As a kid growing up in Harlem, A$AP Ferg -- born Darold Ferguson -- was already wearing Versace and Prada, thanks to his fashion-conscious father.
"I just learned from him all my life, seeing how he put clothes together," says the 27-year-old, who rose to fame as part of the hip hop collective A$AP Mob.
Ahead of his new album launch later this month, and a sold-out tour with G-Eazy, A$AP Ferg spoke about his style inspiration.
Tell us some of your favorite designers right now and why.
Forever, Ralph Lauren is my favorite designer. And Alexander Wang.
With Ralph Lauren recently stepping down, do you think the direction of the brand is going to change?
No, because it's really his vision and I'm pretty sure he has creative direction. Literally, he has not been designing clothes for all of these years, but it is his vision and I'm pretty sure they have a tight team of people who can carry out his vision.
Any other designers/brands you're attracted to?
That's it for now. It's very slim because recently -- and I've been thinking about this for a long time -- I've been wanting to make a lot of customized pieces because I feel like a lot of people spend a lot of money on these designers and they all look the same!
If you pay attention to windows when you're shopping, it's all the same pieces in all the windows. I'm into style and that's not really expressing your own style if you're going to buy something that looks like something else.
That's why I made myself a customized "Ferg" leather jacket. Yellow. Bright yellow! Nobody is wearing yellow. Everyone's wearing black. I want to stand out.
My father used to have a clothing line called "Ferg Apparel." And he made "Ferg" patch jackets and I just revamped them.
You mentioned your father owned a clothing store in Harlem. Is that who you get your fashion prowess from?
Subconsciously, yeah. I just learned from him all my life, seeing how he put clothes together. He had me in Versace at a young age, Prada shoes...
Describe your personal style.
My personal style would have to be minimal. I like colors, but I don't like huge logos and things like that. So most of the time I'll do black or white T-shirts unless it's a band shirt that I really love. I'm also a coat and shoe fiend.
What's on your nightstand back home?
I have a big ass jewelry box -- Alexander Wang. I usually have all my rings, all my sets of grills. I have my white gold and my white gold and diamonds.
Who's your favorite celebrity that's worn Traplord?
Of course all of the A$AP Mob support it. Kid Ink
just sent me a picture wearing his Traplord sneakers. But it's not even about the celebrities that I look for, it's more the kids. All the celebrities want it, but I'm always stoked on giving the kids shoes because they're the ones who really support it -- they're the reason why I'm here right now.
But Chris Brown
calls me asking me when he's going to get his sneakers, telling me his shoe size. I also sent a pair to Rick Ross.
So what kind of kid were you in high school then?
I was popular. I got the best style, most likely to be a millionaire, best dancer.
Is the dancing part accurate?
I am a good dancer! I got the dope walk. I killed Cara Delevigne in it (viral video in which he shows the British model his moves)
by the way. I think I'm a pretty good dancer.
Name one thing you can't leave the house without
My grills. I have nice teeth. A lot of people don't know I have nice teeth because I'm wearing grills, but I bring them out just in case. I put them in my book bag. I have this Alexander Wang book bag I've owned since I've got my first check when I got signed and I carry both sets of my grills in it. I switch between my diamond grills and my white gold grills because the diamond grills is sometimes too heavy.
Name a person dead or alive that you identify with the most
. I identify with Biggie the most but I love Tupac
with all my heart.
I can identify with Biggie. I feel like Tupac would have taught me more, but Biggie would have been like a big brother. He was a jokester, like me. He knows how to make light of any situation. He was intelligent and really, really talented. He saw beauty in anything.
Tell me a current obsession of yours
Going through my Snapchat. I am obsessed with Snapchat. It's easier for me to use. I never got into Twitter. I'm not a person to really talk about myself. I'm less words and more action.
What's one piece of clothing in your closet you should probably throw out?
There's a lot. I got old minks. They're the designer minks not like the traditional ones.
I'm always throwing out sneakers. I'm very specific when it comes to my shoes. I got these pair of Alexander Wang boots that are beige and suede with a big strap. I bought them because I liked them when I bought them, but I've never worn them. I had a vision when I bought them but when I got to the house I was like: "I'm never going to wear these."
To whom do you owe your success?
Can I break it down? I owe a lot of my success to my mother, my stepfather, and my father. Just my family in general for being so strong-minded and strong-willed and raising me the right way—how to handle myself, how to think, how to be an intellectual.
Also, I owe part of it to Yams and Rocky for believing in me.