If there were a Fashion Olympics, A$AP Rocky and Amina Muaddi would have to battle it out for the gold medal in personal style. The two creatives are so full throttle in their daily outfits, sharing them on their Instagram feeds and on red carpets, that following along provides a thrill akin to that of a full fashion show. The good news is that rather than dueling, the pair are collaborating on a new collection of AWGE x Amina Muaddi shoes. The collaboration releases this week through a selection of global retailers like Net-a-Porter, Browns, Just One Eye, and On Pedder, and is sure to fly just as quickly as the shoes in Muaddi’s permanent collection.
So the million-dollar question: How will they wear them? Muaddi offers some ideas: “The gladiator is something that you could wear with something short: a skirt or a dress. The shoe with the butterfly, you can wear it with anything from jeans to a gown because it’s very versatile. It’s very elegant, but it can be dressed down or dressed up in so many ways.”
The collaboration is Muaddi’s first for her own brand, though she has also designed a range for Rihanna’s Fenty collection. “For me, it was important that the first collaboration I do is one that is special and close to my heart,” she says. “I wanted to do it with someone who shares my values and my perspective on creativity and design. Rocky doesn’t compromise himself in his work or whatever he does; he’s a perfectionist the same way I am.”
Those that have followed Rocky’s career will know this to be intrinsically true. Within the fashion world, he is one of the few musicians granted true insider status. When he’s front row at JW Anderson or Raf Simons — both brands have brought him on for collaborations — his take on the collection is as sought after critics’ reviews, and his personal wardrobe is the fodder of high-level fashion critique and endless Reddit threads. AWGE, his creative agency, has also opened up the world of fashion for a new generation of fans. Perhaps his secret is the same one many other designers have held true to: Don’t over-explain. “We don’t really talk about [AWGE]; it has a mystique. That’s the tradition of it. What I will say is, I just always was looking for outlets to express myself and expression is key,” he says. “I think AWGE was just another platform for people such as myself to come together and just create.”
Rocky and Muaddi have been friends for years, running in the same circles of musicians, artists, and designers. “It has been so many years that we’ve known each other; it was only natural someday it would lead to something like this,” Muaddi says. Though ideas have been flowing between the two since they met, the strange year that is 2020 helped push their musings into reality. “Everything happens when it’s meant to,” she says. “It was a natural time for us.”
The four shoe styles that are the result of the collaboration are a marriage of their personal tastes. “Even if we come from such different parts of the world and we have different backgrounds, we have very similar aesthetics,” Muaddi continues. Designing women’s shoes, Rocky says, came naturally. “I know what I like and don’t like in fashion, [and] I love what she does already with the shoes,” Rocky begins. “Amina has an aesthetic and a flow going, just in general, you know, I wanted to make sure that whatever we did it bridged the gap between both of us, and it moved cohesively. It was easy collaborating with Amina. Knowing how passionate she is about her own brand, and knowing everything that she puts into it, it was a no brainer going into this collaboration, because I already had the experience and was familiar with her work. And [she was familiar with] my aesthetic too. We have a mutual admiration for style.”
“It was just about incorporating his universe, his aesthetic, his visuals,” Muaddi picks up. “A lot of the inspiration came from his personal jewelry, and things that I would see him wearing. Even before we did the collaboration, I would tell him, ‘Oh, I love this. This could be so cool on a shoe.’”
The collection is grounded by Muaddi’s signature blunted heel and uses AWGE’s and Rocky’s iconography and signatures throughout. A crystal butterfly that adorns a perspex mule is pulled from AWGE’s recurring butterfly motif, an homage to A$AP Yams who “had a giant birthmark on his face that we said resembled the butterfly,” Rocky explains. “Since his passing, we always put it in our work, hearing it secretly, in visuals, or in clothing collaborations. I think it’s dope because it kind of goes with a lot of the other stuff that I have made previously with butterflies. People could kind of style those things together.”
A chain-link piece with a dangling AWGE charm is the pair’s rendition of Rocky’s signature jewelry. Moodboards reveal dozens of images of his jewelry, his outfits, his past fashion items — ideas that were workshopped between the two designers for months to make sure that each style is as authentic as can be.
That chain link shoe “is very sexy and fierce at the same time,” Muaddi says. “And then there’s the super-high gladiator. That is a special one.” With rainbow studs that creep all the way up the thigh, it would take a very daring dresser to pull it off. Luckily the pair provides plenty of inspiration: The actress Tina Kunakey stars in their lookbook.
Liam Freeman contributed reporting. Originally published on Vogue.com