Though rapper T.I. may be one of the latest additions to the sprawling list of rappers-turned fashion designers, his clothing line AKOO is certainly in a league of its own.
AKOO, (an acronym for A King of One’s Self), is a contemporary men’s clothing line of jeans, hoodies, polo shirts, jackets, sweaters and bags. The line hit shelves in 2008 and since its inception, it’s received tremendous acclaim for its unique combination of military, urban and preppy designs.
The brand’s creative director Ralph Reynolds believes the line is a perfect interpretation of its founder T.I.’s style, who’s no stranger to fashion. In 2009, he appeared on GQ Magazine’s “10 Stylish Men in America” list.
“T.I. always carries himself in a dual personality,” Reynolds told the AFRO in a recent interview. “On one side, he’s brash, harsh, strong and bragging and on the other side, he’s a young gentleman.
Reynolds said many rappers assume success in the music industry translates to a successful career in fashion designing, but many have discovered that that is not always the case.
“I think the edge has to come naturally,” he said. “Ours is the amount of work that we put into the details of the brand.” Though AKOO’s stylish and trendsetting collections might appease the consumer’s eye, some of its prices could leave a significant dent in their pockets. But designers insist that the quality of the product is well worth its potentially steep price tag.
“It’s not the cheapest one out there, that’s a struggle sometimes because of who we are and the market that we’re in and also the economy we’re in today,” Reynolds said. “But we insist on it being a certain quality and we insist on certain standards. Our lowest priced jean is around $72 and our highest priced-point jean to date has been around $180.”
The brand is currently gearing up for its winter collection which will include vintage sweaters, cardigans, letterman jackets long-sleeved shirts and screen printed tees. In the future, designers plan to do more partnerships with other brands similar to its successful cobranded G-Shock Watch which was released earlier this year.
“Our goals are to open up other categories,” Reynolds said. “I hope to do leather and small leather goods, more co-branding and other things that are not typical in the market, as we continue to grow the breath of the brand.”
For more information on AKOO, visit www.akooclothingbrand.com.