Inside the Relaunch of Lil Wayne’s TRUKFIT Clothing Line
Lil Wayne’s clothing brand, TRUKFIT, has gone through some changes in 2015 and starting this fall, the brand will showcase their new direction by releasing several garments with a contemporary look while staying true to TRUKFIT’s aesthetics.
With renowned fashion streetwear designer Kevin Leong now at the helm of TRUKFIT’s menswear line, the brand looks to become a staple in American fashionwear by providing trendy and eye-catching pieces that cater to all demographics. The relaunch will continue to push Wayne’s distinctive style and bring new designs that fit the TRUKFIT lifestyle.
XXL recently visited the TRUKFIT relaunch presentation in New York City and got a glimpse of the new styles that the brand will bring to light. We also chopped it up with Lil Wayne’s manager, Cortez Bryant, and TRUKFIT’s creative designer Kevin Leong to get the full scoop on the relaunch of the TRUKFIT. —Roger Krastz
XXL: How did you end up being the creative director at TRUKFIT?
Kevin Leong: I was consulting with TRUKFIT for a little bit. I’m the original designer for Phat Farm with Russell Simmons, so I started working with Big Sean through Kevin Liles. They had a line called Finally Famous and I was the one that revamped it into Aura Gold, so they saw how I transformed a rapper’s line of wack semi-merch into actually a fashion brand. So they hired me to do TRUKFIT. I freelanced for them for a little bit and then after it started to sell they hired me full time and I just started a month ago as creative director.
Now that you're on board with the brand, what will be the inspiration behind your designs?
Well, basically, it's a nice balance between the artist's natural style and trying to pinpoint certain trends that he’s naturally into that can sell to the masses. So really, the inspiration is Wayne. You know, just trying to focus more on the cut and sewn and not the child-like cartoon graphics that they’ve been doing. We’re trying to segment the brand into different categories and I’m in charge of the menswear portion. I mean, I know whenever you see Wayne he never has any clothes on lately, but that’s about to change. [Laughs]
What should consumers expect with upcoming holiday 2015 collection?
Well, for holiday season we're playing with proportions. Sweatpants have been a big trend as well as the drop crotch pants. We’ve been doing, like, kangaroo packets on the drop crotch. Playing with fabrics like French Terry, a little bit of reflective screen printing. The contrast between black and white, monochromatic colorways. You know, we’re not trying to do too much, but just trying to keep the aesthetic pure. I think it’s really exciting because Wayne during this time, he had like a resurgence in his career, like, he regained control of it. There was a lot of change and I believe that fashion and music [are] one and the same, so I’m trying to be the fashion portion of that. And he took a liking to it and he’s been wearing a lot of the new items.
With the recent relaunch of TRUKFIT, where will consumers be able to purchase items from Lil Wayne's clothing brand?
You’ll be able to purchase at TRUKFIT.com, we’re at Dr. Jays, Jimmy Jazz and we’re looking at more stores possibly later down the line. We don’t want to do too [many] mom and pops. We don’t have too much expectations as far as sales, it’s about regaining the trust of the consumer and doing product that’s eye-catching and that people would never guess is TRUKFIT. Me as a consumer, I like to buy products where I look at the garment a month from now and I'm like, “Wow, that’s a great detail. I didn’t notice that when I purchased it.” You know, a lot of people tend to think designers or artists are too far ahead of the consumer, but with technology today and social media the consumer, if anything, is ahead of us. So if we don’t like it, they’re not going to like it. And I feel like that’s a big difference in this strategy of business.
How involved is Lil Wayne with the designing and creative process of the brand?
I just started a month ago, so I haven’t spoken to him yet. But he’s been aware of what I’ve been doing and cosigns on all the designs. And as you can see, he finally decided to wear it again. So that, to me, is really exciting and I look forward to meeting him in the future.
XXL: What's the reasoning behind the relaunch of the TRUKFIT brand?
Cortez Bryant: We kind of took the brand back in our own hands. We had a partner before that we wasn’t pleased with and we wanted to make the brand more universal, you know? I feel like the brand was launched as sort of a skate-type brand. It got pigeonholed as that, and we wanted to create, like, America’s brand and be more trendy to give the masses something different to wear and create a line of clothes that kind of expands what Wayne's demographic is. Wayne’s demographic of fans runs from teenagers that are 13 years old to 40 years old, because he’s been in the game for 20 years. So he has a very large variation of fans and people who follow him, so we want the clothing to be an expression of that. Also, so they can get a little bit of everything and don’t have to feel like they got to put on clothes that these skater kids are wearing. We want to make things more fashion-forward, but then more diverse to where anybody can wear the brand.
When should we expect to see new designs from the relaunch of brand?
Actually, now. The new fall collection that drops at the end of this month is sort of our new creative designer's vision, Kevin Leong. It's sort of his imprint starting now, so it’s kind of like a rebirth with the different designs and the different direction. We’re going to make a big splash about the brand, as far as putting it out to the press and showcasing the new direction that TRUKFIT is going for.
What was it about Kevin that made you and Lil Wayne choose him as the creative director for TRUKFIT?
It was a united idea that we needed a new direction as far as designers and I kind of let these guys, the Mike Morrison's, you know, piece everything together while I’m overseeing everything else. And he checked out other designers, but he felt like Kevin was the guy. And I feel like he was the guy also because he was able to pay attention to how Wayne’s style has been evolving. You know, kind of get ideas from what Wayne’s wearing as well and add what the masses are wearing and still implement the TRUKFIT elements that we grew and transitioned from the old to the new. So they nailed it by getting it. All we do, Wayne and I, we see the different designs that they submitted and we be like, "Yo, yeah! He got it."
Should we expect collaborations to be a major part of the brand's relaunch?
Yeah, we got a couple of things going on. We got this collaboration with this kid Uzi, a young designer from L.A., so we’re doing a lot and we’re definitely going to get into that space collaborating with a lot of people that represent different parts of the culture. You know, Uzi kind of represents that new young hipster kid, very talented but trendy in style and designs towards the '90s. So we did something with him. We may have something coming out with VFILES in a little bit and we’re talking to some other people about possible collaborations.
15 Cool Jogger Pants Under $100 That You Should Have: