“I can’t stand looking like everybody else,” A$AP Ferg recently told CR Fashion Book. “That’s what’s fun about fashion is you can wake up and be who you want to be. You can look like a superhero—like Michael Jackson, James Brown, Liberace, Elton John, Jimi Hendrix, even Andy Warhol. They are all super heroes to me, and everybody had a certain look.”
For those unfamiliar with his career, Ferg (née Donald D. Brown Ferguson, Jr.) is a key member of the A$AP Mob, and the biggest solo artist to emerge from the Harlem-based hip hop crew since his friend A$AP Rocky. But it’s reductive to compare Ferg to Rocky, because he’s established himself as a force in his own right—both music-wise and in fashion, and his star continues to rise.
August has been one of Ferg’s busiest months yet. In addition to dropping his second full-length album Still Striving on the 17th, he’s been promoting the new A$AP Mob Cozy Tapes Vol. 2: Too Cozy, which released just a week later as a part of their AWGEST initiative. But that’s not all. Ferg has been on his fashion grind, too. This Friday, he’s putting out a new sneaker collaboration with Adidas and Trap Lord, his growing line of merch.
Earlier this year, Ferg was announced as the new creative director of UNIFORM, a sustainable, fair trade, and socially conscious label founded by Chid Liberty, which provides children in Liberia with school uniforms for every garment sold. Ferg also collaborated on a limited-edition collection between UNIFORM and Trap Lord. To promote the capsule—featuring 11 military-inspired pieces—Jay-Z’s entertainment company Tidal created a new documentary capturing Ferg’s trip to the UNIFORM factory in West Point, Liberia, where he got to interact with the women producing his clothing and the community it benefits.
“It was my first time visiting Africa,” he told CR Fashion Book. “Before I got involved in the project, I needed to do my own research, see what it was all about, and meet and touch the people in Africa.” He explained that children in Liberia can’t attend school unless they have uniforms. Research reveals donating uniforms to kids results in a 62 percent increase in school attendance, plus improvement in test scores. “It was an amazing experience. I want to help however I can.”
Ferg was obsessed with fashion long before he got into the hip hop game. It’s in his blood: His late father worked for none other than Dapper Dan before opening his own boutique and screen printing business on east 125th Street uptown (he designed Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy logo). Dapper Dan told Ferg in a MTV interview: “My thing was to blackenize fashion. Your father, what he did in Harlem, he swaggerized fashion.”
While Ferg was attending the High School for Art and Design in Manhattan, he launched his first line, Devoni Clothing, featuring belts that became popular with the likes of Swizz Beats and Chris Brown. Ferg grew up watching fashion shows on TV, and collected rare items from brands like Pelle Pelle and Coogi. It was a mutual love of fashion—more so than hip hop—that initially brought the A$AP Mob together. “It was like a group of kids that knew about releases of Margiela shoes and hanging out at fashion parties in Soho.”
Just like many of the buzzy streetwear brands out there, Ferg’s Trap Lord line features graphics prominently, but he’s more interested in focusing on fit, and expanding the cut-and-sew pieces incorporating fabrics like denim and leather. “It’s not easy juggling it all. Running a clothing line is a lot of work, especially when you’re a creative that cares about what you’re putting your name on. I touch everything.”
As for his personal style these days? “I’m like a five-year-old kid whose parents let him wear whatever he wants to school,” says Ferg, who prefers buying vintage clothing to streetwear, and gets a lot of pieces custom made. “I’m more into costumes and walking around the streets looking like I’m straight up out of a movie, or a space cadet. I’ve got these Evel Knievel pants I’ve been wearing. I want to be a character. It’s more memorable than looking normal. I’m into style, not fashion.”END
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