In early January, Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty was named creative director of Nautica. Even at only 19-years-old, it’s safe to say Yachty earned the privilege: The stage names (he also goes by Lil Boat), nautical imagery and signature Nautica ensembles that solidified Yachty as a tastemaker became the perfect package for brand endorsement. On Wednesday (Feb. 1), the artist made his creative directorial debut with one of the hottest brands of the ’90s at Nautica’s New York Fashion Week Men’s presentation.
The room buzzed with photographers, bloggers and die-hard Lil Yachty fans circling the 20 runway looks on display for Nautica’s Heritage Gallery. Models stood perfectly still on their platforms, displaying the bold primary colors and cross-cut pieces that have defined the American brand for more than 30 years, moving only to bob along when the DJ played D.R.A.M. and Yachty’s “Broccoli.”
Lil Yachty toured the presentation with Nautica’s president Karen Murray, stopping at every ensemble to discuss the textures and logo placements amongst themselves. The two examined distressed, dark-wash jeans, fisherman jackets and bright bucket hats comprising the 20 looks on display. Yachty’s fans, who were eager for a window to snap selfies, were also interacting with the looks.
“We actually have a lot of fans who came for [Yachty] but ended up walking around admiring the pieces and asking where and when they can buy them,” Murray tells Billboard exclusively. The president is proud of eNautica Men’s NYFW presentation, which reinvents the brand’s icons and opens the doors for a younger audience to get back into their ’90s classics.
Up on his vintage game, Lil Yachty himself has a Nautica collection that’s impressive by even Murray’s standards. “It rivals anyone I know,” she says. He previously told Billboard he owns nine blue Nautica hoodies and donned one of those, a Nautica Competition windbreaker, to the NYFW presentation. This genuine devotion Yachty has for Nautica is palpable as he looks around the Heritage Gallery and talks about the pieces.
“The green bubble coat over there, that’s my favorite piece,” Yachty tells Billboard excitedly as he points to the moss-green Heritage puffer jacket on display with a cream Breton striped turtleneck sweater and navy wool suit pants. “But this is my favorite outfit. Like, I would take this off him and wear it right now,” he says of the look right in front of him. The model wears a navy quilted nylon military jacket paired with bright-red nylon track pants. “That sh–’s fire.”