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A$AP Bari on Stylish Drug Dealers as Inspiration and Launching His New Kicks: Exclusive
Vlone x Nike was released in Harlem on Feb. 10.
A$AP Mob continues its cultural domination with A$AP Bari’s Vlone streetwear line, which launched it’s Vlone x Nike Air Force 1 during one of New York Fashion Week’s buzzier pop-up events (Feb 10), on 116thStreet in Harlem, right up the block from where A$AP Mob spent their formative years.
As throngs of fans and sneakerheads crowded the streets outside, Billboard caught up with A$AP Bari to discuss all things Vlone.
Did you wake up one morning and know that Vlone was going to be the name of your brand?
At one point in time, I was broke. I didn't have much, so a lot of things were connecting with me, like Kid Cudi's "All Along" song. We were switching up the A to a V in the word “alone.” So the whole meaning came from alone, and then I switched it to Vlone, and made it my own and made it my own meaning which is “live alone; dive alone.”
What does black and orange represent in the design of your pieces?
Black is a solid color. It's like orange is the new black. That's how it all came about. It all came down to the Knicks’ colors being black and orange. That's like the signature New York shoe.
Can we expect future collaborations with Nike or any other brands via VLONE?
I don't like to tell the future—I just like to see. Hopefully there will be another Nike collaboration if they don't get sick and tired of me or get sick and tired of kids going crazy over one sneaker.
Who are your design mentors and people you look up to today who are designing?
I'm from the street, so it all started with the local drug dealers who had everything designer. Because they wore the designer clothing, the stuff you knew was cool, because they could afford it. So it started with me being in the street, me coming from Harlem and going to high school in SoHo, and traveling in SoHo when I was younger. Having an open mind instead of just being a local kid just standing on the corner in Harlem. I was one of those kids that took my talent downtown. It actually opened my horizon, from knowing Supreme, Recon and all those street wear stores; when the essence of street wear was in New York I was there at a young age. I was going downtown, I was spending that last $5 dollars to get back and forth from downtown to uptown.
Do you see VLONE competing with other contemporary high-street brands?
No! I'm the opposite of everything. I'm not for Fashion week, I'm just Vlone. It's alone, Vlone, in its own world, its own vibe.
So do you want to see Vlone in a store like Barney's?
No, no, nah! It's straight ourselves, organic, pop-ups; that's it! Cutting the middleman. Why sell my clothes to Barney's when I can sell my clothes myself? Why sell $300,000 worth of merch, when I can sell a million?
The VLONE Air Force 1 Low retails for $250. The VLONE x AF1 pop-up is located at 113 W 116th Street.