Rather Unique: A$AP Rocky & The Mob’s Early Impact on Footwear & Fashion

Last night at midnight, A$AP Rocky dropped the long-awaited and aptly titled At.Long.Last.A$AP, moving the launch up in what was likely a reaction to a leak. In his three and a half years on the scene, Rocky has risen as the new face of hip-hop fashion, following the likes of modern day forefathers such as Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, though still paving a trail all his own.

While the Louis Vuitton Don and Skateboard P both popped and faced persecution for their sartorial selections, Rocky’s renaissance has been bold and brazen just the same but also a group effort. Paying close attention to not only Rockstar Rocky but also other members of the A$AP Worldwide wave, we take a look at their collective contributions to modern fashion and sneaker culture.

A$AP Rocky

(Left photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images via Zimbio & right photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images via Zimbio)

Unique Sneaker Models: Nike Air Force 1 Mid, vintage Air Jordan 4s, Rick Owens x adidas Runner, Jeremy Scott x adidas models, Raf Simons x adidas models

To break through you have to be different. With relatively no blog buzz before or industry co-signs leading up, A$AP Rocky became the ‘it guy’ almost immediately with the release of the “Purple Swag” video and Live.Love.A$AP mixtape.

Hailing from Harlem but harkening Houston, Rocky’s humble homage and braggadocio bars ushered in a new sound built off dark, dripping beats from the likes of Clams Casino, SpaceGhostPurpp and A$AP Ty Beats.

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Echoing the impact, Rocky looked like he sounded. His street goth garb and penchant for mixing streetwear with designer fashion mirrored his mixtape sonics and changed the way both peers ten years his senior were styled and how young New York dressed. Raising the profile of Pigalle, Palace, Hood by Air, Pyrex and other brands that have redefined modern streetwear, Rocky also forged authentic relationships with designer titans like Alexander Wang and Jeremy Scott.

A partnership with adidas saw Rocky as the recipient of a Jeremy Scott collab, backed by early access to exclusive drops from Raf Simons and Rick Owens. Never tied to just one brand, his unofficial endorsement of the Nike Air Force 1 Mid made it a style staple for the first time in years while his ability to pull out old Jordans kept him on the pages of CSS.

photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images via Zimbio

The noir sound and odd outfits were further complimented and somewhat contrasted by the Always $trive and Prosper mantra that big upped everything from equal rights to a Pescitarian diet. He gave props to gay designers, rocked with the ruggedest rappers and made a name for himself by including cultures rather than building off beef.

A$AP Yams

Unique Sneaker Models: Nike Air Force 1 Mid, vintage Air Jordan 4s, Clarks Wallabees

The architect of the A$AP Mob movement, A$AP Yams had the rare ability to respect and relish in Old New York while still moving the music and the culture forward. Why was this? His love for the music was definitely rooted in his region but it ranged far beyond it. Yams possessed an amazing ear, handpicking every beat on the seminal Live.Love.A$AP mixtape while mentoring an array of young artists inside and outside of the extended A$AP family.

From a style standpoint, Yams’ ability to pull from the past while moving forward was also very apparent. Yams was one of the first people on the scene to sport the For All to Envy all-over graphic tees that helped kickstart the Cam’ron clothing craze (respect to fellow early innovator Dertbag, too) and Master P-inspired Pen n Pixel artwork homage. His sense of humor and diverse taste showed nods to everything from Nu Metal to a love for pro wrestling, expressed through outfits, Instagram photos and his famous Tumblr page.

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Respected by his peers and writers alike, Maxo Kream credits Yams for bringing back the headband while Jian DeLeon of Complex/Four-Pins features Yams as the face of the Cozy Boyz movement — a wave which hit literally every tier of fashion. Though Yams’ contributions to culture and once in a lifetime ear are extremely important, Eastside Stevie will be best remembered for being a mentor to a wide range of young artists and a good, fun loving guy.

A$AP Twelvyy

Unique Sneaker Models: Early Nike LeBrons, rare retro Jordans, classic Air Maxes, Nike Air Force 1 Highs

The resident sneakerhead of the A$AP Mob, A$AP Twelvyy packs a balanced rotation by staying on top of releases but never following trends. While daunting drops like the “Dover Street Market” 1s or “Mirror” Foamposites find Twelvyy on top of his game, it’s throwback wears like “Christ the King” LeBrons or “Aqua” 8s that prove he’s be on it for more than a minute. In a jogger generation, Mel makes his mark by sporting hardwood classics and iconic Air Maxes with good denim.

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As a guest editor for Celebrity Sneaker Stalker, Twelvyy gave props to his peers via his personal picks while bringing the heat himself. A man of the people, 2-12 is definitely in tune with the kick culture but still strives off his own taste.

A$AP Nast

Unique Sneaker Models: Nike Air Clogposite, Nike Air Slant, New Balance 990v3, Alexander McQueen sneakers, Nike Air Max Plus

While Rocky resides on the runway and in the front row of Fashion Weeks in the US and abroad, A$AP Nast has arrived as one of the most stylish members of the Mob.

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Last summer, Nast’s Parisian prep look saw a sharp contrast to the gaudy graphics that were dominating the States. By electing clean color blocking on the likes of Lacoste apparel paired with simple sneakers and sportswear accessories, he stood out in a sea of artists trying to do too much simply by doing less. All the while he could still flip the tennis steez for vintage rock tees and 90’s nostalgia. If you’re looking for what’s next in menswear or more so what’s missing, follow Nast on IG for some of the most worldly, well-rounded outfits.

A$AP Ferg

(Left photo by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images via Zimbio and right photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images via Zimbio)

Unique Sneaker Models: Nike Air Max Plus, Nike Air Force 1 Mid “Jewel Swoosh,” Raf Simons x adidas Response Trail, Vans Old Skool, Converse Pro Leather

The second breakout star of the A$AP movement, A$AP Ferg possesses a level of energy, emotion, unpredictability and charisma that brings to mind Busta Rhymes. With “Work” and “Shabba” he already has two bonafide smashes, and truth be told should have a third with “Doe-Activate.”

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The son of Harlem apparel and logo designer D. Ferg, young Ferg has shown the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree by his ability to create on a variety of canvases. In only a few years on the scene, he has already collaborated with the likes of Bathing Ape and released his own Trap Lord clothing line. Early on, his penchant for vintage tees and vintage sportswear coupled with his ability to layer and take risks stood out, only to be backed on screen by his visuals. In addition, his footwear favorites have always been classic and diverse.

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Far from the foot, the tribal face paint he’s been rocking as of late is about as tough and far left as those two taglines could find themselves, appearing on Ferg at Fashion Week and in interviews.

A$AP Bari

middle photo via Christina Paik

Alongside Yams, A$AP Bari helped establish the A$AP Worldwide movement we see today. As fashion focused as any member of the collective, his ability to take risks and think forward is better backed by his ability to create.

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While high fashion designers revamping Air Force 1s is nothing new in 2015, all the way back in 2013 Bari was bringing them back via his “Toast the Gods” customs. Those efforts were followed up on the apparel front by his VLONE clothing line in 2014. If you’ve kept up with Bari’s moves over the years, he was early on white denim, is wise to the grime wave from the UK and always willing to take risks. While the Virgil comparisons may come off as cliche, it’s clear that Bari  has big things on the way.

photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images via Zimbio

Aside from the aforementioned A$AP members, the likes of A$AP Illz, A$AP Ant, J. Scott, Chace Infinite, Matthew Henson, A$AP Lou, A$AP Ty Beats and others are doing their thing in modeling, rapping, mixing, managing and more. A$AP affiliate Ian Connor is managed by Rocky and a true talent in his own right, helping craft the grunge meets streetwear look that set Wiz Khalifa apart in the past year while also managing Playboi Carti.

A group of culturally aware creatives that were inspired by both 2Pac and X-Pac, the A$AP crew gets it better than just about anybody out there. By both paying homage and thinking ahead, a crew of kids from Harlem and beyond have shaped the culture that helped shape them.

A$AP Rocky’s At.Long.Last.A$AP is available now on iTunes.

Lead image photos by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images via Zimbio & by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images via Zimbio.

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