California-based skate and surf retailer PacSun announced A$AP Rocky as its first guest artistic director on Thursday (July 8, 2021) in partnership ASAP Worldwide, the rapper’s creative agency. Rocky and his creative team will oversee the chain’s collaborations for the next 18 months and at the same time will provide input on relative campaigns and in-store activations.
The Harlem-born rapper recently announced an upcoming collaboration with Vans, and was subsequently spotted wearing a white Slip On sneaker detailed with a flame (above). As it turns out, Rocky’s collaboration with Vans will be exclusive to PacSun and will mark the debut of Rocky’s role with the chain. However, the first shoe won’t be a slip on, but rather an Old Skool sneaker offered in three colors: black canvas, white leather, and reflective silver, all of which are detailed with an embroidered flame.
In a press release, the Harlem-born Rocky (real name Rakim Mayers) stated, “This partnership is special to me because it’s a collaboration that combines my roots, ASAP Worldwide and some of the most respected heritage brands that have roots in both the sportswear and lifestyle worlds. Together with PacSun, we will be releasing several limited-edition collections that are both nostalgic and forward at the same time.”
Providing the impetuous for the partnership, PacSun president Brieane Olson described Rocky as attracting a customer in his late 20s, expanding on the chain’s 16-24-year-old core shopper, a strategy that’s seen success through the chain’s Essentials partnership with Jerry Lorenzo.
Prior to working with PacSun, Rocky has partnered with or fronted campaigns for Adidas, Dior Homme, Calvin Klein and Guess. Under Armour announced Rocky as a collaborative partner in 2018, an effort to grow the brand’s reach to a trendsetting lifestyle customer. The partnership wasperceived as problematic from the jump and resulted in just one poorly received sneaker silhouette called SRLo, a skate-inspired shoe .
PacSun also worked with Rocky on a 2014 capsule, a collection that included a t-shirt detailed with an upside down American flag, which was ultimately pulled.
While there’s no pricing on the shoe, PacSun and Rocky’s Vans sneaker will launch on July 16, 2021.