At BET, we’re privileged to rejoice our Blackness each 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 style and sweetness 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 style legend, April Walker has made main strides within the multi-billion-dollar enterprise. Actually, her signature streetwear clothes resulted in a particularly profitable legacy that also performs a significant function in hip hop tradition at present.
In accordance with Walker, she might have by no means imagined the affect she’d have on city style. “I didn’t develop up realizing that I might pursue style, although once I look again on it, I used to avoid wasting my style hangtags to make wall collages with them,” she tells BET Model solely. Reminiscing on her youth, she humbly gives, “I additionally received greatest wearing highschool and beloved the artwork of ‘getting fly.’
For a lady, who single-handedly modified the way in which celebrities categorical themselves on the pink carpet, Walker is humble. In the event you’re not aware of 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 photos 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. “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 had 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 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 hold me going to mattress late at night time with out criticism. I beloved it.”
After constructing a crew, 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.
In accordance with Walker, the model was acquired nicely nevertheless it wasn’t in a single day. “There have been plenty of steps that had 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 plenty of hustle.”
FYI: The hustle was actual. Walker created her-story as the primary girl to dominate the streetwear style recreation. She additionally turned a trailblazer that opened the doorways for ladies in distribution, whereas commanding hundreds of thousands in gross sales.
Regardless of all of the success achieved within the style trade, there have been loads of trials forward for the New Yorker. “I entered the style trade filled 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 girl 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 approach to push by means of. I credit score my crew for lots of the pushing by means of. The fitting crew will enable you to create and carve the dream.”
In accordance with Walker, advantages for ladies within the style trade now exist. “There’s totally different power proper now for ladies 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 Sequence 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 turned 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 quite a bit to me as a result of it’s highlighting Black stylists, who’re so filled with expertise and time, nevertheless, aren’t afforded the identical alternatives or press, like different ethnicities” she shares. “We’ve to be that change and rejoice 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 style trade 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 a superb 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 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 need to create and manifest their very own goals. “Collectively is healthier,” she declares.
**Editor’s Notice: The interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
(Photograph: Courtesy of April Walker)