Typically, people look to celebrities for fashion cues. But Mike “Upscale Vandal” Camargo stands out on his own, regardless of which megastars are around him.
Camargo, who runs the brand and lifestyle management firm Upscale Vandal Group (alongside former rap standout Darryl “Curtains” Jackson), has quickly become social media’s favorite dresser.
Despite not having the name recognition of some of his clients, such as rap superstar Pusha T and Latin music star J Balvin, Camargo has developed his own fan base of fashion aficionados (including a devout following on Instagram). But becoming known for his style acumen didn’t come as a surprise to him.
“I got into fashion because of my personal wealth of knowledge and understanding of fashion,” Camargo told Footwear News. “I got ‘best dressed’ in high school. I was always the kid that [people] were like, ‘Where did you get that? What is that? What are you wearing?’”
And as far as kicks are concerned, Camargo’s collection is second to none.
“There’s not one sneaker designer that I don’t have in my closet,” he said. “I pride myself on how eclectic my brand mix is.”
A look through his footwear stash reveals classics and exclusives from well-known brands such as Nike, Adidas, Jordan Brand, Vans, Puma and New Balance. You’ll also find stellar looks from sneakerhead favorites such as Saucony, Karhu and Diadora.
Although his collection is diverse, Camargo said there is a specific shoe style he prefers over all others: designer runners.
“I love running silhouettes because of the paneling and how many material and color breakdowns you can do on the paneling,” he said. “And I like that designers are taking the runner as the silhouette they could cue up the best.”
Camargo believes the labels that deliver the best luxury runner looks include Valentino, Balenciaga and Visvim.
Despite having an outrageous collection — which he admitted is upward of 580 pairs — Camargo thinks something important is missing from footwear today.
“Innovation is lacking and [brands are] heavily relying on color flips, colorways, material flips,” he said. “There needs to be completely new strides in tech and innovation — there needs to be a shoe with expandable collars, there needs to be a shoe with interchangeable air bags. With all the technology we have, I feel like shoes are so standard.”
Camargo admitted his favorite shoe release of 2017 is the Nike Air Force 1 “Vachetta Tan,” and he’s most looking forward to the Air Jordan 1 “Royal.” Last year, he was most impressed with the Nike x Acronym “Presto” drop.
Aside from inspiring the style-obsessed on social media and searching for the next big thing in footwear and apparel, Camargo is also busy sharing his fashion expertise with today’s youth. Recently, he signed on to teach a fashion-industry-focused course to eighth graders at the Bronx, N.Y.-based Highbridge Green School. He taught his first class last week.
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I can't begin to express how proud & happy I am to finally to share this project with the world. For the past year I've been working on teaching a class for the students of Highbridge Green school in the Bronx. I will spend the next 11 weeks teaching 8th graders about fashion. I can't tell you what this means to me to be able to educate kids on how many opportunities there out there for them. I wish I could make this class public but one step at a time. Meet some of my students ! Love these kids already