At BET, we’re privileged to have a good time our Blackness day-after-day. In honor of Black Historical past Month, we’re pulling out additional confetti as we profile among the most influential Black individuals 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. The truth is, her signature streetwear clothes resulted in an especially profitable legacy that also performs a significant function in hip hop tradition immediately.
Based on Walker, she might have by no means imagined the influence she’d have on city style. “I didn’t develop up understanding that I might pursue style, although once I look again on it, I used to save lots of my style hangtags to make wall collages with them,” she tells BET Model solely. Reminiscing on her youth, she humbly provides, “I additionally gained finest wearing highschool and cherished the artwork of ‘getting fly.’
For a girl, who single-handedly modified the way in which celebrities categorical themselves on the pink carpet, Walker is humble. Should you’re not conversant in her model, Walker Wear, it solely takes a fast Google search to search out among 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.
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 this 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 exterior of Dapper Dan and some others that had been beginning out, so I made a decision to create.”
In 1987, the bold 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 may get me up early within the morning and the one factor that may hold me going to mattress late at night time with out grievance. I cherished it.”
After constructing a group, Style 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 lots 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 lots of hustle.”
FYI: The hustle was actual. Walker created her-story as the primary girl to dominate the streetwear style recreation. She additionally grew to become 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 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 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 solution to push by means of. I credit score my group for lots of the pushing by means of. The proper group will assist you to create and carve the dream.”
Based on Walker, advantages for ladies within the style trade now exist. “There’s completely different power proper now for ladies 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 sequence 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 sequence has been launched throughout social media platforms.
“This undertaking 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’ve got to be that change and have a good time one another. My hope is to foster contagious habits and present how lateral cooperation creates vertical motion. It’s additionally necessary to start out addressing how we will make modifications 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 individuals assume by collaborating and dealing with them. In a way, it retains me and my thoughts agile, not inflexible, and that’s a great factor,” 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 ebook, 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 goals. “Collectively is best,” she declares.
**Editor’s Observe: The interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
(Picture: Courtesy of April Walker)