I mean, it’s a bit of a double-edged-sword with Instagram and the internet: Yes, it can become vapid and means you lose the thrill of the chase offline. But the internet has also given a platform to a lot of communities who would have otherwise never had a voice.

That’s the role that we play in this kind of culture or society, you know? We could just keep talking about the same old Hypebeast stuff that you’d expect, and while that’s tempting as it could get a a ton of likes, if you’re just doing it for the ‘gram, that gets boring. So we try to balance it with things that we are actually interested in. If people don’t like it, that’s OK. But I think that’s our responsibility.

You’ve just launched a new offline festival. Can you tell me a little more about why you decided to start that?

We’ve been digital for the most part. We started off as a blog, then down the line we did e-commerce, then we have our social media accounts. Our physical magazine was the only tangible thing. So last year we started doing more activations; you can reach a lot of people online, but then you’ve missed the experiential element. You can’t really taste or smell or party in an online setting. So we started testing out events in 2017, and people actually showed up.

People probably want an excuse to connect outside of your comment section.

Hopefully. So we thought, why don’t we hold a big festival where we bring together all the brands that we love? We’ll have more than 50 brands from all over the world come to New York, allowing people to have an experience of what the brand is about physically. We’ll also have live music performances, talks, art. We thought it’d be cool to bring all these elements together. It’s a big project.

It’s also a chance for people to express their identities and make connections with others—the chance for that “Oh shit, we’re wearing the same sneakers!” moment you were talking about before.

The hope is for us to create a platform where people can not only get educated or inspired, but also connect with each other. At the end of the day, we’re just all people, and we need to communicate—and we can provide a place for likeminded individuals to communicate. It could be random people that come: It’s not exclusive, everybody can be a part of this. Kids and visitors will have a chance to talk to the designers. Maybe they’ll get inspired to one day become a designer themselves. I call it a big potluck: Everyone we invite brings their little bit, but visitors also bring whatever knowledge they have to share with other people, too.

How else are you hoping to get people excited about non-sneaker topics? How would you plan to get your community interested in Sapiens, for example?

Yeah, that might take a little bit of time. We’ve got to start at Hyperbeast Book Club first! Or maybe it’s not Hypebeast’s. Maybe it’s someone else’s book club—someone who is super interested in books. Then we can shine a spotlight toward those guys who are doing really cool stuff.

It’s not always just about the Hypebeast community: Many communities form this culture we all live in. We don’t have to do everything. We can’t do everything: We don’t have all that knowledge. I’m not an expert in reading books, you know. I’m sure there are a lot of other people way more educated about books or music or fashion. And that’s great. We don’t want to be experts in anything.

Honestly, I did not expect to walk into an interview with you and end up talking about starting a book club.

Personally, my interest is more than just sneakers. I’m a big sponge. I like to learn about stuff.

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