By: Eric Ren
Photos by: @Oponn_
How would you describe what a modeling Instagram looks like? Does it include exotic locations, such as the Grand Canyon? Famous landmarks like the Sydney Opera House? Luxury products like a Ferrari 488? Recently, I stumbled upon a profile unlike anything I had seen before. Interact with the Instagram community long enough and you will inevitably hear the term “grid-dedicated.” After all, “The Grid” is your first impression, and Oponn_ has done an incredible job of curating his digital tapestry. His unique organization creates a collage that flows seamlessly from image to image, drawing you further and further down his profile. I had the fortunate opportunity to interview him for Thirty Seventh.
Eric Ren: How would you describe your style?
Oponn_: Probably utilitarian/grunge. I like the focus techwear has on layering. Some would consider it techwear but I don’t put as much focus into the actual functionality and materials as hardcore techwear enthusiasts.
ER: What made you interested in fashion?
O: It’s somewhat interesting that my first interest in fashion was when I was in a Chinese street market and bought a fufu OFF WHITE hoodie without knowing the brand, legitimately thinking it was just a cool hoodie. The photo is still in my early photos on Insta, kept it for the memories. But then people were like, “Whoa, OFF WHITE,” and I’m like, “oh, ok yes.”
ER: Why did you choose to share your style?
O: I’ve always had an interest in art and aesthetics, I suppose, but I never really felt connected to it emotionally and the dream of being an artist died. My Insta used to be an art Insta, but I uploaded a picture of myself and all my mates were like, “you should just change your Insta to a modelling Insta instead.” So here I am.
ER: Where or who do you draw your inspiration from and what are your favorite brands?
O: @thisistheodore’s style was honestly the one thing that instantly made me reevaluate. I was going to transition into hardcore techwear probably, but I liked the dystopian, over-layered vibe. In particular, having no one else in my photos is a preference that I would link back to him. As for favorite brands, there is something extremely appealing about Cav Empt. Undercover, Rick Owens, and The Soloist. I really like deconstruction and grungy cuts in general, regardless of the brand.
ER: Why did you choose this layout for your Instagram?
O: I suppose it was just the fact that many people were doing collages but not in this style. I mean, I have to justify my purchases somehow, and honestly, it’s probably an ego or vanity complex. Photos, in general, are just dope.
ER: How do you see your style evolving in the next year? What about the fashion industry as a whole? Is there a trend that you want to see return or a current one that you think should end?
O: I might go into more designer stuff like SLP if my budget allows for it; maybe more patchwork/deconstruct items. Been looking at the brand Demobaza for a while, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that too. As for trends that I would like to see come back, maybe punk rock-type pants. Kinda extra, but there’s some character in it. For trends that I want to die, mostly things that are hype through limiting stock. Like there is some cool stuff, but it is unfair to the original supporters of the brand. I feel bad for those people.
ER: Finally, do you have any advice for people new to the Instagram scene? Something you wish you knew before you got started?
O: I think that people are too fussed about what other people think sometimes, too concerned with making their first uploads their best upload, and constantly asking others for their opinions. You won’t make it anywhere if you need people’s affirmation every step of the way, and if you’re not constantly trying to improve, then I don’t know. Also, if you’re actually trying to get bigger, keep your aesthetic separate from your personal life.