#TBT: Fabolous Talks Hosting His First NYFW Runway Show, Fashion Inspirations & More
When it comes to fashion, Fabolous has been setting trends his entire music career. This year he took it to a whole new level. The Breevort Projects born M.C has been the face of Brooklyn swag since getting his feet planted in the game in the early 2000’s.
Embodying all aspects of what that cocky “I'm too fly for life” attitude Brooklyn dudes have been known to have, Fab became the poster child for the NYC borough and remained a major trendsetter to this day. But for 2017, Loso reached new heights by becoming one of the CDFA NYFW Ambassadors. To shake the fashion world up even more, he curated his own runway show right in the heart of downtown Brooklyn mid-February.
The one night show, held at Brooklyn's legendary Vinnie Styles, not only spotlighted fly threads but also served as a pop up where fans could purchase pieces from his ‘Blood’s Thicker Summertime Shootout 2’ SS17 line. The legendary boutique has been getting Brooklyn fly for years, ever since the "in script Brooklyn" tees and was literally only a dollar cab ride away from Flatbush when most fashion week events are in Manhattan.
Entrance to the runway show was invite only. People were lined up wrapped around the block of the store, although not everyone was granted entry to see the models walk. Vinnie Styles has large glass windows, allowing fans waiting in line to purchase merchandise to experience the show from the outside as well. During the D'Usse-sponsored pre-show mixer, hip-hop industry artists, management and their affiliates sipped and chatted in anticipation for this half-private, half-public show. During the show, Fab had special guests serve as the models for the line, including Trey Songz, NYC rapper Dave East, Love & Hip Hop star Cardi B and the sensational model Bernice Burgos. The models walked thru the store sporting the pieces in all their hood elegance. Although not walking in the show, ASAP Ferg (with his cozy threads) was also in attendance, watching from the crowd with his right-hand, Marty Baller.
Everything about the show was in sync, from the location to the models right on down to the seating arrangements. It was almost like alchemy the way Vinnie’s was transformed into a mini runway. We can salute Brittney Escovedo and Beyond 8 for the production. We thank Fabolous for going against the paradigms of Fashion Week and bringing a show to the locals of Brooklyn in a store that epitomizes Brooklyn street fashion. Now how Brooklyn is that? At the end of the show, we sat down with Fab for a few moments to reflect on his debut event.
VIBE: Why did you choose Vinnie's as the spot for your big show?
Fabolous: Because Vinnie's is such a landmark for Brooklyn street wear. It's also been connected to my career since a time where they had first opened and it was when I was coming up. It ran hand in hand with me. When I wanted to get fly I would come down to Vinnie’s and grab me a sweatshirt, or a tee shirt, or the Brooklyn shirt, everybody in Brooklyn had that shirt. It was like coming back full circle for me.
Who was the lead designer on the merch line?
It was a couple actually. We did [the flannels] with an artist, who hand painted on them. His name is Lavan Wright. With the split shirt, we came up with the design from a guy named Kai, his brand is called By Kai. I thought it was dope because I did two tapes: this time was Summertime Shootout 2, and the other side was Summertime Shootout. We just combined them and made a split shirt out of them and it came out really cool.
What is the significance behind the Summertime Shootout name? I know that was a old clue mixtape form back in the day.
The way I looked at it was like I grew up in the hood in Brooklyn and the summer time was always like a fun time, but at the same time it could dangerous too. Everybody’s out and you get a lot of friction, a lot of heat in the air. It makes a beautiful disaster and that’s where the Summertime Shootout comes from. Everybody's always looking towards summer time, that weather and that enjoyment but then it's a lot of times where things ignite in the summer and a lot of things go too far. I figured from that Clue mixtape that name always stuck with me because it relates to me so well. I remember so many times in the summer there was shootouts and things going on and it was just a part of it. It wasn’t even like you regretted it; you still was looking forward to next summer. It was like oh damn, my man got killed but we gon’ rep him and next summer we gonna ball again. It was just a part of the culture.
Do you know who Roy Litchenstein is?
Okay, just testing you because you used his artwork for your mixtape cover.
He was an inspiration behind the cover and we just took it and flipped it behind the titling and the music as well. The first one had the gun, the cloud with the sun and the girl crying because the theme of the song was how much fun you could have, what you can get into and then something tragic can happen at the end of the summer, too. I used Dave East on the [last] song and he starts off his verse saying, “Malik died in the summer.” He remembered somebody close to him dying in the summer as well and that’s where the "Summertime Sadness" song came from and that was the song on the outro of the first tape.
How do you remember downtown Brooklyn back in the day?
Real different, man. A little more thug but I watched it change. I watched even Vinnie’s go from a little corner store to where we are now. I think growth is a big part of everything, it think even growth for Brooklyn, growth for Downtown Brooklyn is good. When the Barclays [Center] came there alone you knew it had to grow. You couldn’t put it smack dab downtown and be surrounded by projects. I think it’s a cool element even down to the Barclays; they gave a lot jobs to the people in the community. I go into the Barclays and see people from all over Brooklyn working there so I respect that. I’m not mad at the growth at all.
What were some known spots you used to buy your gear from?
Definitely Vinnie’s, and if we talking Brooklyn spots, definitely S&D Underground. Those were my two main spots. For sneakers, we went to a few different spots, it was really about who had them.
If you couldn't include yourself, who do you feel was the flyest dude in Brooklyn in your eyes?
I would have to say Hov man, its too many trends that he’s set. To even think down to the things that he killed he could speak on it and be like that ain't it no more.
Like how he killed the whole jersey wave and went to the button ups?
Yea man, I even had to bring the button ups back this winter but with layers. I thought it got oversaturated for the first run, but the button ups still a cool comfortable piece.
You started a lot of fashion trends that some people may or may not give you credit for. What's one of your favorite trends you feel you started regardless of what anyone says?
I definitely would have to say the jersey thing, because people were doing it but it wasn’t to the magnitude that I did it. You know, matching it with the hats and the sneakers, that whole put together [look]. That whole lane, you have to contribute that to me. People that was doing it was wearing them here and there, or just wearing them with whatever. Even Andre 3000 would wear them with some fur pants, but it wasn’t to the way I did it.
Yea nobody did it like you. Especially being a young dude from Brooklyn myself, growing up we worshiped you for the jerseys.
Thank you. I definitely gotta keep going, I ain't gonna stop.
What are your thoughts about being the 2017 Men's Fashion Week ambassador?
I thought it was cool, it opened a door for me to step in with lot of brands and designers and see how things work. It even opened up the door for me to be able to do something like this pop up. I got to see how things get put together. Of course we didn’t have as much strategic planning as a high end fashion brand, but it was still something cool, a cool event where people in the neighborhood can come here and really experience fashion week almost.
Yeah it is literally only a dollar cab ride here for me. I’m glad it was so close.
Right. With Fashion Week, not to take away from it, but you know it's in the city and it’s a different crowd. This was something for the hood so that they can have their own Fashion Week.