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By now, you’ve seen at least one of the many #bottlecapchallenge videos, each more dizzying than the last: John Mayer in someone’s back patio, Jason Statham on a sunny rooftop, Justin Bieber in a grassy field. But the video that helped catapult the high-flying kick challenge into the pop culture stratosphere? You can thank fashion designer Errolson Hugh for that. (Yes, the very same guy GQ profiled earlier this year.) In a sparse studio, Hugh, wearing a tight-fitting black T-shirt and futuristic black pants, stares menacingly into the camera and delivers a roundhouse kick, spinning the cap from the bottle, and unleashing the mesmerizing martial arts-inspired challenge on the world.

“I think the thing about a good challenge is that when you see it, you just want to try it out yourself,” Hugh explains in an email. “I gave it a try, not even intending to post it. The shot looked good, though, and the reactions from my friends were hilarious, so I posted it after all.” He had come across the “challenge” from a few of his mixed martial arts and taekwondo friends.
Acronym, his fashion label, is beloved for its ultra-technical clothes inspired by Hugh’s own interest in martial arts. But his video took off in ways that none of the other bottle cap videos previously did. There was just something extra alluring about his video that propelled it to go viral: the focused facial expressions, the slow build of the bottle cap spinning, and the intense gratification as it takes off like a helicopter. In his post, Hugh challenged Max Holloway, the UFC featherweight champion, and the Internet (with some help from John Mayer) took it from there.

Nikita Teryoshin

There is something quite poetic about the designer behind a brand fiercely loved for its cutting-edge, technical clothes going “viral” for doing a high-flying kick—all while wearing a pair of pants he produced himself. (The brand’s “P10-DS” trousers, to be exact.) If you needed any proof that Acronym’s ninja-looking clothes can actually be used for ninja-like activities, it’s hard to find a more eye-catching case study than this. But Hugh isn’t trying to monetize his time in the Internet’s spotlight. Where others might have flooded their feed with e-commerce links and self-promotion, not him. (The fact that Acronym collections sell out on day one helps, too.)

“Chatting with many of the other participants has been one of the best parts of the challenge for me. Most of the early ones were martial artists, and I feel like there’s a special kind of bond that martial artists share,” Hugh says. “It was fun to see an aspect of something that we all love spreading through popular culture and getting people up and kicking, no matter their level of skill.”

Article written by Tyler Watamanuk #GQ