At BET, we’re privileged to have a good time our Blackness every single day. In honor of Black Historical past Month, we’re pulling out additional confetti as we profile a few of the most influential Black folks within the vogue and wonder industries—particularly if their accomplishments and contributions are missed by mainstream society. Cheers to our icons!
As a lady who by no means noticed herself being a vogue legend, April Walker has made main strides within the multi-billion-dollar enterprise. In reality, her signature streetwear clothes resulted in a particularly profitable legacy that also performs a serious position in hip hop tradition right now.
Based on Walker, she may have by no means imagined the influence she’d have on city vogue. “I didn’t develop up figuring out that I might pursue vogue, although after I look again on it, I used to save lots of my vogue hangtags to make wall collages with them,” she tells BET Fashion completely. Reminiscing on her youth, she humbly affords, “I additionally gained greatest wearing highschool and liked the artwork of ‘getting fly.’
For a girl, who single-handedly modified the way in which celebrities specific themselves on the pink carpet, Walker is humble. If you happen to’re not conversant in her model, Walker Wear, it solely takes a fast Google search to seek 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 to be in photographs 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 the earth of hip hop the second she heard the beat drop, and it was a no brainer simply the route she wanted to take—vogue. “When hip hop music got here on the scene, I had a pure affinity for it,” she explains. “Trend is such a type of self-expression like music, however we didn’t have many 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, Trend In Impact. “There was a necessity for this vogue 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 might get me up early within the morning and the one factor that might preserve me going to mattress late at evening with out grievance. I liked it.”
After constructing a group, Trend 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 nicely but it surely wasn’t in a single day. “There have been numerous 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 means of trial, error, phrase of mouth, credibility, and numerous hustle.”
FYI: The hustle was actual. Walker created her-story as the primary girl to dominate the streetwear vogue sport. She additionally grew to become 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 vogue trade, there have been loads of trials forward for the New Yorker. “I entered the style trade stuffed with elitism and hierarchy,” she explains. “I used to be trailblazing on this new lane with a deal with hip hop, which was principally catered to males (menswear). That was a problem.”
She continues, “Being a lady in a person’s world wasn’t straightforward. Discovering funding for a brand new class that didn’t but exist wasn’t straightforward, however nonetheless, we discovered a method to push by means of. I credit score my group for lots of the pushing by means of. The best group will provide help to create and carve the dream.”
Based on Walker, advantages for girls within the vogue trade now exist. “There may be 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 girls are one of many driving forces of entrepreneurship.”
Not too long ago, Walker launched The Walker Put on RAW Collection as a collaborative marketing campaign to share human tales and promote sustainability by means 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 vogue stylists and costume wardrobe designers all dipped in Walker Put on’s RAW denim or different types. The marketing campaign collection has been launched throughout social media platforms.
“This challenge means so much 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 will make adjustments within the vogue trade 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 provides 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 very good 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 be conducting on-line lessons in a BYOB (Be Your Personal Model) course for high-school college students who wish to create and manifest their very own desires. “Collectively is healthier,” she declares.
**Editor’s Notice: The interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
(Picture: Courtesy of April Walker)