News: T.I. Talks Akoo's Soldier Look, "Military-Inspired Gear Is Fresh As Long As It's Not Overdone"

Thursday, Apr 8, 2010 11:50AM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Southern rapper T.I. has talked about his decision to apply a military-style look to his Akoo clothing line and shared his thoughts on its growth in the fashion industry.

While Tip like a military look, he does feel designers should know where to draw the line.

"I definitely think that military-inspired gear is fresh just as long as it's not overdone," he said in an interview. "Akoo's gear stays pretty subtle and pays attention to detail. Our brand's inspirations draw from the outdoors to nautical to aeronautics, which are all components of military. Our tag lines reflect this sort of culture with slogans including 'Always Hunted' or 'Trust Nothing With Teeth.' ... I've tried to be part of every detail as much as I possibly can along the way, from fabrication through to certain elements of design. I pay attention to the materials that make the clothing right down to the conditions of the places for the employees who manufacture it...I've always had a vision for my own line, but I wanted to do it right, and really be able to inject my creativity and persona into it, and right now it feels right." (The FADER)

Akoo's Newark, New Jersey billboard created some controversy in February.

The billboard for AKOO -- which, incidentally, israpper T.I.'s clothing line -- is pretty clearly suggestive of some naughty behavior (a woman sitting in front of a man ... holding onto his unbuttoned jeans ... ahem), and the reaction in Newark and the surrounding area since it went up has been pretty intense. Barry Carter for the Star-Ledger first wrote about the billboard on Sunday, calling it seemed like a specific blow to Newark, even quoting City Council President Mildred Crump as saying she was "sick of people seeing Newark as a place where they can just do whatever they want ... They think they can just put it in a black community and nobody is going to say or do anything." (NBC New York)

It was later taken down as a result of the public outcry.

This ad was not just explicit, it was demeaning to women. After public pressure, including Barry Carter's column in the Sunday Star-Ledger, billboard owner CBS Outdoor removed it yesterday. In its place is another, more civilized ad for the same clothing company, rapper T.I.'s Akoo line. (Star-Ledger)

Rappers like Jay-Z and Fabolous have also launched their own clothing lines.

"We pushing it," Fab told radio personality Angela Yee about his Yung Rich clothing line in August. "We switched manufacturers because we wanted to get with somebody that really understood the vision of what we was trying to push. The first guys, they kinda didn't -- I think they were just in it to make some money. They didn't see the whole vision so we switched and now we push it a little bit further. Before we were trying to just keep it a bit more boutique but I think this one we gonna go into department stores and make some money. [laughs]" ("The Morning Show With Angela Yee")

Check out footage of T.I.'s Akoo controversy below:

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