‘The Godfather’ Of Streetwear Is Just Doing His Best

Streetwear is a world populated with uncompromising egos, but Michael Kopelman, who founded the influential distributor and agency Gimme 5 in London in 1989 is modest—disarmingly so. “I always do my best,” says Kopelman, who, as an original member of the Stüssy Tribe, helped make that label an international brand, brought lines like Hysteric Glamour and A Bathing Ape to the United Kingdom, and collaborated with fashion icons like Judy Blame and James Lebon. “I’m still making mistakes.” But Jean Touitou, the A.P.C. founder, has a different way of characterizing Kopelman and his influence on streetwear: “Simply, the godfather,” he explains. And his modesty is what Touitou loves about him: “I’m pretty good at not publicizing my own work, but he’s even better than me. He’s so discreet. His voice is quiet. I really like that. He doesn’t shout, ‘I’m a radical,’ but I think he is a radical.” Read more at GQ.