At the top of a long list of rappers with a hand in fashion, the actual “Fashion Killa” A$AP Rocky has a creative vision and confidence that sets him in a style category of his own. The rapper turned 30 on Oct. 3. To celebrate three decades of excellence, ORANGE Magazine takes a look at his style evolution.
Story by Lydia Wagner / @wydialagner
A$AP Rocky, also known as Rakim Mayers, grew up rapping in Harlem and eventually joined the highly exclusive rap collective A$AP Mob in 2007. The collective mainly includes New York-born rappers, producers, music video directors and fashion designers with similar tastes in music and clothing.
Since then, A$AP has skyrocketed to a pillar of rap and fashion acclaim not easily reached. There is a reason designers across the globe want him up front at their shows, flaunting their newest collections on the street. The man is a fashion innovator. His forward-thinking clothing combinations have evolved, but always epitomize class and visual interest. A$AP continually showcases an affinity of unorthodox ways to surprise the eye with each outfit.
Early on in his fame, A$AP Rocky dressed in more casual, but still high-end streetwear, often wearing brands like Off-White, BAPE, comme des garcons, Billionaire Boys Club and A$AP Mob’s own clothing line, VLONE.
Around 2014, with more high-profile success after the release of his first studio album, Long. Live. A$AP, the rapper greatly streamlined his public streetwear, opting for black-on-black and showcasing his more minimalistic side.
Photo courtesy of Pinterest.
Along with stardom and a growing influence in the rap world, A$AP Rocky began to show his influence in the high-fashion realm around 2016. He was constantly spotted front row at the hottest fashion shows, fraternizing with designers and models and almost always sporting matching designer threads.
After his second studio album, At. Long. Last. ASAP, Rocky had an ever-growing audience of trend-followers taking notes on his signature aesthetic. The rapper earned a few casual Met Gala invites, prompting more international fashion coverage than ever before. Here he is sporting Calvin Klein at the 2017 Met Gala.
Photo courtesy of Sizzle.
In 2018, Rocky started strong at Paris Fashion Week, wearing a faux-fur Dior bomber, with strappy black wide leg pants, a graphic tee and his custom VLONE Air Force 1s. Above all, his effortless ability to mix contemporary streetwear with high end designer pieces proves he is style-savvy.
Photo courtesy of Complex.
A$AP Rocky has established himself among the top fashion influencers in the hip-hop and streetwear realm. He wore Fila, Prada and a jacket from his own AWGE x Baartman’s and Siegel line at the Raf Simons show during New York Fashion Week. He has claimed a special love for Raf, among other prominent style influencers like Kanye West, A$AP Ferg and Luka Sabbat.
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Undeniable fashion sense can only lead to more experimentation, and A$AP Rocky has broken countless fashion rules in more recent years with a swagger that only he possesses. Even when wearing velour track pants and sneakers, the man can throw on an embroidered Gucci trench coat and still get away with it.
Photo courtesy of Fashion Sizzler.
Throughout A$AP Rocky’s rise to super-fame, and break out in the world of international fashion influence, he has stayed true to his New York culture. His impeccable taste has much to do with individual creativity, but he has always paid tribute to his Harlem roots and early exposure to rap culture for helping shape his style identity.
Photo courtesy of GQ.