WU WEAR IS STILL ALIVE
Holy shit, Wu Wear is 15 and somehow still around. Yep, Wu-Tang's clothing label has been making clothes from the ghettos of Shaolin for a decade and a half. To hip-hop fans worldwide, Wu Wear was a new concept; it was a clothing label by a rap group, and it was massively popular because it was different than your usual band or tour merch--it was a lifestyle brand. In fact, Wu Wear was started to combat the bootlegged shirts that had been making the rounds since the Clan first rose to fame in 1993 with their classic debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Basically, the nonet kind of reinvented hip-hop clothing by dispelling collaborations. The 80s had seen collabs like Run DMC's partnership with Adidas and LL Cool J saddling up with Troop, while the 90s saw Biggie, Busta Rhymes, and most famously, Puffy's Sean John label, but Wu Wear was the first.
The Wu formed in Staten Island (Shaolin to the Clan) in 1992, and took their name from a Gordon Liu movie entitled, Shaolin & Wu Tang. The founding members, the RZA, GZA, and the late ODB, recruited more clansmen, and from there the legend was spawned. In the 90s the Wu could do no wrong, everybody had a solo release (OK, maybe Masta Killa's wasn't until the 2000s), they had their own Nike Dunk, their own PlayStation game, the GZA and the RZA starred in a Jim Jarmusch movie, ODB bum-rushed somebody’s speech at the Grammy's, the list is endless. However, by the late 90s, interest had waned due to a feeble and rather late sophomore effort and a slew of poor solo follow-ups; the Wu star was somewhat fading.
The GZA and the RZA with one of the Ghostbusters.
Imagery was a strong part of the Wu's game. Hoodies, shorts, high-top Nikes, Timberlands, and even fencing masks were part of their original look. This was rough, rugged, and raw New York shit, a million miles from the R&B stars or the Native Tongues African wares popular in '92-'93, and everyone wanted to be down with it. I first realized Wu Tang was changing things up when I saw the cover of Ghostface Killah's debut solo release, Ironman. It depicted Ghost, Raekwon, and Cappadonna, wearing what looked like Tommy Hilfiger or Polo outerwear and handling the now infamous Wu Wallabees in a hoard of insane color combinations, and standing in what appeared to be a Wu shoe store. As hip-hop culture grew in the 90s, lots of brands like Mecca, Dada Dimanji, and Avirex tried to follow the Wu's aesthetic but I always stuck with the original. By the late 90s/early 2000s however, I found it hard to rock anything but the brand’s tees; mainly thanks to once-funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen's fake Wu-Tang clad character, Ali G. I managed to keep a few of my favorite designs though, and here they are...
And in case you still haven't seen them, the Wu Dunk. I just Googled them, and there is actually a used pair on eBay right now in a US 8.5, selling for only $5,750. Yes, I did say used. One of 36 pairs, baby.
VICE News: Venezuelan Body Count
Last year alone, Caracas had more violent deaths than Baghdad.
Fresh Off the Boat: Back in Taiwan
Eddie gets into face paint, screaming lessons, and furry pink pillows.
VICE News: Beasts of Burden
Investigating illicit animal-fighting rings in Kabul.
Far Out: Agafia's Taiga Life
Agafia is the last surviving Lykov, remaining steadfast in her seclusion.
Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers: Meet the ATL Twins - Part 1
They share the same bed, wear matching outfits, and sleep with the same girls.