Last Thursday, Lil' Wayne fêted the launch of his new clothing label TRUKFIT at Manhattan's Hotel Americano amid a few famous friends and a flurry of silver men. It was a typically unconventional event for the rapper, whose wacky clothing sensibilities now have a creative and commercial outlet of their own.
Sporting a vague "future skateboarder" feel, TRUKFIT's clothing reflects the rapper's eclectic tastes in sports, culture, technology and, of course, music. Camouflage cargo shorts, video game graphics and Beats by Dre headphones figured heavily into the looks on display, though we've since learned that many more looks will be unveiled for the line's online arrival later this month.
On a recent webisode of "Lil' Weezy's Sports Corner," the diminutive artist declared that his line would be the "best ever." For this month's promotional mini-tour for TRUKFIT, he's been attending trade shows with stylist Marissa Torres. Thursday night, Wayne arrived to his own party just long enough to evaluate his model army, express his approval and flee with his posse to the jam-packed back chambers of El Privado, where an open bar awaited guests. Timbaland, Russell Simmons, and several members of the Cash Money crew were on hand to celebrate, as was his manager, Cortez Bryant. Bryant has high hopes for the line, expressing to Rolling Stone that, like all things Weezy, it's a unique endeavor that reflects modern and youthful interests.
"This line is derived from what he represents, which is a lot," says Bryant. "It's skate. It's street. It's pop. It's rock. It's country. It's anything! You can't put Wayne in a box, and you can't put what he wears in a box. One day he's in snowboots, the next day he's in a goddamn fitted cap and locs, N.W.A. style. He's unusual."
Calling himself the "executor" of Wayne's "vision," he suggested that each shipment of TRUKFIT will reflect a new facet of the line's evolving aesthetics. Also, it will develop at an accelerated pace, like the generation of buyers it hopes to attract. "Just like pop culture, there's a lot going on at once here," Bryant explains. "Social and digital media brings culture to a broad space, where gender, race, class doesn't matter. TRUKFIT also refuses to be categorized. When it comes to Wayne, it's never about what anyone else is doing."
Even the name of the line comes with an interesting backstory. "It's funny, we grew up in the same 'hood in New Orleans, and there was a guy who was literally like Canal Street on wheels – he sold all the knockoff items on a cart. We'd all used to say, 'Oh, you got the truck-fit, not the real shit' to whoever bought his stuff." Then, Bryant says, he and Wayne decided to turn that childhood line into a bragging right. "Let's flip it around and make it cool!"
TRUKFIT is rumored to launch January 25th and will sell through select online vendors first. Karmaloop.com, the urban online retailer that saw a huge upsurgence in sales last year and is a creative home to rapper/producer Pharrell, will be TRUKFIT's primary launchpad. The company reveals to Rolling Stone that 40 SKUs from the line (stock-keeping units, or individual items) will arrive "late January," with "dozens more" to follow shortly after. An exclusive Karmaloop TV interview with Wayne, along with other special promotional plans, is soon to be revealed.
As Karmaloop menswear buyer Dohnn Ball tells Rolling Stone, "It's Lil Wayne's first official step into offering a lifestyle clothing line. It takes influences from skate and streetwear graphics. Right now, it's graphic tees, raglans and hats. We have been told that it’s soon growing into a full cut and sew line."