05.13.14 9:45 AM ET
The Littlest Fashionista Is Just Plain Stinkin’ Cute
There are many blogs and publications dedicated to men’s style, but few celebrate the dapper looks of tiny tots. But who doesn’t love to see fashion in miniature? Last year, 6-year-old Alonso Mateo, son of successful fashion stylist and finance CEO, made headlines when his designer thread-filled selfies appeared on his mother’s Instagram feed. Fashion designer Alexander Wang has been known to dress his 5-year-old niece, Aila, in fur, leather, and Balenciaga, and Arlo, the son of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, had his own GQ fashion column at age 8.
But Instafamous trendsetter Ryker Wixom is slightly different from the rest. Unlike Mateo, Wang, and Weiner, Ryker’s parents are not celebrity fashion stars or international one-percenters. His fashionable outfits consist of pieces from retailers such as Gap Kids, Zara, and H&M; they aren’t designer threads seen on international runways, but they are still stylish and reasonably affordable (especially considering young boys are constantly outgrowing their clothes).
Ryker’s mother, Collette Wixom, works in publishing while also running a household and raising two kids with her husband, Chase, who is in finance. Three months ago, as friends were showing Wixom the various fashion kids that have taken over the Internet—pint-sized boys with perfectly styled hair and designer duds; young girls accessorizing with leather jackets and the “it” bags of previous seasons (think Celine Mini Luggage Tote)—Wixom realized how similarly she dressed her son.
Ryker’s clothes may not have been designer, but the outfits looked close enough. Plus, he already had the super trendy “undercut” hairstyle popular with the fashion forward men of today. Wixom realized that she could help show moms around the world how to dress their kids like the stylish men in GQ, Details and Man About Town, but for a much more reasonable price. Thus, Mini Style Hacker was born.
Using editorials, interviews, and advertisements from a wide range of outlets, Wixom scouts the top trends in men’s fashion that translate best for her 4-year-old son. Which is where the term “hacking” comes in. By using these fashion images as inspiration, Wixom copies—or “hacks”—the high-priced looks with pieces from online stores and the local mall as well as clothes and accessories she’s already purchased. Then she photographs Ryker, often striking the same pose as the models posing in the original looks.
The real challenge is capturing the attention of a typical energetic boy long enough to get him dressed, fed, and out the door, not to mention stand still for long enough to take a few photos. But Wixom has learned the trick is in the method and centers the day’s routines around Ryker’s interests—Star Wars, superheroes, and pirates—making everyday activities fun for her son and easier for her.
For instance when Ryker was being fitted for his first suit a few weeks ago, Donovan England—CEO of his namesake brand that makes affordable custom suits—made the house call sporting a Superman tie. Ryker immediately took to the process once he noticed “Clark Kent” and the special “Iron Man” suit he was having made.
The superhero theme even finds its way into the photo shoots, which turn into epic crime-fighting battles. Like any typical young kid, sitting still for long periods of time can be a bit of a challenge. “I literally have to make everything a game for him,” Wixom told The Daily Beast in a phone interview. “If I want him to put his hands in his pocket, I have him holster his ‘laser guns’ or for other poses, I have him ‘power up.’” The addition of props, such as a “backpack instead of a bag, a juice box, or a toy car” emphasize that Ryker is indeed just a normal 4-year-old boy.
Ryker’s outfits range from casual graphic tees paired with destroyed denim and Tevin Vincent skull bracelets with combat boots to button downs, cardigans, and khakis, “hacking” fashion styles from well known faces such as Pharrell Williams, actor Nolan Funk, and even a Star Wars Stormtrooper (it’s Ryker’s latest obsession).
“I recently started ‘hacking’ people that I find inspirational or make me think of the type of men I want my son to be, like Pharrell. When I heard him [during an interview] on the radio I thought he was a great role model,” Wixom said.
Since its creation, MiniStyleHacker has gained over 42,000 followers, partly thanks to fellow style blogger Adam Gallagher of IAmGalla. “Adam wears a lot of street-style stuff that’s comfortable,” Wixom explained. “I don’t put Ryker in anything he couldn’t go to school and play in. That’s why I started copying [Adam] a lot.”
IAmGalla, which is derived from Gallagher’s last name, features men’s styling tips and fashion trends for the modern, well-groomed man. Once Gallagher saw the side-by-side photographs Wixom Instagrammed, he immediately re-posted it to his own account, subsequently sparking a spike in traffic and beginning a partnership between the two blogs.
The website’s fans are also becoming active in the day-to-day production of content. Along with becoming a source for parents around the world seeking guidance on where to shop, the latest in trends, and how to dress their kids for specific events, Wixom frequently receives photos from viewers wearing their favorite outfits, requesting her to “hack their style” by mimicking their looks on Ryker. While she hasn’t yet, it’s an idea that is definitely in the works.
As Mini Style Hacker’s fan base continues to grow, more and more styles are being hacked, expanding to new looks with lots of celebrity inspiration—like a recent post featured Ryan Gosling. While the blog has only copied the looks of adults so far, it could be Ryker’s style that ends up getting hacked by us all.