Paying Homage Series: Rocawear
If you don’t know who Jay Z and Dame Dash are, then you probably haven’t heard of Rocawear. At the time it was the hottest label in the hip hop game. For those of us who were caught up in all the magical moments in hip hop throughout the 90s and early 00’s, everyone remembers how Jay Z came up. He was a force to be reckoned with from his earliest albums.
Dame Dash the man making sure that all the operations were automated and systemised as well as being a public figure head for the pairs joint venture Roc-a-fella Records.
The ‘Roc’ was a phrase often heard from Jay Z in his lyrics and they played off of that to create ‘Rocawear’ the clothing brand.
When you look back you realise that the rules of the game and the strategies of the game are the same today as they were 20 years ago. The only thing that’s different are the tools.
Rocawear in its’ essence could be considered merely as ‘merch’. As the 2 grew and scaled the company, they promoted Rocawear heavily in their videos. They also made sure their whole team were kitted out with Rocawear and they all wore the Roc-a-fella chain. This gave them credibility due to the influence they had. Whatever they put out people listened to and whatever they wore, people wanted to wear.
Before YouTube, MTV and BET were the main places to watch music videos. Whoever wore it on MTV or BET had influence over their followers.
The inspiring thing about Rocawear is that they tried to establish it as its’ own entity and focussed on making it a true fashion brand. Even back when the internet was fairly new, they had their ecommerce presence in place. In fact, the reason I chose Rocawear to be my first label to be in this series is because it is one of the first purchases, if not the very first purchase, that I made online for clothes.
It was a leather belt with a rectangular buckle with the Rocawear logo.
Salute to those guys who paved the way for many others to do the same thing and for being ahead of their time.