I remember the first time I ever heard of Tyler, the Creator. I was 16 and extremely pissed off that some no-name rapper had been beaten my newest indie obsession, (Foster the People) for Best New Artist at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
I remember seeing a group of teens, not much older than myself; bum rush the stage, bursting with excitement over what they accomplished. I was expecting grills and do-rags, not some skinny kid wearing a tie-dye shirt with a screen print of a cat on it. A kid, so blown away by the support of his friends, family and fans, he could barely believe it himself.
As I watched in disbelief, this kid opened his mouth and confessed he didn’t even write an acceptance speech. Instead, he went on to say, “to all the kids watching: you can do this shit yourself, be yourself, fuck the system.” While to some, the expletives and his general lack of preparedness seem a tad unprofessional; I was struck by the sheer honesty of his words. Although I had yet to hear a single track of his, I already respected Tyler, the Creator as an artist.
Fast forward to now. Not only has Tyler put out four albums (Odd Future included) in the last five years, he also has officially entered the world of… FASHION. *cue David Bowie.*
Tyler’s brand Golf Wang, also colloquially referred to as GOLF, in collaboration with the Odd Future collective has been selling clothing and accessories since 2011, but, only recently, the relatively underground clothing brand took the world by storm with its very first fashion show. On June 11th, the official GOLF 2016 fashion show kicked off at Made LA. The show and clothing line, almost entirely designed by Tyler himself, looked as if it had been plucked out of a stoner’s hallucinatory daydream.
GQ’s Megan Gustashaw summed up the performance piece, as it was perfectly unlike any fashion show I had ever seen, in her own coverage of the cartoonish event: “Tyler stayed true to his West Coast, born-in-the-’90s, skate-kid aesthetic. There were light-wash denim shorts, dad hats, and loud, Nickelodeon-esque prints. The set, which the rapper designed himself (naturally), was like a teenage boy's bedroom with a skate ramp in the middle.”
With a model line-up as diverse as its color palette, the GOLF fashion show quickly morphed from blank-faced teens stoically sauntering the catwalk/skate-ramp runway. The same blank faces, within moments of starting the same pretentious struts so characteristic of the runways of yore, quickly melted into the smiles of kids having the time of their young lives, skate boarding across stage or riding miniature motorcycles down half-pipes. Even some of Tyler’s friends and family guest-starred during the avant-garde apparel piece. Seemingly impromptu dice games full of friendly ragging and laissez-faire betting styles, cropped up out of nowhere between Tyler and his Loiter Squad compadres. And even his younger cousin, who bears a shocking resemblance to a schoolyard version of Tyler, strut his stuff in miniaturized GOLF gear. The preview for the clothing line exhausted after thirty minutes, but the eccentric, yet honest display of twenty-something accomplishment continued.
A new song, “My Ego,” dealing with his recent ban from the UK followed along with the announcement of the establishment of his own shoe line: Golf le Fleur. Tyler quickly added to the crowd, in true Oprah style, that every single person, who purchased tickets for the GOLF 2016 fashion show, would receive a free pair of Golf le Fleur shoes.
A chorus of “You get a shoe! You get a shoe! You get a shoe!” followed his admission and to close the most non-fashion world, fashion show. The riotous host mic-dropped with a “Seacrest out."