Spoiler alert. Let’s not beat around the bush: the answer’s yes. A$AP Rocky has made his mark as one of the most fashionable rappers since he started out. His influence combined with his signature style, how he innovates, creates, wears and puts looks together make him a serious trend-setter. Does A$AP deserve an Olympic medal for style? Definitely.
Of course, you’ll say that Drake is worth his weight in gold in the fashion world too. That Tyler, The Creator’s command over colour is out of this world. You’ll come back with: are you joking? Haven’t you heard of Travis Scott? No arguments. The Flame’s countless cool collabs are more than enough to stake his claim for the throne. Then there’s the long-standing Pharrell Williams. The man who brought Bape into the limelight. The man who founded Billionaire Boys Club and is intrinsically linked to the achingly hip Cactus Plant Flea Market. Not forgetting the great Kanye West, the head of the Yeezy empire, who has paved the way for rap and designer brands to come together. But be honest with yourself. Doesn’t Lord Flacko have that “je ne sais quoi” that makes him the perfect fashion icon? Born Rakim Athelaston Nakache Mayers, he loves wearing designer pieces that he’s spotted from the front row of catwalk shows. But his passion for fashion fuels him to unearth new designers and underground brands. This same curiosity is what’s made him stand out from the crowd for the last decade. Retrospective
It’s been 10 years since the New Yorker debuted his first mixtape Live, Love, A$AP. A$AP wears a classic black and white outfit in the “Purple Swag” video, released in June 2011. A “Fuck Swag” XXL t-shirt and 5-panel cap bearing the word “Silence”: the only statement pieces in his look. Then came the “Peso” video where Flacko makes a splash in Supreme, a leopard scarf over his cap, a bandana round his neck and adidas x Jeremy Scott JS Bones on his feet. All eyes are on the young rookie: he’s got talent, energy and style. His lyrics mention Raf Simons and Rick Owens. A few months later, Drake took him under his wing and took him to a Versace after party. The New York Times wrote a profile on him and said “fashion is central to ASAP Rocky’s persona.”
He released the very explicit “Fashion Killa” in 2014. The video featured another high priestess of fashion (and according to 2020 rumours, his girlfriend) Rihanna. We see the couple wander through empty shops, picking out clothes and flicking through fashion magazines. His hymn to designers is like a fashion week schedule reeling off 25 names including Prada, Vivism, Ann Demeulemeester, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Damir Doma, Oliver Peoples, Jil Sanders, Helmut Lang and Balenciaga. A$AP made his first catwalk appearance the year before at New York FW to close the show for Shayne Oliver’s underground label, Hood by Air.
The coronation came two years later. 2015 saw him go number 1 on the Billboard 200 with his second album “At. Long. Last. A$AP” whilst he hit the ground running with an “Originals” collection for GUESS in January 2016. A few months later, he launched a clothing collaboration with British designer J.W Anderson with his creative agency AWGE. Then came the thunderbolt. Kris Van Assche chose him to become the new face of Dior Homme. “When it comes to Dior, it’s just prestige and elegance in my opinion. It’s almost like Coco Chanel was for the lady,” he told WWD.
With his third album “Testing” on the way, the passionate Harlem and A$AP Mob boy continued sealing his reputation as a trendsetter in 2018. He loves the Babushka look and appeared at the LACMA Art and Film Gala with a floral Gucci headscarf. He became the flagbearer for the style which, let’s be honest, doesn’t suit everyone. A$AP Rocky made the headscarf, a standard among Russian and Polish grandmothers, a must-have piece in menswear. He went onto seal his obsession for the accessory by writing a song for it, “Babushka Boi” in 2019. The famously laidback star is a FROW regular at the top catwalk shows and was spotted wearing his AWGE x Under Armour sneakers at a Rick Owens show.
There have been all kinds of AWGE collaborations in the last few years, including with Selfridges and the Japanese brand NEEDLES, but Flacko’s top two collabs came in 2020. A collection with the architectural heel designer Amina Muaddi followed by an extensive range with the French designer Marine Serre. The half-moon print popular with women (Beyoncé, Dua Lipa, Angèle, Kylie Jenner) is bound to make its mark in menswear.
A phenomenal style evolution in 10 years: A$AP Rocky has done just that. The 32 year old rapper is as famous for his style as his music and has more up his sleeve. He was spotted in the latest The North Face x Gucci collaboration at YAMS DAY in January where he performed a track that could well be followed by a new album. His appearance in Slowthai’s “Mazza” video went down a storm too. He wore harlequin trousers by one of the most exciting British designers. Maximilian Davis, an up-and-coming designer who earned his stripes at Wales Bonner, is releasing his first collection in spring. And if A$AP Rocky has given his seal of approval, the future is bright.