A$AP Rocky and Jeremy Scott Schooled Me on How to Be a Pretty Motherfucker

By Wilbert L. Cooper

Fashion Week can be kind of soul-crushing. But the reason we subject ourselves to those PR goons and self-aggrandising fashion twerps twice a year is that in spite of all those buttholes, there are actually good people caught in the fray who view clothes as an art form and want to use it as a way to express themselves and bring people together. We talked with two of those "good" people last night: A$AP Rocky and fashion designer Jeremy Scott.

This isn't the first time that Pretty Motherfucker from Harlem and the beloved and controversial designer were paired together, but it proved to be one of the more candid and introspective talks either of them have given. I walked into the interview with the intent of getting goofy, but the conversation quickly got heavy as the two traded stories concerning the triumphs and challenges they've experienced while trying to be creative in industries driven by profit and littered with bloodsuckers. Both artists stand at exciting points in their careers: On Wednesday of this week, Jeremy showed his impeccable and timely Arab Spring-inspired show at Made Fashion Week, complete with AK-47 jewelry, while Rocky has been busy making headlines for grabbing Rihanna's booty on live TV, releasing the stellar mixtape Lord's Never Worry with his A$AP Mob crew and readying his highly anticipated debut LP LongLiveA$AP.

I caught up with them at the adidas store in SoHo, after Rocky ran through a blistering in-store performance sponsored by VICE in honour of adidas Originals' ten-year anniversary. [Photos from the show in the gallery above.]

VICE: How can I become a Pretty Motherfucker like you, Rocky?
A$AP Rocky
: What really works for me is to just do what is best for myself. In other words, I do me. Anytime I do something it’s definitely me. I’m not faking it. And that’s just the way it is.

Jeremy Scott: It’s called genes. He was physically born with it. But on top of that, it sounds like his dad gave him a lot of swag. From the stories that I hear, his father's style had a big impact on him when he was growing up. I think it's important to have someone in your life like that, someone you can grasp onto as an icon. You leap onto what they're doing and then go from there.

Tell me about your dad, Rocky.
AR: Well, my dad is from Barbados. He was a clean cut kind of a guy, especially in the way he dressed. I just took the advice he gave me and I ran with it. He told me to always be yourself and always feel comfortable with whatever decision you make because you chose to do it. Just because something doesn’t fit in doesn’t mean it’s not right. For instance, just because everybody is wearing white today and I chose to wear purple doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong. It means I’m doing what I wanted to do. I ran with that. And I think that’s what adidas stands for, too.

Jeremy, I loved your latest collection, but some people find it offensive. When you are doing your own thing, do you pay attention to how other people are receiving you? Or do you just ignore it?
JS
: I’m aware of it, but I don’t let it stop or prevent me. You can’t really get caught up in all of that. I'd rather do things that make people feel something – that’s my goal. And when you make people have an emotion, it can happen on either side of the fence – positive and negative. There's always going to be people who feel really strongly for it and there’s going to be people who feel really strongly against it. That’s the way it goes. But I feel really blessed that I can touch people lives. So, if dealing with haters is the burden of an artist, I'll take that.

Do you see fashion as art?
Yes, without a doubt.

AR: Of course. Fashion is art and a designer is an artist. I am not a fashion designer, that’s why I’m not coming out with my own clothing line or something like that. But I love the art. The love of the art is what brings people like Jeremy and myself together.

I love how fashion can bring individuals together and be something that the public can share. But as the art spreads out and becomes more accessible, do you think it gets diluted?
When I see other up-and-coming artists try to claim that they like Jeremy Scott's work just because I talk about it, it doesn’t really upset me. After a while they’re going to see what I saw. Art is supposed to inspire anyway. What I do hate about the urban community is when they like something so much that they whore it out. That’s an unfortunate truth we have to deal with.

Do you mean like fugazi sneakers and stuff?
Of course you'll always have knockoffs clothes. That’s been happening for years. But that’s not what I’m saying I’m afraid of. I'm speaking in general. Even for me as an artist and the way I choose to do my music, there are people out there who want to exploit my creativity.

JS: Plus, you’ve got to keep moving. Knockoffs are just one of those things you can't worry about. At least, I don’t worry about it. I know Rocky doesn’t worry about that. You have to just keep on moving and creating and changing and evolving. The people who are copying are copying what we did, not what we are going to do or be. Because that’s something they can never do.

AR: The one way that knockoffs worry me is that they can turn people off to what we are trying to accomplish, because people can confuse the low quality imitation with the real thing. But that’s not that big of a deal. It’s just one issue among millions.

I know it's a struggle dealing with the industry and still trying to maintain a high level of creativty. Jeremy, that seems especially challenging in your field where you have to come up with completely new collections and shows several times a year. Is it draining?
JS
: Because it’s been ingrained into me, it's natural now. I don’t ever have a lapse of time. It would be unnatural for Rocky if he was put on my schedule and vice versa. Because you’re not used to it. I get so jealous of my friends who are musicians and artists, and who have more time to cultivate and develop their work. I have a time limit that is beyond me. I don’t have any control over it. I can’t push that drop date later. But I’m used to it. We all have our crosses we must bare.

AR: We were talking about this last night. Jeremy was like, ‘’Yeah, I’m so happy that I did what I did with Fashion Week.” And I was like, "Guess what, now you've got to get ready for the one in the winter."

JS: Yup. In February it's New York Fashion Week again. It’s always something. It’s like a hamster on a hamster wheel.

What's your creative schedule like, Rocky?
AR:  It's similar, but different. With Jeremy, he might be overwhelmed with preparing for another Fashion Week or fashion show, but for me, it’s like I’m overwhelmed because I can't put out my project fast enough. I want people to finally see what I’ve been working on.

Rocky, I love the way you've brought the drapey and dark Rick Owens swag to hip-hop. Do you ever see yourself gravitating away from that style?
I’ve got 100 styles. And that’s what’s going to give me longevity. Just take my music for example. When you listen to an A$SP Rocky project, you don’t just hear one thing. That gets boring. You hear different things. I feel like I’ve mastered my craft, but I’m still in student mode. With fashion, I'm the same way. I wear Jeremy’s stuff, which isn’t dark all of the time. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s fun. It’s young. It has vibrant colours. My style is like life. One day I could choose to wear black and the next day I could wear purple. And the next day I might wear a Bart Simpson shirt by Jeremy Scott.

How did you first discover Jeremy's work?
I would go on the internet and look at the Mickey Mouse and runway stuff he was doing many years before I ever thought I would meet this guy. I just liked it. 

The internet seems to have had a profound impact on both of you and the work you make.
JS
: It’s great because it does bring people together. It’s a way for you to instantly discover new things, new people and new music. And that’s all my life is about – influence and inspiration. And I’m constantly inspired by so many different things, from the news to music to an exhibition that maybe I could never go to because it's somewhere far away, but I can see the pictures on my computer and receive the inspiration. It’s crazy. It’s really crazy.

AR: Thanks to the internet I was able to see places I had never been to before I started traveling and performing. The internet has become a necessity. If the Internet goes down everybody will lose their minds. Imagine no Facebook, no Twitter, no nothing? C'mon.

So Rocky, I heard you'd rock adidas over Jordans. That's blasphemy.
AR
: Because they have my favourite designers. From Jeremy to Yohji. When it all boils down, I’ve never seen any high-end Jordans. Sometimes you don’t want track-looking shoes that are meant for people to run and play tennis. I want to go out and make a fashion statement. And that’s what Jeremy's stuff does. That's what I love about him. Just take a look at him. Or take a look at my man Pablo, for instance, and look at what he has on. [Points to his friend Pablo, who was wearing some very high-end streetwear and titling back a hefty 40 oz. of malt liqour.] Everything about him is just fun. He is a grown-ass man, but for some strange reason he doesn’t look silly. You actually look at him and say, ‘’Wow, I have to take this guy seriously.’’ You know why? Because he had enough balls to say I’m going to wear what I want, and you have to respect that. Most people are used to doing what they are told to do. They are programmed like robots.

JS: People are living their lives in fear. And that’s sad. People need to let go of their fears and just do what they want to. Like who cares if they want to dress like that and you want to dress like this. What the fuck does that have to do with you? That’s why people freak out about the things I make. They look at my work and wonder who would wear it. Well, why do you care? If you want to dress like a boring motherfucker I don’t get up in arms like, ‘’Oh my god, you wore a T-shirt and jeans. Wow, what the fuck. You fucking crazy motherfucker!" No, I don’t care. I just walk on by. It doesn’t bother me, so why does it bother you? Who cares?

Thanks guys.

@WilbertLCooper

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