On any given Saturday afternoon, most 11-year-olds could probably be found playing somewhere with their friends, maybe hitting up the local cinema or hanging out at home testing out the latest video game.
But Natasha Zinko's son Ivan — aka The Golden Fly, aka The Drip God Ivan G — isn't like most 11-year-olds. First, there's his Instagram account; quickly nearing 100k followers, Ivan is among the youngest hypebeasts on the internet, regularly documenting his outfits consisting of pieces from the likes of Off-White, Saint Laurent and Nike. Also heavily documented is his jet-setting lifestyle, accompanying his parents to places like Miami, Moscow, St. Tropez, Monaco, London — where the family is currently headquartered — and his personal favorite city, Los Angeles. Then there's the upcoming Scott Storch-produced EP and Duo, his own fashion brand, produced with the help of his designer mother.
That last bit is what brings Ivan to his mom's showroom space in Paris on this particular Saturday afternoon. Ivan recently collaborated with Zinko in a more official capacity for the first time, designing a Duo x Natasha Zinko menswear capsule that debuted on her runway earlier in the season at London Fashion Week (set to one of those Scott Storch x Golden Fly tracks, of course — but more on that later). Personally, I remember being that age, and the idea of sitting in a room while a bunch of adults made their buying decisions for the season would have been about as exciting as watching paint dry. But when I ask Ivan if he's bored, he shrugs politely and simply says, with all the sageness of an 11-year-old with a fashion line and a record deal, "Trust the process."
In fact, looking through his social media, one might expect a kid who rubs elbows with Virgil Abloh and gets invited to Comme des Garçons fashions shows to be pretty brash, or even a precocious jerk. Instead, Ivan is actually fairly quiet and well-mannered. Both Ivan and Zinko note that he grew up inside the fashion industry and that he's always been interested in clothing; he may also be unlike other 11-year-olds in that he thinks his dad has great personal style. ("A lot of the time, when my son looks at his father, he's like 'Aw, Dad, you're so cool,' and I think it's the best compliment you can get from him," Zinko says, beaming with pride.) That's why, according to both of them, any concerns you might have about Ivan being at things like buying appointments or backstage at a fashion show are misplaced.
"He was with me, you know — it was us! It's not like I'm putting a baby [on the runway]; he has his own personality and he's part of me, and why not?" his mom says with a laugh. "Somebody complains, 'Oh, your son, it's too much for a boy.' How is possible if you both like fashion and he leads this kind of life? How he can know different? He was always in this kind of environment."
Part of being in that environment has meant hitting up international fashion weeks alongside Zinko, often appearing beside her in street style shots. Clearly, Zinko has instilled a love for capital-F fashion in her son, as he's no street style slouch himself, professing a love for labels like Balenciaga and — what else? — Supreme. "I just wear what I want," he says. "I like the popular brands, but I feel like I wear them a bit differently to other people." The proof is in the numbers, as it's attracted him a lot of followers in a short amount of time.
"I'm proud of it, it's an achievement," he says of his presence on the 'gram. "But I did get them really quickly, relatively, because around a year ago — last October — I got 10k, I remember, and now I'm on 95k, which is pretty good for growing. Hopefully, I will get to 100k soon."
That same passion for clothes is what lead Ivan to launch Duo in March 2017. Of course, it helps to have a mom in the business. "Basically, I design all of it and then she kind of corrects it and produces it," Ivan says. "We communicate on each piece," Zinko adds. "He knows exactly which pockets and which zippers; there's so many details that he likes and he knows which styles. And then we talk colors, what fabrics are possible, what is the reality."
While the fashion show has been the biggest thing to happen to Duo so far, Ivan says the line had decent success at an LA event where he sold T-shirts and tracksuits — one of which apparently went to one of his musical heroes. "Well, Mom told me like a month later that one of the Migos actually bought a track suit," he says with a grin.
That may not be his last brush with the likes of Migos: As previously mentioned, Ivan has worked with Scott Storch — the mega-producer who has whipped up hits with the likes of Dr. Dre, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and 50 Cent, to name a few — on an upcoming EP. They've already teased tracks at events, but nothing has officially been released. Perhaps that's why, when one of his tracks played at Zinko's Spring 2019 runway, bopping heads throughout the audience were trying to place the artist behind the song with catchy lyrics like, "I think I'm too old for cartoons." Both Zinko and Ivan observed the moment from the city bus that served as both the backdrop and the backstage area for the show.
"It looked like everyone enjoyed it!" Zinko says, once again bursting with pride. "'What is the music, what is the music?' It's Ivan, the Golden Fly!"
For his part, Ivan plays it a little more cool.
"I mean, it wasn't like, 'Wow!' because it's obviously my mom's fashion show and it's family," he says with a shrug. "But it was still cool to hear and to see the models walking to it."
Perhaps he's not so unlike other 11-year-olds after all.