For eleven years Alojz Abram enjoyed his pension. Then his grandson has an idea – and suddenly the hip grandfather with the brand-name clothes is an Instagram sensation.
Once a week Alojz Abram transforms into a hypebeast. The youth language describes such a teenager, who collects mostly very expensive, because very sought after clothing and shoes, solely for the purpose of impressing his fellow human beings, financed mostly by parents who are not quite as impressed. Alojz Abram is not a teenager. He is 72 years old and retired. He also has someone to pay for his clothes, but these are not his parents and he impresses 220,000 people.
On the Instagram photo platform, Alojz Abram, the Hypebeast grandfather, is famous under the pseudonym @Jaadiee. His transformation takes only about ten minutes: Abram, few gray hairs on his head and many friendly wrinkles on his face, put on colorful sneakers, tight jeans or jogging pants, hooded sweaters and caps. Then he sits or stands on the streets or painted house walls, where his grandson photographed him. A few hashtags and clicks will do the rest.
The Internet is big, it allows the strangest, most interesting and bizarre stories, and it makes people celebrities just as they like it. The life of Alojz Abram was actually designed as a follower-free life; That he is now one of those whose photos are clicked by others, is a coincidence. A strange coincidence, but also a nice one. In the rain, which lashes the wind on this November evening over the district Hechtsheim in the south of Mainz, Abram has no desire to transform itself.
He prefers to load in his ground floor apartment with the small garden to tell of his transformations between solid wood furniture. He's wearing a black sweater designed by his grandson, and yes, actually sneakers, but otherwise there's no hint of his double life. On the walls hang pictures of his family or classic oil prints, in the corner is a cozy grandparent sofa. Strong coffee stands on embroidered coasters on the glass table. Only on a dresser can be found a single hint: a small, made with crayons painting by Abram. "A fan painted this after one of my first photos," says Abram. He looks at the work for a while, almost devoutly.
In the very first photo, which was uploaded by him on the Internet, he casually leans against a brick wall. His right arm bent on his hip, his left leg bent, he looks out of the picture. Abram looks like he does not really know what he's doing, and most of all, why. Why did he force himself into his grandson's red and white sneakers, which are too small for him? Why he wears tennis socks, why he rolled up his corduroy trousers right up to his ankles, and why this pouch stretches across his white hoodie.
"That was my idea," says Jannik Diefenbach, Abram's 23-year-old grandson. Diefenbach, shaved temples under thick hair curls, thick silver rings on his fingers, wanted to have a fun Christmas two years ago. He wanted to photograph his grandfather for his friends, whom he put into his own youthful clothes. Nobody could guess what was following this one photo. Diefenbach not, because he really just wanted to have fun, and Abram and his wife did not because they did not know what Instagram is. Now Aloiz earns Abram a ten-minute transformation more than in his previous life in several weeks.
When Alojz tells Abram, the Hypebeast is far away. He seems shy, he only speaks short sentences, smiles and laughs almost more than he talks. Until he comes to speak of his old, analogous life. He was a glassmaker. Like his father, his father and his father. Abram goes to a glass cabinet and brings out a small glass figure. She shows him while blowing, bent forward, with a long tube in his mouth. The colleagues made him as parting reminder. Alojz Abram is now talking about his home near the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana, where he has blown white beer glasses, which he thought were flower vases, "we did not know wheat beer". Of how he came to Mainz with his wife 50 years ago, where he continued to blow glass, that was an extreme burden, because he was repeatedly exposed to the stark contrast of hot, liquid glass and ice-cold, frightening water. He worked long and hard. At the age of 59, when he got the offer to go into early retirement, he accepted it.
He experiences and enjoys his fame analogously
He has never bored since then. He goes to the gym three times a week and, with his wife Angela, enjoys taking care of the garden and, even more, his grandchildren. That's why he agreed to the fun: "I wanted to make Jannik happy." Although that was strange, he says, so with the sneakers, because the "I knew only about sports, in everyday life, I've never worn any", and why? But not that this is wrong now: The Internet was not new territory for him, Abram has been reading newspapers for years online, he asks Google if he does not know something, he sends emails and whatsapp messages. Just social media, Abram never used that. He still does not.
He experiences and enjoys his fame analogously. In the supermarket, where suddenly young people come to him and want to shoot selfies with him. In the gym, where the strong men pat on his shoulder and envy him for his follower numbers. And at international sneaker fairs, to which the organizers invite him, because they promise thereby an increased attention. "Recently, at a fair in Amsterdam, a lot of giggling girls approached me," says Abram, still amazed: "From China, Indonesia and the Philippines." The fact that people recognize him from the other side of the world, makes him quite proud. And the money? "We take a four-figure amount for each photo," says Jannik Diefenbach. They get money when the grandfather plays new video games and lets himself be filmed. For putting himself in the corner of his living room couch and holding a sneaker in the camera. Or a certain drink drinks.
Cooperation partners send him their products along with motifs that the two then stage – which often takes on bizarre proportions. "Once I should put a scarf over my head," says Abram, "I still do not understand why." Alojz Abram does not want the money that is not that cheap, at least not for himself. He says he has everything he needs. What @Jaadiee deserves, gets grandson Jannik. On one condition: He must not neglect his studies, since the Instagram grandfather is quite conservative. Because otherwise, he says, is quickly over with the transformations.