It’s a pretty well-known fact that hip-hop has expanded from just a genre to an entire culture that reaches every facet of its fans’ lives and has a major impact on pop culture as a whole. Because of this, it’s safe to say that hip-hop artists and fans have become an economic engine creating extremely profitable trends. Many companies have taken notice of this and began to capitalize on this influence.
Most recently Nautica has named rapper, Lil Yachty, as their newest Creative Designer. The relationship between the two began in 2016 when Yachty served as the face for Nautica’s Urban Outfitters collection. This partnership expansion couldn’t have come at a better time for the company who has been struggling to remain relevant with younger demographics. Yachty is popular right now and easily recognizable by his red hair and beads; moreover, his style shows a love for the 90’s vintage style clothes that many would associate with Nautica. Also, it’s kind of hard to miss the connection between Lil Yachty aka Lil Boat and Nautica’s obvious sailor connotation.
Yachty told WWD, “Nautica is like a part of me. It’s for kids, sailors, grown men and cool people… The old designs, the new designs, I think it’s dope. There’s not really much out there like Nautica.”
Along with the announcement of their newest team member, Nautica released a limited-edition collection curated by Lil Yachty that included re-releases of vintage logo t-shirts and pullover fleeces, among other items. This collection fits in perfectly with Yachty’s style of bringing back 90’s streetwear which is extremely popular right now.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see Lil Yachty grow as an artist and potentially as a player in the fashion industry. While his position as a Creative Designer with Nautica is only for 2017, I believe that it may be expanded once Nautica sees the full impact of having a hip-hop artist on board. I’m also excited to see more brands partner with members of the hip-hop community.
I’d much rather see brands incorporate the people making the trends into their teams, instead of trying to figure it out on their own. When rappers, especially new rappers, are brought on board with major companies I can’t help but be happy to see the fashion industry deciding to share the wealth. With all that the hip-hop/Black community has created and done for pop culture and fashion, we at least deserve a piece of the pie.
Be the zeitgeist.