In bespoke suede jeans, Adidas white shell toes, and his signature Jay Kos fedora, Cassidy Podell looks the part of a fashion designer. Walking into Stubbs and Wootton, an Upper East Side specialty footwear store, the 28-year-old has recently been named one of PAPER Magazine’s 25 Most Beautiful People and Us Magazine’s Top 25 Most Stylish New Yorkers. His business card, however, reads “DJ and music producer.” In a moment when DJ schools around Manhattan are multiplying and at capacity, he is the elusive, sought-after celebrity DJ, most recognized for spinning at Obama’s Inauguration party.
“I’m looking to expand my brand. I was going to make a custom pair for myself,” DJ Cassidy says of the slipper-inspired shoes featuring a turntable and record needle that he is collaborating on with the store, “but then I thought, why make them just for me? Who doesn’t want to be a DJ today?”
To describe DJ Cassidy as confident would be like referring to the people he works with as successful; a bit of an understatement when those people are named Jay Z, Oprah, and P. Diddy.
June Ambrose arrives at the Upper East Side shop in towering YSL Tributes with two assistants in tow. When DJ Cassidy introduces her to the store manager as a stylist for P. Diddy, June declares, “I changed my title. I am now a curator of style.” A man with tousled blonde hair in his twenties enters in search of the shoe that Brad Pitt had recently been photographed wearing, while Cassidy rhapsodically relays his design ideas to Ambrose.
“I would gladly do a Gucci or a YSL collaboration, but these are what I wear every time I wear a suit, it’s in my hood, it makes sense,” Cassidy said. He then zips off in a taxi from the Upper East Side where he grew up and currently resides, to his favorite vinyl store in the West Village.
DJ Cassidy began his career at the age of 11 with an auspicious birthday gift of turntables from his parents. After years of spinning prep school parties followed by clubs around New York City, mixed with some timely breaks and an encyclopedic knowledge of music, Cassidy became the kind of DJ who the biggest names in hip hop, fashion, media, and politics have on speed dial.
“I don’t keep anything on a computer. Every record is alphabetized and categorized, the way it has been done for 40 years,” Bob Abramson, owner of House of Vinyl and Cassidy’s go-to for records for the past ten years, said.
After a few minutes of perusing the merchandise while Abramson sources a little-known song, DJ Cassidy reveals that he “bought all of the Michael Jackson singles to look at his outfits. MJ and New Edition always had the dopest looks. ” Music and fashion converged; an easy metaphor for the man himself.
As quickly as DJ Cassidy switches musical genres at the turntables, he’s off to his next appointment, a site check of The Sullivan Room with renowned music producer Swizz Beatz. The two music men sought to partner on a regular basis after deejaying Jennifer Lopez’s 40th birthday together, and will be hosting and spinning a monthly party at the location. “Parties like this have to be rare,” DJ Cassidy said. “Or they wouldn’t be special.”
“Not all creative people walk around with a paint brush all day; what you wear defines you to others on a daily basis, and no one goes a whole day without listening to music. Unless you’re having a great sex day with your girlfriend or something, you’re always wearing or listening to something,” DJ Cassidy said.
And the beat goes on.