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At the tender age of 17 and whilst completing his final year of VCE, Stephen Kotsanlee (AKA @theyounggent) has managed to gain over 40K followers. How does he do it? We welcomed the creator of the Youthful Dapper to Croft HQ to find out. Needless to say, we are impressed..

CROFT: So the big question on all our minds, how have you achieved everything you have at 17?

TYG: There’s a lot I can say about this but the main thing is just wanting to share what I do with the world and just going out and doing it. I never had any expectations to where I would go, but the only way to find out is to actually do it, and love doing it.

CROFT: Are you studying at the moment? 

TYG: I am in my final year of high school, my main focus in Health and Human Development and Physical Education.

CROFT: How many shoes/boots do you own?

TYG: I own 32 pairs of shoes. That is a lot more than what I thought I had.

CROFT: What is it in a shoes/boot that you look for before buying?

TYG: I look at the design, then the quality of the build and finally how comfortable it is to wear, because nobody wants to wear shoes that give you big blisters on your heels.

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CROFT: Your social following has risen quite dramatically in the past year or so, which is a fantastic achievement, how does it feel having so many people wanting to see you every day on social?

TYG: To be honest, it is quite overwhelming! I’m so thankful to the people who take the time out of their day to give me a like or a comment. Even though it’s only a couple of seconds to like a photo, it wouldn’t be possible for me to do what I do with out the people who follow me.

CROFT: Your website the Youthful Dapper, which is looking great by the way! What is the outlook in terms of your career path, can you give us details. 

TYG: Everything I’m doing now is to help create opportunities for my future, simply because I have no idea what I want to do. Instagram and blogging has definitely opened up some doors within the field of fashion, but for now I’m just enjoying the ride.

CROFT: What do you love about getting new shoes?

TYG: There’s something about how clean a pair of shoes looks and smells. Yep, there’s a new shoe smell that is absolutely amazing! Especially with leather shoes. Does that make me seem weird? I hope not.

CROFT: Are you a believer in the shoes dictate the outfit or vice versa? 

TYG: Shoes are a huge part of the outfit. You could wear a gorgeous tailored suit with a pair of old raggedy shoes and your outfit would be ruined, However, swap that over with a well-polished pair and you’ll look a million dollars!

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CROFT: What would be your dream project?

TYG: Oh man, that’s tough. There’s a lot I would love to accomplish, collaborating with a major brand like Tommy Hilfiger or Lacoste would be great. That’s when I will be able to live in peace.

CROFT: You’re definitely an inspiration at 17 and a strong role model for all youth’s, has anyone knocked you back on the grounds of your age?

TYG: Why thank you! That’s quite flattering. No one’s really knocked me down, I’ve had the occasional rude comment or message but in reality it’s one bad comment in a sea of positive comments so it isn't not worth getting all annoyed about it.  You learn to not really care and use it as motivation to keep doing what you can do.

CROFT: If you knew the quality and condition in which the shoes were made in would that sway your opinion to buy them? If so, why?

TYG: Long story short, I would prefer shoes that are hand-made by one man in a classic Italian boutique than in a large factory with numerous workers.

CROFT: If you had to choose, what is your most desirable shoe style to have in your wardrobe?

TYG: I am a huge fan of the tan leather boot. I don’t think I could live without a pair because they are such a versitle boot that can be worn either casual, smart or formal and they just look amazing!

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CROFT: How do you balance work with leisure?

TYG: I rely a lot on my schedule and being punctual. My Dad has always been an organised person, especially when it comes to time, so I guess that has rubbed off on me.

CROFT: What are your favourite choices for kicking back?

TYG: There’s a few things I enjoy doing, actually. I love to read, listen to a bit of Frank Sinatra and just lie in bed. But I do want to stay productive, so I like to read books that are somewhat educational and can help improve my knowledge and life. One of my favourites is definitely the Great Gatsby.

CROFT: Who is your style icon?

TYG: One hundred percent Frank Sinatra. I’m not sure why but I’ve always been so fond of that classic 1940’s and 50’s suiting style. I guess Sinatra inspired me so much, again because of my dad, he loves the big bang sound.

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CROFT: You are rubbing shoulders with some of Melbourne’s elite; how often do they ask for fashion advice?

TYG: I think I ask them for more fashion advice than anything. I have had a few ask me and for me it was crazy because they are all guys that I look up to for advice. I still see my self as a little kid compared to them.

CROFT: VAMFF is well under way, are you going? Which designer do you want to see the most?

TYG: As always the menswear line up is one to look out for. I’m more than excited to see what M.J. Bale have to show off. They’re definitely up there with my favourite brands and they make up almost half of my wardrobe.

CROFT: What is your go-to Saturday night on the town attire?

TYG: Easily a blazer and chinos with a clean pair of oxfords. A tie is optional, but it’s always a cool feeling taking it off at the end of the night, plus apparently more clubs let you in if you dress well, so that’s always a bonus! So dress like you own the place and you’ll get treated like you own the place! If I’m not wearing  tie I like to add some colour with a pocket square and even a lapel pin will add a nice touch!

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