Akademiks hip-hop clothing exploded onto the fashion stage when Brooklyn rapper Fabolous wore it and rapped about it back in 2001. Since then, the brand has taken the urban clothing world by storm.
With its motto, “Denim Is King,” Akademiks has set out to be an innovator, creator and driving force in urban clothing. Coveted for their detail and quality, Akademiks PRPS jeans are worn by rappers like Dizzee Rascal and 50 Cent. Titled “Jeanius Level,” Akademiks jeans are created using design techniques such as hand brushing, over-dyed tinting, potassium sponging and triple-dip indigo treatments.
The man behind Akademiks is Donwan Harrell. He started out designing for Joseph Abboud, Donna Karan and Nike. With that background, he went into business with his wife Jahayra and his brother Emmett and now has developed lines of products for men, women and children, along with accessories, outerwear and footwear.
Building on the hip-hop tradition, Akademiks urban clothing delivers the kind of style that has long been a part of hip-hop culture. Growing out of the African-American youth experience in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay area, hip-hop culture had its beginnings in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today, hip-hop influences are felt around the country and the world. It would be difficult to find an ethnic group that isn’t represented.
At the same time hip-hop music made the scene, so did hip-hop clothing. Twenty short years later, hip-hop artists like Sean Diddy Combs, Russell Simmons and Wu-Tang Clan had their own urban clothing lines. They recognized the lasting influence of the hip-hop culture and must have known it would touch the imagination of generations of youth.
Like every creative endeavor, developing hip-hop clothing lines has been a process of change, retrenchment, progress and even a few errors. But that’s the nature of creative work. Still, urban clothing has a solid foundation. It makes a statement that won’t go away: Urban life is full of pain and joy, poetry and vulgarity, challenges and triumphs and, most of all, energy.
Fads come and go. Trends can reverse themselves. But hip-hop just keeps going. Urban culture is here to stay in all its edgy glory. It has become its own tradition, but it hasn’t become locked into traditional ways. It’s always changing, always growing, and always challenging people to rethink their ideas and prejudices. Like hip-hop itself, Akademiks hip-hop clothing puts the world on notice. It demands and gives creativity and a bold statement about the world.
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by Brant Reed