At Friday night’s Italia Independent x Ghostbusters event in New York City (May 20), drinks with names like “Who You Gonna Call?” flowed as people waited on the man of the night: special collaborator and rap veteran Nas, who teamed with French boutique colette and his own HSTRY clothing line to bring the ’80s film into the fashion world. For sunglasses brand Italia Independent, Nas incorporated iconic Ghostbusters imagery from neon green slime to caution tape.
“Ghostbusters was one of my favorite childhood movies, and it was important to me to partner with a brand like Italia Independent for this collaboration because they understand style and culture,” the rapper-cum-designer said. “I wanted to design a collection that speaks to the nostalgia of that era while keeping it fresh fun, sleek and wearable.”
“I think it’s amazing,” gushed Bradley Theodore, an artist who has worked closely with Italia Independent since 2014. “Ghostbusters is an iconic film, something we all grew up with. Taking what’s around us and modifying it to be hot [is hip-hop].”
Donning his favorite pair from the limited edition line — the Unique Edition for Ghostbusters 0913 sunglasses — Nas fielded our questions about his expansion into the fashion world below.
Billboard: How did Ghostbusters inspire both your Italia Independent line and your HSTRY apparel line?
Nas: Everybody loves Ghostbusters and HSTRY is about taking on history, whether it’s joining movies or people that I personally like and love, and bringing that message back through the clothes. Whatever I felt was a big moment for me, I like to see it in my HSTRY clothes. If it’s history to me, HSTRY clothes will represent it. Plus Ghostbusters is something that we all loved growing up.
How would you describe your line to young people who may have grown up without the original film?
That’s the thing. HSTRY is about learning things you didn’t know and that’s what we’re here to do. It’s important that we stay along that theme. It’s important that the stuff I wear represents things that people don’t know. If you know about it, that’s cool, but more often than not, my stuff will celebrate unsung heroes, people you don’t know.
How has your style changed from the era of the first film in the ’80s when you were younger, to the here and now?
I did a documentary with Mass Appeal called Fresh Dressed, and for me, it started with sneakers, then the clothes, and then the headband, sweat suit, and the nameplate chain, name buckle and all of that. I was an ’80s kid so that was the moment for me. That moment still lives in me every day so today, some of the brands are different, some of the brands didn’t survive, but there so much was happening in the ’80s time period in New York City, and I just soaked it all in.
How do you incorporate that influence into your present-day style?
I try not to get too lost in the back-in-the-days look. I try to keep it its own look. HSTRY is always moving forward but it’s always reminding you about something that I used to like, something that I love, somebody that was a hero to me or some woman that I really appreciate. So we’re gonna keep moving in that direction and not really get caught up in going back.
Who are your heroes when it comes to style?
Slick Rick the Ruler! And most of the guys I saw on my block [in Long Island City, Queens] growing up in the ’80s. It goes back to those guys.