At BET, we’re privileged to have a good time our Blackness on daily basis. In honor of Black Historical past Month, we’re pulling out further confetti as we profile a few of the most influential Black folks within the style and wonder industries—particularly if their accomplishments and contributions are ignored by mainstream society. Cheers to our icons!
As a girl who by no means noticed herself being a style legend, April Walker has made main strides within the multi-billion-dollar enterprise. The truth is, her signature streetwear clothes resulted in an especially profitable legacy that also performs a significant position in hip hop tradition in the present day.
Based on Walker, she may have by no means imagined the affect she’d have on city style. “I didn’t develop up realizing that I’d pursue style, although after I look again on it, I used to save lots of my style hangtags to make wall collages with them,” she tells BET Fashion completely. Reminiscing on her youth, she humbly provides, “I additionally received finest wearing highschool and cherished the artwork of ‘getting fly.’
For a girl, who single-handedly modified the way in which celebrities categorical themselves on the pink carpet, Walker is humble. In case you’re not acquainted with her model, Walker Wear, it solely takes a fast Google search to search out a few of the hottest rappers like Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, and Jay-Z sporting her custom-made seems in photos and video shoots.
As we reminisced over the previous like a therapeutic jam session, it grew to become all clear: Walker Put on began with Walker’s love for hip hop. “I grew up in love with music.” She concluded she needed to be concerned on this planet of hip hop the second she heard the beat drop, and it was a no brainer simply the route she wanted to take—style. “When hip hop music got here on the scene, I had a pure affinity for it,” she explains. “Style is such a type of self-expression like music, however we didn’t have many alternate options outdoors of Dapper Dan and some others that have been beginning out, so I made a decision to create.”
In 1987, the formidable designer began her first atelier store, Style In Impact. “There was a necessity for this style way of life that existed. I knew my tribe was there, however we weren’t being serviced,” she tells us. “I knew that this was my ardour as a result of I went all in from the start. It was the one factor that may get me up early within the morning and the one factor that may preserve me going to mattress late at night time with out criticism. I cherished it.”
After constructing a staff, Style In Impact would make it a degree to hearken to the repeated requests of their clients. Some requests being: baggier pants, deeper pockets, and bottoms tailor-made to their Timbs. “All of those confirmations gave us the gumption to start out a clothes line,” she explains.
Based on Walker, the model was acquired nicely nevertheless it wasn’t in a single day. “There have been loads of steps that have been taken to construct the momentum,” she says. “Bear in mind, that is earlier than the web and earlier than cell telephones. So actually, constructing a model was by way of trial, error, phrase of mouth, credibility, and loads of hustle.”
FYI: The hustle was actual. Walker created her-story as the primary girl to dominate the streetwear style recreation. She additionally grew to become a trailblazer that opened the doorways for girls in distribution, whereas commanding thousands and thousands in gross sales.
Regardless of all of the success achieved within the style business, there have been loads of trials forward for the New Yorker. “I entered the style business stuffed with elitism and hierarchy,” she explains. “I used to be trailblazing on this new lane with a concentrate on hip hop, which was principally catered to males (menswear). That was a problem.”
She continues, “Being a girl in a person’s world wasn’t simple. Discovering funding for a brand new class that didn’t but exist wasn’t simple, however nonetheless, we discovered a technique to push by way of. I credit score my staff for lots of the pushing by way of. The suitable staff will provide help to create and carve the dream.”
Based on Walker, advantages for girls within the style business now exist. “There’s totally different power proper now for girls proudly owning their superpowers unapologetically,” she shares. “It’s a good time to be an entrepreneur and Black ladies are one of many driving forces of entrepreneurship.”
Just lately, Walker launched The Walker Put on RAW Collection as a collaborative marketing campaign to share human tales and promote sustainability by way of visible content material, storytelling, and significant conversations. Every designer was chosen as a result of Walker genuinely grew to become followers of their work.
This month, for Black Historical past Month, the collection began by highlighting Black American style stylists and costume wardrobe designers all dipped in Walker Put on’s RAW denim or different kinds. The marketing campaign collection has been launched throughout social media platforms.
“This mission means loads to me as a result of it’s highlighting Black stylists, who’re so stuffed with expertise and time, nonetheless, aren’t afforded the identical alternatives or press, like different ethnicities” she shares. “We have now to be that change and have a good time one another. My hope is to foster contagious conduct and present how lateral cooperation creates vertical motion. It’s additionally essential to start out addressing how we are able to make modifications within the style business to be much less wasteful, extra accountable, and environmentally-friendly. We would like our planet to thrive sooner or later.”
Walker has additionally relaunched the Walker Put on model to bridge the hole of generations and reignite her love for creation and design. “It offers me an opportunity to find how younger folks suppose by collaborating and dealing with them. In a way, it retains me and my thoughts agile, not inflexible, and that’s a superb factor,” she playfully provides.
As a residing legend, she’s going to proceed to maneuver ahead with servant management, by mentoring and sharing gems from her guide, Walkergems, Get Your A$% Off The Couch. She can also be conducting on-line lessons in a BYOB (Be Your Personal Model) course for high-school college students who need to create and manifest their very own desires. “Collectively is best,” she declares.
**Editor’s Notice: The interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
(Picture: Courtesy of April Walker)