A$AP Bari of A$AP Mob kicked off the VLONE pop-up at Art Basel Miami recently. At the pop-up, fans can expect a collection of limited pieces to be available including painted denim, signature VLONE “V”-branded items alongside Nike, as well as capsule drops in conjunction with No Vacancy Inn, OFF-WHITE and Marino Infantry. The label is also offering a chance to buy the rare VLONE x Nike Air Force 1s via an in-store raffle. With retail prices ranging from $175 to $250 USD, the Miami pop-up is set to run from December 1 to December 4. Check out what went down on day one of the VLONE Art Basel Miami pop-up.
Imagine growing up in Harlem and Nike asking you to make your own pair of Air Force 1s or, as you’d call them, Uptowns. That’s exactly what ASAP Bari is dealing with right now, as his clothing brand, VLONE, is the most recent collaboration on the sneaker that’s approaching its 35th birthday.
The sneakers themselves are black with orange highlights, made from premium leather, and debuting at ComplexCon, which is going down right now in Long Beach, California. We had the opportunity to talk to Bari about what this project means to him and his neighborhood. Edison Chen, the Hong Kong entertainment mogul and co-founder of CLOT, was also able to provide insights on why the Air Force 1 remains a massive sneaker almost three and a half decades after they were first released.
A$AP Rocky announced to the world via tweet (and crying Benedict Cumberbatch GIF) last weekend that “Cozy Tapes Vol. 1” was finished.
“Cozy Tapes” has been a labor of love and devotion for Rocky. The project, which features multiple A$AP Mob members, was initiated by close friend A$AP Yams, who died suddenly in early 2015. While there’s no release date yet for “Cozy Tapes,” we’re one step closer today with the release of the film “Money Man,” which includes two tracks from the album.
The intense 12-minute short film was directed by AWGE, A$AP Rocky’s creative collective, and tells the tragic story of Rina, a character trapped in a world of crime and misfortune. It is soundtracked by the song “Money Man” featuring A$AP Nast and a second song featuring Skepta. Both songs were recorded at Red Bull Studios London.
The film — shot over three days in northwest London — also features A$AP Nast and Skepta. Also making an appearance is Said Taghmaoui, the screenwriter and actor, who starred in the groundbreaking 1995 French film “La Haine,” upon which the “Money Man” film takes its inspiration, and the acclaimed David O. Russell movie “Three Kings.”
Last month, A$AP Rocky dropped the track “Crazy Brazy” — featuring A$AP Rocky, the Atlanta rapper Key! and A$AP Twelvvy — which is also on “Cozy Tapes.” In an interview with MTV, Rocky called the album “an introduction to a new cozy way. It’s really rap-punk meets alternative underground.”
“It’s like the X-Men, and we’re a group of mutants,” says A$AP Bari of Vlone, the cult-fashion label that he helms alongside A$AP Rocky. “I’m Professor X just trying to bring people together to change the world.” To continue the metaphor, these mutants’ special powers are, essentially, their own fiercely particular type of personal style, or as Bari puts it, “Everybody that’s a part of Vlone has his own thoughts and creative vibe.” In the three years since the brand launched, it has garnered a following that extends far beyond the A$AP Mob: Fashion-forward music impresarios like Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa have worn the line, drawn to it for its various street-culled inspirations. This season, that translated into working with Virgil Abloh of Off-White on some pieces, as well as casting fellow rapper Lil Uzi Vert to model for the lookbook.
“Uzi is a young, up-and-coming artist, and he’s living the Vlone lifestyle,” said Bari. The Lamborghini convertible and Yamaha motorcycle featured in the shoot are there to represent the artist’s dreams realized. “Having the car he has always wanted, the bike he’s always wanted,” said Bari, “doing the things he likes to do. It might seem bourgeoisie or whatever, but it’s really about Uzi being happy in life.” The casting was a matter of art imitating life. Bari first met Uzi after he gave a shout-out to Vlone on his track “Ready Set Go (VLone).” Bari also liked Uzi’s laissez-faire approach to style. “He doesn’t care what he wears—he’s a rock star, and that’s why I love him,” said Bari. “He’s not a follower. He doesn’t dress like me or Rocky.” And as for the other half of Vlone, Bari says it’s a creative partnership the pair share, with the two engaged in something of a constant discussion. “Sometime I take Rocky’s suggestions, and sometimes he takes my suggestions,” said Bari. “Everything, including the design process, is based on a freestyle . . . back and forth, and we brainstorm.”
When A$AP Rocky released his Live. Love. A$AP mixtape, all the rules went out the window. Rocky belonged to A$AP Mob, a group of friends from Harlem who had built a fierce fan-base through a handful of free releases. Along with Drake’s OVO crew and the since-disbanded Odd Future, the Mob defined a new era of rap where groups of talented friends could boost each other to success. Two album cycles later, they’ve moved on to disrupting fashion.
“I make my own trends, my own style, my own lifestyle,” explains A$AP Bari, the Mob’s resident style expert. Along with Rocky, he helms the concept brand VLONE. “Nobody’s gonna hear you if you’re not out there yelling in their face,” he adds. With his husky whisper, it’s hard to imagine him yelling in anyone’s face. What the 24-year-old is getting at, though, is that it pays to be bold. VLONE lacks fashion industry traditions like seasons, set release dates, or an online store; that hasn’t deterred the brand’s devoted fans, though. On the opening day of VLONE’s Los Angeles pop-up in the arts district, a line stretched around the block hours before the doors would even open. Some die-hard fans had been camping out since the night before, when Bari and Rocky had presented their new “Freestyle” collection. It was modeled by skateboarders sliding and grinding along a two-story ramp.
The next morning, Bari skates around the warehouse space, modeling a look that Rocky will wear two days later when he takes the stage at Coachella: a pair of sweatpants emblazoned with flames and a sweatshirt stamped with the Donnie Darko quote, “Every living creature on Earth dies alone.” Like the rest of the collection, Bari dreamed up the outfit in only 24 hours. He credits this brisk creative pace to “magic, baby.” Like the spray-painted walls around us, the fit is inspired by Bari’s new home, California, and the scenes it reminds him of: “punk, metal, hip-hop and skate culture.”
Following the launch party of A$AP Bari’s VLONE label inside a cavernous space in Los Angeles, we take a look at the interior itself, which now plays host to a pop-up shop displaying the brand’s wares and collaborations with Virgil Abloh’s OFF-WHITE. Drawing influences from punk, skate culture, metal, and a range of other underground influences, the clothes feature VLONE branding over camo prints and on prison jumpsuits, and are displayed against graffiti-daubed walls and other paraphernalia. Open for the next two weeks only until April 30, take a look at the space above and plan a visit before it’s gone.
VLONE Pop-up Shop
Unit C, 801 Mateo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Four years is a long time in the Internet age. Just think: Four years ago you probably didn’t know what Uber was, had never used SnapChat, and you probably had never heard of a rapper named A$AP Rocky and his Harlem based crew, the A$AP Mob. In 2011, A$AP Rocky launched the A$AP movement after releasing an instant classic video called “Purple Swag.”
The video blew us away. Just when it was starting to feel like New York couldn’t produce new rap stars, a shirtless Rocky came strutting down the block on that bike sporting Jeremy Scott adidas with the charisma of 50 Cent, the sound of Houston, and a “alternative but traditional” aesthetic masterminded by the late, great A$AP Yams. Four years later and Rocky is a full blown star who recently got his third Complex cover and has his highly anticipated sophomore album slated for later this year. That’s why this song was ripe for a Magnum Opus treatment.
None of what Rocky—and the rest of the Mob—has accomplished these past few years would have been possible if it wasn’t for “Purple Swag.” So we got with the main members of the Mob including Rocky, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Nast, and A$AP Bari to talk about how the Mob came together and how Rocky crafted the song. Of course, we all also took time out to talk about the genius of A$AP Yams, who tragically passed away earlier this year, and how he helped the song blow up. As great as the song is, it certainly wouldn’t have had the same impact without it’s corresponding video. So we also spoke with director Jason Ano as well as everybody’s favorite white girl with gold grills, Anna Trill. And finally, with all the debate that the song sparked about whether or not New York rappers should be using a Southern sound, we just had to speak with the Trill OG himself, Bun B about why he’s cool with Rocky’s H-Town influence.
When talking about the A$AP Mob, it’s easy to assume that everyone involved is a rapper. While it’s true that everyone can spit a few bars, their talents are not relegated strictly to music. That couldn’t be more true of A$AP Bari. A multi-talented designer, stylist, and occasional rapper, A$AP Bari is one of the founding members of the A$AP Crew, together with A$AP Yams and Illz. A Harlem native, Bari’s personal style, tastes, and approach to fashion are a product of his environment. Now a tastemaker in his own right, A$AP Bari is also the man behind cult label VLONE. It’s not often that he does interviews but he was good enough to chop it up with CLOT while spending some time in Hong Kong before flying out to Japan. We talked about stylistic inspirations, growing up in Harlem, experiencing Paris Fashion Week, and travelling the world. Check out the full interview below.
Despite being relatively low-key, Bari is the man to talk to when it comes to fashion and style. Here he talks about his stylistic inspirations, growing up in Harlem, experiencing Fashion Week in Paris, and taking in new cultures around the world. Check out the full interview below and stay tuned for more.