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April Walker: Meet The Woman Who Shaped 90s Hip Hop Fashion With Streetwear Worn By Tupac, LL Cool J, And More!

At BET, we’re privileged to rejoice our Blackness day by day. In honor of Black History Month, we’re pulling out further confetti as we profile a few of the most influential Black folks within the trend and wonder industries—particularly if their accomplishments and contributions are neglected by mainstream society. Cheers to our icons!

As a girl who by no means noticed herself being a trend 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 significant function in hip hop tradition at the moment. 

According to Walker, she may have by no means imagined the affect she’d have on city trend. “I did not grow up knowing that I would pursue fashion, though when I look back on it, I used to save my fashion hangtags to make wall collages with them,” she tells BET Style completely. Reminiscing on her youth, she humbly gives, “I additionally gained finest wearing highschool and beloved the artwork of ‘getting fly.’

For a girl, who single-handedly modified the way in which celebrities categorical themselves on the crimson carpet, Walker is humble. If 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 to be in pictures and video shoots. 

EVENING IN HONOUR OF MICKEY ROURKE AT NELLO'S (Photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald/Sygma via Getty Images)

(Photo: Lawrence Schwartzwald/Sygma through Getty Images)

As we reminisced over the previous like a therapeutic jam session, it turned all clear: Walker Wear began with Walker’s love for hip hop. “I grew up in love with music.” She concluded she needed 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—trend. “When hip hop music came on the scene, I had a natural affinity for it,” she explains. “Fashion is such a form of self-expression like music, but we didn’t have many alternatives outside of Dapper Dan and a few others that were starting out, so I decided to create.”

RELATED | Dapper Dan: The Man Behind Some Of Hip Hop’s Hottest Looks—See His Most Iconic Designs On Your Favorite Stars!

In 1987, the formidable designer began her first atelier store, Fashion In Effect. “There was a need for this fashion lifestyle that existed. I knew my tribe was there, but we weren’t being serviced,” she tells us. “I knew that this was my passion because I went all in from the beginning. It was the one thing that would get me up early in the morning and the one thing that would keep me going to bed late at night without complaint. I loved it.”

After constructing a group, Fashion In Effect 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 these confirmations gave us the gumption to start a clothing line,” she explains.

According to Walker, the model was acquired effectively but it surely wasn’t in a single day. “There were a lot of steps that were taken to build the momentum,” she says. “Remember, this is before the internet and before cell phones. So literally, building a brand was through trial, error, word of mouth, credibility, and a lot of hustle.”

FYI: The hustle was actual. Walker created her-story as the primary girl to dominate the streetwear trend sport. She additionally turned a trailblazer that opened the doorways for girls in distribution, whereas commanding thousands and thousands in gross sales.

Despite all of the success achieved within the trend trade, there have been loads of trials forward for the New Yorker. “I entered the fashion industry full of elitism and hierarchy,” she explains. “I was trailblazing in this new lane with a focus on hip hop, which was mostly catered to men (menswear). That was a challenge.”

She continues, “Being a woman in a man’s world wasn’t easy. Finding funding for a new category that didn’t yet exist wasn’t easy, but still, we found a way to push through. I credit my team for a lot of the pushing through. The right team will help you create and carve the dream.” 

According to Walker, advantages for girls within the trend trade now exist. “There is different energy right now for women owning their superpowers unapologetically,” she shares. “It’s a great time to be an entrepreneur and Black women are one of the driving forces of entrepreneurship.”

Recently, Walker launched The Walker Wear RAW Series as a collaborative marketing campaign to share human tales and promote sustainability by visible content material, storytelling, and significant conversations. Each designer was chosen as a result of Walker genuinely turned followers of their work. 

RELATED | INTERVIEW: Alexander-John Designs Glow-In-The-Dark Sneakers So Women Can Finally Be ‘Seen’

This month, for Black History Month, the sequence began by highlighting Black American trend stylists and costume wardrobe designers all dipped in Walker Wear’s RAW denim or different kinds. The marketing campaign sequence has been launched throughout social media platforms.

Domo (@styledxdomo)

Domo (@styledxdomo)

(Photo Courtesy of Walker Wear | Creative Director/Photographer: DOMO | Photographer Dani B: @dvn1b)

“This project means a lot to me because it’s highlighting Black stylists, who are so full of talent and time, however, aren’t afforded the same opportunities or press, like other ethnicities” she shares. “We have to be that change and celebrate each other. My hope is to foster contagious behavior and show how lateral cooperation creates vertical movement. It’s also important to start addressing how we can make changes in the fashion industry to be less wasteful, more responsible, and environmentally-friendly. We want our planet to thrive in the future.”

Walker has additionally relaunched the Walker Wear model to bridge the hole of generations and reignite her love for creation and design. “It gives me a chance to discover how young people think by collaborating and working with them. In a sense, it keeps me and my mind agile, not rigid, and that’s a good thing,” she playfully provides.

As a residing legend, she is going to proceed to maneuver ahead with servant management, by mentoring and sharing gems from her e-book, Walkergems, Get Your A$% Off The Couch. She can also be conducting on-line courses in a BYOB (Be Your Own Brand) course for high-school college students who wish to create and manifest their very own goals. “Together is better,” she declares.

**Editor’s Note: The interview has been edited and condensed for readability. 

(Photo: Courtesy of April Walker)

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