At BET, we’re privileged to have fun our Blackness daily. In honor of Black Historical past Month, we’re pulling out additional confetti as we profile a number of the most influential Black folks within the style and sweetness industries—particularly if their accomplishments and contributions are ignored by mainstream society. Cheers to our icons!
As a lady who by no means noticed herself being a style legend, April Walker has made main strides within the multi-billion-dollar enterprise. In reality, her signature streetwear clothes resulted in an especially profitable legacy that also performs a serious position in hip hop tradition in the present day.
Based on Walker, she might have by no means imagined the influence 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 gives, “I additionally received finest wearing highschool and beloved the artwork of ‘getting fly.’
For a lady, who single-handedly modified the best way celebrities specific themselves on the pink carpet, Walker is humble. In case you’re not conversant in her model, Walker Wear, it solely takes a fast Google search to seek out a number of the hottest rappers like Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, and Jay-Z sporting her custom-made appears in pictures and video shoots.
As we reminisced over the previous like a therapeutic jam session, it turned all clear: Walker Put on began with Walker’s love for hip hop. “I grew up in love with music.” She concluded she wished to be concerned on the 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. “Vogue is such a type of self-expression like music, however we didn’t have many options exterior of Dapper Dan and some others that have been beginning out, so I made a decision to create.”
In 1987, the bold designer began her first atelier store, Vogue In Impact. “There was a necessity for this style life-style 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 will get me up early within the morning and the one factor that will maintain me going to mattress late at night time with out grievance. I beloved it.”
After constructing a staff, Vogue In Impact would make it some extent 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 properly but it surely wasn’t in a single day. “There have been quite a lot of steps that have been taken to construct the momentum,” she says. “Keep 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 quite a lot of hustle.”
FYI: The hustle was actual. Walker created her-story as the primary lady to dominate the streetwear style sport. She additionally turned a trailblazer that opened the doorways for girls in distribution, whereas commanding tens of millions 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 largely catered to males (menswear). That was a problem.”
She continues, “Being a lady 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 method to push by way of. I credit score my staff for lots of the pushing by way of. The precise staff will enable you 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.”
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 turned followers of their work.
This month, for Black Historical past Month, the sequence began by highlighting Black American style stylists and costume wardrobe designers all dipped in Walker Put on’s RAW denim or different types. The marketing campaign sequence has been launched throughout social media platforms.
“This venture means quite a bit to me as a result of it’s highlighting Black stylists, who’re so stuffed with expertise and time, nevertheless, aren’t afforded the identical alternatives or press, like different ethnicities” she shares. “We have now to be that change and have fun one another. My hope is to foster contagious conduct and present how lateral cooperation creates vertical motion. It’s additionally necessary to start out addressing how we are able to make adjustments within the style business to be much less wasteful, extra accountable, and environmentally-friendly. We wish 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 assume by collaborating and dealing with them. In a way, it retains me and my thoughts agile, not inflexible, and that’s an excellent factor,” she playfully provides.
As a dwelling legend, she’s going to proceed to maneuver ahead with servant management, by mentoring and sharing gems from her ebook, Walkergems, Get Your A$% Off The Couch. She can be conducting on-line courses in a BYOB (Be Your Personal Model) course for high-school college students who need to create and manifest their very own goals. “Collectively is best,” she declares.
**Editor’s Word: The interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
(Photograph: Courtesy of April Walker)