The internet is a cathartic place. There doesn’t seem to be a day that goes by where someone isn’t impudently airing out their dirty laundry on some social media outlet. Frankly, we prefer those who air out their clean laundry, such as Landy does through his Instagram nom de guerre, @LDN2HK (London to Hong Kong, for those still deciphering).
Landy’s Instagram page showcases an ever-evolving style palette that rivals your favorite entertainer or athlete, all without the aid of enlisted stylists (yes, even Russell Westbrook probably has a stylist). It’s a style pedigree that’s been crafted and refined for over a decade. However, in an online world where everything seems filtered, manicured, and at times, strategically staged for consumption, Landy’s modest disposition tells a different tale.
"It was never my intent to be famous or trying to milk it or anything like that. It was more of me showcasing my tastes and creating a portfolio for myself."
We wanted to talk to him about the personality behind the persona, and why that’s imperative in creating strong and genuine relationships.
So, you’ve been travelling a lot in the past three months or so. Where have you been?
Landy: Let’s see...Chicago, Atlanta, New York City, Austin, Amsterdam, and Barcelona.
What gives you the luxury of travelling?
It’s my main career/job. I work in marketing and advertising, which means having a lot of opportunities to travel around.
Would you say all of your travel are for work?
It’s a mix of the two. Like, I was in Seoul and Hong Kong earlier this year, and that was a mix of personal and business.
Tell us the background of your Instagram handle.
My Instagram handle is LDN2HK. Probably 3-4 years ago when I wanted to start the account, I wanted a very specific focus on lifestyle fashion, sneakers--all the things that I’ve been interested in over the course of my lifetime. I wanted to speak to my international background, having been born in London. I’ve traveled through Europe extensively, and of course, a large part of my identity is being Chinese-American, my family being from Hong Kong. So, it’s London, Hong Kong, and me obviously being American, was like bridging three of the major spheres of influence when it comes to lifestyle fashion trends--Europe, Asia, and the US.
How long ago did you start? You said you had the idea for the screen name a long time ago but when did you officially “launch”?
About 3 years ago. September 2012, I think.
What’d you do with your account that first year?
It was just curating a lot of my tastes, whether it was art, design, sneakers, fashion, travel--all the things that I enjoy. I was displaying my tastes in fashion or with just how I dress. So, because I’ve been in streetwear and that culture for decades, I had a lot of stuff that I had but just never shared with anyone else--stuff from Fragment Design, old Commes des Garçons, Y-3; brands that are obviously now way more relevant and it was just stuff I had in my own library. Instagram became a platform where I was able to showcase the things that I like.
What was the turning point for you where taking photos as a hobby turned into your own personal brand with prominence and influence?
I would never say I’m an influencer or that I have any prominence. I don’t see it that way. I just post pictures of stuff in my life and what I like, and if people enjoy that and I grow an audience, that’s great! It makes me happy when people like the pictures that I post. I don’t think there were any major turning points. I steadily grew over the last couple of years and as I grew, a lot of brands started reaching out to me very organically. It was never my intent to be famous or trying to milk it or anything like that. It was more of me showcasing my tastes and creating a portfolio for myself. Since I’m in marketing, branding, and advertising, I could demonstrate not only marketing professionally but also in my personal life, building a social media audience and showing digital savviness.
What have you learned on this journey and ride? What has it taught you professionally?
I think the world is a lot smaller than people think it is. Through social media, it’s great to meet like-minded people around the world. I’ve had great opportunities to link up and meet with people who share the same passions and hobbies that I do. It’s become a great tool to connect the world, and that’s the great part of social media. There’s a negative side to it as well, but there’s a lot of positivity where a lot of us out there in this global fashion community are trying to link, meet, and network, and make things happen for ourselves.
What’s your favorite brand that has reached out to you?
I have a very good relationship with Stampd. It’s an LA-based brand. They’re a great brand that positions themselves in between street and luxury, and they’ve grown quite significantly over the last couple of years. They just opened their first brick-and-mortar store a couple of weeks ago. I have a great relationship with them--Chris [Stamp] and the staff; I’ve done some great projects with them. They’re the one brand that I really enjoy.
You were recently bestowed as a brand ambassador for REVOLVEman. Can you tell us how that came to fruition and what that means for you now?
Revolve is a leading menswear, streetwear, and e-retailer. They reached out to me as they were vamping up their social media marketing and working with people such as myself online. From there, it was just an organic relationship that’s grown with them where we have rich discussions and hopefully, I help them achieve whatever goals they’re trying to achieve of creating great exposure for themselves. The ambassador program is still relatively new. We’re just doing co-promotion and promoting a contest and I’m hoping some good things come out of it. It’s just another way for community and fashion to all grow together through social media.
Are your relationships with the brands that reach out to you long-term? Or, are they monthly basis, short-term, contract...how does that work?
It’s just a relationship. I don’t put terms on anything. It’s more of just, what can we do that makes sense for this certain point in time, to create something that feels authentic and organic, because that’s more important than anything else. There’s not any straight contract in place. It’s more about personal relations and professional relations that I’ve built and connected that way.
Have you worked with a brand where you saw something significantly change after working with you, either for them or for you?
No, that’s not my role that I see where I’m supposed to dictate change. I know a lot of people work differently but for me, I only work with a brand that I already have an authentic personal relationship or connection with them because it’s that much more authentic. Stampd, for example...I was already a fan and consumer of them well before we created a relationship together. My role as I see is not to shift or change what that brand stands for. It’s more about wanting to find brands that align with me and what I enjoy. And for me to co-sign off of a brand, it means that I already had some kind of relationship with them, or I was a fan, or a user of their product. That way, it makes much more sense that when we finally create some kind of content together or do some campaign, it makes sense for my audience and their audience.
There’s this emerging culture of people using social media as a platform to gain popularity. Where do you think many fall short versus others who are able to keep building their online persona through social media?
It’s a matter of time and resources more than anything. I think, again, my approach was never to become famous or milk it for something that it’s not. It was more about my personal portfolio versus for other people that are out there, they’re able to devote 24/7 all their energy and resources into growing themselves because they see it as their main career. That’s more of limitation for myself. Also, platforms and things keep changing. For example, Snapchat is a platform that I don’t really engage with because I just don’t have the time to devote to multiple platforms. It’s more of a limitation of me trying to balance what I’m trying to do online and socially versus my professional career, which is also what I’m trying to grow. So, that’s more of a limitation more than anything, where I don’t have the time or energy as other people do. If people are able to make a profitable income and use social media as a tool, more power for them. But for me, it’s not what I’m trying to achieve in terms of fame or fortune.
Where do you see your brand, or profile, going in the next year?
I don’t really see myself as a brand. Again, I take pictures of stuff I like and how I dress, and I share. If people like it, that’s great. I don’t have any specific direction for where I’m trying to grow. It’s just continuing to work with brands I like and network with people I’m fans of and collaborating and showcasing my tastes to other people out there.
So, it’s like a creative outlet for you.
Hedi Slimane stepped down as creative director at Saint Laurent. If SLP came to you and said, “We want you to take over for Hedi,” what direction would you take that brand to begin filling those shoes?
I think that would be impossible.
Hedi Slimane, to me, is a unique talent in the fashion industry. What he’s done for Saint Laurent and Yves Saint Laurent is actually a phenomenal piece of turnaround that’s equivalent to what Tom Ford did for Gucci decades ago. The re-branding effort that Hedi had done to reframe YSL into a much more relevant and contemporary brand, I don’t think any other designer is capable of doing what Hedi has done. Just as he had done for Dior Homme probably 10 years ago...that’s how I first became a really big fan of Hedi is through being a fan of Dior. So, when he moved over to Saint Laurent and the things that he did there...he’s just a unique talent. I hope he creates his own brand eventually. I think he has that cache and if he has the right investors, he can do so. I don’t think there’s anything I can possibly do--because I’m not [laughs] a fashion designer or creative director, or anything like that--that can possibly fill that.
But given the opportunity, or in another life, do you see yourself creating your own brand?
I did create a brand, actually, a couple of years ago. It kind of fell through. Maybe eventually in the future, I’m able to revisit it. But at this point in time, it’s not something I’m focused on because I’m more focused on my personal career.
Everyone gets a little nervous when they’re packing with the fear that they forgot something. What are the 5 essential things that’d make you nervous if you forgot them?
1. Chapstick - I need to have it.
2. Phone - I’m so connected to it, to the point where it’s almost detrimental because I’m on it so much.
4.A good pair of sunglasses
What’s your favorite sunglass?
Right now, it’s my pair right here. The Super sunglasses. I’ve had them for 10+ years. The flat-tops.
& 5. Gym clothes - I eat a lot when I’m on the road so any chance I can run to the hotel gym or go running, I’ll try to fit it in. If I forget that, I feel really lazy and fat when I don’t run.
What are the top 5 apps that you use on your phone?
1. Instagram - Obviously
2. VSCO cam - I can edit my pictures and make them look a little more professional than they normally do.
5. Grailed - I’m always shopping and looking for steals.
What are the top 3 cities you’ve lived in.
Hong Kong, New York City, and Los Angeles
Why was Long Beach an attractive city for you to base yourself in right now?
I’ve always been a city boy. Living in highly urbanized places like Hong Kong and New York City...I love LA. I love LA culture. The one thing that really bugs me is that it does not have a walking culture. Cities that are on the east coast, or even like San Francisco, there’s something that’s to be said about walking your city and knowing your neighborhood and finding new places to eat, or get coffee, or knowing your neighbors...and there’s not enough of that in Los Angeles. So, Long Beach is kind of like a little pocket within LA--kind of a Brooklyn to your Manhattan, if you will--that has a highly urbanized standard. If you look at downtown Long Beach, there’s more bike paths here than there is in probably all of Los Angeles. There’s a light rail system that is pretty extensive, and there’s little pockets of neighborhoods that are just great gems in this city whether it’s food places or coffee shops. Long Beach really represents a new creative hub in LA beyond the Silverlakes or the Echo Parks. What you’re finding in terms of a trend across the United States is that people that are in the creative community, whether it’s in food, art, culture, design; they are trying to find affordable places to live. For example, Williamsburg in Brooklyn: that started off as an arts enclave and people just ended up getting priced out of it. So, they move into other cities and different parts or different neighborhoods, and Long Beach is just one of those parts right now that is a city within Los Angeles that is slowly being revitalized. That’s due in part to the creative culture of young folks that are moving here.
Where are the top 3 places you shop (in Long Beach)?
There’s really not that many places. There’s Proper and a Nike store by the Pike.
Hey, that's us! How long have you shopped with us and what do you think the community needs that we have or can offer that isn't already here.
I honestly can’t remember. It was either late 2008, early 2009. I think I was looking for some Adidas Consortium sneakers and was surprised to find a dope sneaker shop so close to me in South Bay. At the time, I was living in Redondo Beach and anyone familiar with LA knows how spread out it is. It takes me almost an hour with traffic to get to Fairfax or La Brea in LA, or down to OC.
I really do believe that Proper is a top tier sneaker & apparel shop in the underserved community of Long Beach. There’s already a thriving artist and creative culture going on in Long Beach. For example, Pow Wow had an amazing exhibition here last year. Proper’s knowledge of sneaker and street-wear culture simply adds to the city.
Tell us a little about what you have in store for the near and distant future.
Just doing me.