Ok True Fashionistas, if you are truly into fashion then you know this young lady and her contribution to the street swag that was popular in the hip hop world of the 90’s. If you are not familiar with the awesome talent that is April Walker, allow this to be your first introduction to a style icon that people like Tupac Shakur, Jay Z, Diddy, Naughty by Nature, and so many countless other celebrities embrace by wearing her clothing and making her brand one of the greatest names to hit the streets of NYC.
April Walker is a designer that hails from Brooklyn (originally from LA) and she started her first urban apparel brand “Walker Wear” fresh out of school, at age twenty-two, landing accounts such as Macy’s, Footlocker, Spiegel, Finish Line, Dayton’s, and Dillard’s which is greatly impressive for a young lady that is in the beginning of her career. Walker has also worked as a VP at Phat Farm, managing the growth and all of the licensees. She implemented a women’s division for And-1 from “mind to marketplace”. She’s consulted for brands such as Ecko, Champion, Russell athletics, Vivian Kay, Idg, Money Clothing, and business outreach center network, a micro-enterprise and business development organization. Are you beyond impressed?
True to my nature as a fashionista, I felt it extremely necessary to connect you all with some of the history of hip hop style, so I caught up with the awesome lady of street fashion and chatted it up about her decision to get into the world of fashion, how she changed her mind about being a gymnast and what she is doing now to keep the hip hop world connected to the fashion community.
Who is April Walker?
April Walker is a female designer in a predominately male business that trail blazed the urban/street wear fashion category that commanded over $200 billion by 2004.
What were your interests before you became a designer?
I was a gymnast when I was a teenager and studied acting at HB Studios in my youth.
New Look from Walker Wear
When did you become interested in designing?
When I was in junior-high school I started taking fashion seriously, but designing was a by-product of my love of fashion and style.
Did you go to school to learn about design, patterns, etc.?
No, actually I hired seamstresses and tailors at first. I went to school for communications and business, and fashion is something I backed in to.
What was your first design?
My first design was an orange, parachute fabric, sweat suit that had white leather trim with Gucci print.
How did it make you feel to create your first design and then for someone to purchase it?
It felt great. I remember feeling really good about it. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing a customer that is pleased with an outfit that you created.
Who are some of the celebrities that have worn Walk Wear?
RUN DMC, Tupac, Naughty By Nature, Queen Latifah, Mike Tyson, LL Cool J, P Diddy, Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, Teddy Riley, etc.
April with Biggie
April with Treach
Tell us a little bit about Walker Wear?
Walker Wear is a clothing line that started in the early 90's and has resurged this year. Our clothing is inspired from classics with a fashion twist. Think workwear meets fashion, with a concentration on fabrications, styles, and a commitment to quality.
Do you still sell clothing for Walker Wear?
Yes, we sell at www.walkerwearstore.com, and at premium apparel stores such as Bed-Stuy Fly in Brooklyn and The Vault uptown in NYC.
How does it feel to be considered a living legend when it comes to street style?
It feels good, but I don't take myself that serious. It's nice to be a part of a subject way bigger than me!
How did you know that street style wearers would be your brand and market for shoppers?
I didn't. I knew that there was a demand for clothing that wasn't representing our body types and style. I was able to see that by the demand from my clothing customers from my first shop at Fashion In Effect back in '88.
Boxie wearing Walker Wear
Fast forward to today… Where is April Walker now from the young woman she was yesterday?
April Walker is more experienced; she has a lot more wisdom, and exercises more patience with life.
What is A Walker Group?
A. Walker Group is a brand and creative consulting that I started about 5 years ago. We help people and brands in different phases...from startups, to marketing, to distribution.
Are you pleased with your accomplishments?
Yes, God is good.
Are there any regrets?
No, to live with regrets mean there may be a different outcome, and I'm happy with my path.
Where will you be (in business) in the next 5 years?
Still living the dream. I can't say except whatever it is, it will be creative.
What advice do you have for young women that are interested in walking the same path that you did?
Believe in yourself, stay focused, find a great mentor, intern in the fashion industry, network, learn and stay humble.
Why are you Young, Hip and Chic?
Young is a state of mind, so I'm probably going to have my youth forever. Hip is an ambiguous term, but I'm hip because I do my own thing, and Chic in my swag.
Check April Walker out at www.walkerwearstore.com
Photos Courtesy of April Walker