Executive Content Editor
Tyler Salaam Collins is a student by day, and a blogger … well, also by day. For a third year communication major at the University of California, Santa Barbara, balancing academics while building up one’s portfolio may be difficult enough, but for Collins, blogging is more than just an extracurricular activity; it’s a movement.
“I would describe myself as being a very ambitious, innovative, creative … intelligent, friendly person,” he said, while sitting at Caje Cafe in Isla Vista — admittedly, for the first time — during an interview.
Collins began blogging a few years ago: “I was kind of tired of looking at everyone’s websites and saying, ‘I have a creative idea for that same thing. I could twist [it] up and make it my own.’” He draws inspiration from other bloggers, though his content is fresh and innovative, taking fashion trends and photography styles and making them his own.
His website, FashionKilledTheKid, began with the creation of a character: the Kid.
“The Kid could be anybody,” Collins said, grinning. “The Kid represents any male who has any passion for anything in life. Just this male is focusing on fashion … when you’re so passionate about anything you love — and for this kid, it’s fashion — he has no choice but to kill it.”
And from the look of Collins’s website, his description is spot on. “The ‘Kid’ became consumed with the idea of creating art he felt everyone would want to emulate,” his website states. “He became so fixated, it killed him in order to reinvent himself in more ways than one.”
The inception of the Kid manifested into a growing minimalistic website that focuses on Collins’s daily fashion looks, timeless pieces juxtaposed with the latest trends in menswear. By creating his website, he has began more than the average college student’s after school hobby. Collins aims to start a movement, in which there is a Kid in each college community, and eventually, worldwide.
Collins hopes to find a career in public relations for the entertainment world, but unlike some students who are still dreaming of this, he has already gotten a headstart. For the past two winter breaks, Collins has interned for the Weinstein Company in New York City. “I call [myself] an intern, but I was pretty much like their creative outlet,” he said. “They fly me out to New York — I have an apartment there — and basically I go to work everyday and I come up with new ideas for new television projects, new film projects, a whole bunch of stuff.”
Through making connections and creating a brand for himself, Collins has found opportunities in high places, showing that starting one’s career so young may not be easy, but it’s worth it. “It’s all about who you know and what you show,” Collins said, when asked what distinguishes himself from other bloggers. “You have to promote yourself.” He advises others to make connections with people who are going to help them push their websites forward, retweeting or reposting across social media platforms along the way.
For others interested in blogging or becoming involved in their own creative outlets in general, Collins offers some advice. “Focus on it,” he said. “Dedicate time to it, because if you really love it, it shouldn’t feel like a job … Find other creative people who will help inspire your creativity.” According to Collins, finding people who have your same interests as you will propel your own inspirations, allowing you to expand your creative projects and propel yourself forward, both as a brand and as a creative individual.
But although blogging is one of Collins’s passions, it is not the only one. He is a current member of the UCSB Black Student Union (BSU) as well as Black Quare, an organization for people the African diaspora who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. “We are trying to build a sense of brotherhood [and] sisterhood within the community,” he said, “because there is only 12 of us [who are active members]. So we try to come together.”
Collins says that his membership in BSU has been eye-opening as well. “I think this is the first year I have really realized a lot about life,” he said. “Racism in America is obviously a huge topic, and I’m from Calabasas, so I just didn’t really think about it because I didn’t know I had to — until I came here.” Collins says that this is the first year he has felt comfortable with standing up for causes he believes in and speaking out about things he feels are not right. “I think I’ve had more of a voice because of BSU.”
From social awareness to finding one’s passions, Collins proves that creativity and activism aren’t as different as one may think. Rather, they may be one and the same.
Find Collins on Twitter and Instagram at @FKTKonline and @fashionkilledthekid, and visit his website to see more of his creative journey. Who knows? You may be inspired to start a movement of your own.