A quick chat with our socks-and-sandals muse, Kevin Amato.



Kevin Amato's New Book Is Important [NYFW]

Kevin Amato is many things. An artist, a photographer, a scout, a creative director…but above all, he’ll tell you, a storyteller. Bringing street to art (and inversely, art to street) is his forté, and in a sparkling, gilded journal containing his most prized and expressive photos, his spirit and talent are both showcased and immortalized in print for the first time.

At his book signing on the final day of MADE’s retail space, FYI @ MADE, fans and collaborators alike filtered through in support of the project. A rare lull at Kevin’s table presented the opportunity to steal him away for a hot minute—and steal him away we did.

You’re making the socks and sandals come back, I see.

Yeah. Always. So cozy! I don’t like feet. I need, like, a landscaper, not a pedicure. Fashion Week feet. And these are Kith, right off the runway…look 45.

Tell me a little about the book.

It’s basically like ten years of work. But it’s not about my work, it’s more about the subjects in my work. That’s the essential oil of it all. And it’s not possible without the subject matter, the access, and the trust, and even the support here now…you see it. I’m older, grown, so it’s interesting to see the love and, like, kids giving me a wet willies and stuff. [Laughs after having received wet willy during interview]

But being, you know, respected and appreciated by different generations and age types…that’s super humbling and kind of surreal for me. My work’s always been reportaged, and it’s a means of exploration and discovery. It’s about just growing up and that’s what I find in my subjects that makes them so interesting to me. You always want to be recognized, but not just recognized simply because of our followers. We all have special traits that I think are overlooked on social media and all that other stuff…it’s not authentic.

For me, it was important—no pun intended—to highlight the importance of the subjects. Because without them, I don’t really know what my work would look like. I attract the misfits.

What’s your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?

Oh my god, I’ve worked on so many things. I mean, this week alone the book came out, I casted Kith, VFILES, Band of Outsiders…it’s just been a whirlwind.

So you’re kind of killing it.

Kind of. [Laughs] I just like to remember it. You know, wake up in the morning and not be like, “What just happened?” But I have a great team, of course. And a lot of support. I think that having the trust of young creatives as well means that I have access to new ideas and they trust that I’m not gonna take advantage of them, you know? I give equal credit and that’s what’s important to me.

But anyway, we did Hood by Air from day one, so that’s almost like eight years. It’s definitely a significant part of my work, and it gave me a platform to introduce the world to under-represented lifestyles and cultures on an equal playing field.

On a scale of one to ten, how badly did the neck piercing hurt?

Oh, zero. It’s all just like extra neck. Like, look how much skin is on my neck. Okay, maybe a one because of the fear.

This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Photos shot exclusively for Milk by Maya Fuhr.

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