner. I want people to see Geechi P when I style them.
Where is your biggest influence coming from now?
I like anything Nigo does. Nigo and Pharrell are big influences. I got my all-black Ice Cream sneakers from Social Status. I can't wait to see the Pharrell and Chanel collab. He can do no wrong and he's a vampire. He just started aging. Rocky is a huge influence as well. His braids are clean like mine. We bring a 'hood influence to fashion. I'll never lose influence in Kanye. Carti's style is dope and Offset is the freshest Migo. That nigga knows what he's doing. Quavo is mainstream fresh and Takeoff called Raf Ralph Simons. I was pissed. It goes to show that even if you have money that doesn't mean you know what it is, like drug dealers and rich white people. They just like the price tag. But, mostly my influences are organic. I stumble upon these things. I keep tabs on people, but I pull from everywhere.
Geechi P Rants
+ "There's nobody who can dress better than an Asian."
+ "Fashion people have fun with trends and put their own spin on it."
+ "I ride for Kanye. He's an artist. I don't stand for Kanye beef."
+ "All the people wearing Raf in Pittsburgh wear it to a T."
+ "I want a dope ass Rolling Stone cover. I'll be in all black and the cover will be colorful as fuck."
+ "People who can't afford great fashion pieces are the most informed about fashion."
+ "Shop at Clothes Minded."
UPDATE: Geechi P for Chinatown Market (January 23, 2018)