Astrid Andersen’s voluminous, logo-heavy, pastel street-wear might not seem like go-to stagewear for a member of the A$AP mob, but for the second year running, the Danish designer has named A$AP Ferg her muse, this time for her spring/summer 2016 collection. And credit where credit is due: the rapper wears it well. At a fashion party in London’s Oval Space where Ferg is performing, the Harlem rapper talks grills, Ralph Lauren and the power of a white T-shirt.
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You’ve collaborated with Astrid Andersen on her new collection and scored fashion film, Water. Is it fair to say you were both inspired by Tekken?
Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely Tekken, the score music and the looks. All those bright, metallic pastels and the fabrics. I had to do a fighting scene for the film [a short fashion film starring Ferg and his former “hype man” having a fight in a wood wearing Astrid clothes and soundtracked by Ferg] so I had a sensei teach me how to fight for two days. We also had to wear these metal nails, so shit went Wolverine too.
It’s not the first time you’ve collaborated with Astrid. How did it all come about?
We first met when we did the Topman collaboration last year. This time round, she flew to LA, we had lunch, and I was like: let’s just work on some stuff. She hadn’t seen sun in months because, yeah, she’s from Denmark, so I wanted to get her out. She’s the girl version of me. It’s great because Astrid could have picked anyone to be her muse. I think she just feels like I have the confidence to wear her pieces. She gets colour and I get colour, too. You can own a Picasso or a Rothko but not everyone can talk about Picasso’s hues, or Rothko’s colours. It takes a certain type of person to be able to flaunt that sort of thing, and that’s what I do for Astrid.
You’re from Harlem. How does London’s fashion compare to New York?
There feels like a lot more energy in London. It’s upscale, and they like to use good fabrics, but it’s also got that sporty thing going on. New York is more sleek chic but less risky. Depends on what you like, I guess.
What designers are you into wearing at the moment?
I like Alexander Wang, it’s real quality. I also like the Gap. I was a Gap kid, you know, like you have those hoodies forever. Everyone had a Gap piece. And Ralph Lauren. There’s a kid who grew up in the Bronx and became a success. Ralph is my top guy. He figured it out, you know, how to own a brand that’s available at every price, which means you can afford to do the fun stuff at the top end but still pay the bills. I like Acne jeans, too, because I love the way they perform, and obviously Astrid for everything else.
You’ve become pretty known for your grills, too.
Yeah, these ones on the bottom are prayer hands made by this great kid in Canada. They’re dope.
You studied art and design. Why did you move from fashion to music?
I was always rapping, I was always battling different kids, from different cliques. I also used to make my own stuff on a small scale but it was hard for me to become a designer, so as soon as I got the opportunity to rap, I did that. And when the A$AP mob blew up, that just took off. It’s weird that I’m a rapper in front of the world, because I used to being behind the scenes. But you know, I like to think I do both. It sort of adds to my brand, though, for real.
A$AP Ferg x Astrid Anderson … ‘Shit went Wolverine.’ Facebook Twitter Pinterest
A$AP Ferg x Astrid Anderson … ‘Shit went Wolverine.’ PR Photograph: PR
There’s a strong relationship between rap and fashion, now more than ever. Look at Kanye’s collection for Adidas and A$AP Rocky in Hood x Air. Is there pressure to look a certain way?
I don’t feel pressure. I do what I like. I don’t dress to anyone’s standards. If you wear a white T-shirt with confidence, that’s all you need. Growing up, a white T-shirt was it. A fresh white T-shirt and a haircut meant you were doing good. But Rocky and Kanye, they look fly, they know what they’re doing. I don’t think it’s forced, it’s like natural style for them. It’s just that fashion’s just taking notice.
So if you had to choose between fashion and music, what would you choose?
Right now I’m working on my new album, but I can’t pick. I’ll do both and. I like pressure, I always get it done no matter how much time I have. I have a good worth ethic.
Like Parkinson’s law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
That’s so true. Look, when the pressure’s on, I’ll just squeeze out a diamond when the time comes.