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TheMSQshop At RVA Fashion Week

RVA Fashion Week has been a staple event in Richmond, Virginia for the past 14 years. With every year it takes place, it becomes bigger, more influential, inclusive, and diverse. This year was no different; in fact, we got an invite ourselves at theMSQshop to join and represent the Art District. In this article, I will explain our participation and my experience as a designer and contributor.

As some may know, my name is OG ILLA and I am not only the owner of theMSQshop but also the Creative Director. For years, I have worked with numerous indie and major musicians on graphic design, music videos, merch, recording... but I feel my most important contribution has been branding. So, when Jimmy Budd (Owner/Creator of RVAFW) asked for me to participate, I was excited. I have designed numerous pieces for others and myself over these years but this time I really wanted to take it a step further. My main goal was to represent the Hip Hop and R&B (and Pop) culture in RVAFW, finally.

OG ILLA & Devin (from Bandit Brand) at RVA Fashion Week

My first thought was - I am no competition for these designers competing - I've attended RVAFW numerous times over the year and have constantly been blown away by the talent of the designers in the Fashion Show. I quickly shook that off, it's not about who is the best, it's about creating honest fashion that represents your vision, that entails your soul, and displays your ambitions. So I shed my doubt and began to plot.

From the start, I wanted to do something different; something that stood out but wasn't rooted in showing off. I wanted to represent indie musicians first and foremost, while also working together with other creatives for representation. I decided that I wanted to make 8 pieces inspired by RVA Musicians.

My first step was to create my team- so I enlisted the help of designers and creatives I have witnessed working hands-on with artists throughout the city. Devin (Bandit Brand) is an amazing seamster and has unique pieces in The Collective that have always stood out to me and touched every piece in the lineup. J-Will (Blood Lines Apparel) is a young designer that creates hand-drawn clothing. EZPZ Company is an all around clothing merchandiser but specializes in Tye Dye. Alex (InsertName Company) is a staple in RVA Street Wear and has inspired me for years with his innovative designs and representation of Hip Hop culture.

Photo by ElevenSensus Films

The next steps were to choose artists that we felt were representative of the music scene in Richmond, VA, and accurately represent them as well. As you continue to read the article, I will dive into the artists we chose, why we chose them and the vision behind the 1-of-1 pieces we created for RVAFW.

We did set criteria for ourselves as well. We set a limit of $100 total and all clothing had to be repurposed (meaning we thrifted everything besides the OG ILLA outfit due to some learning curves) and we did this to show there is beauty in second chances. Also, fashion doesn't mean spending a lot of money, it's about who has the look to pull it off. This wasn't an easy task and took a few trips to different spots to capture what we were looking for, but we did it!

UV Scutti

UV Scutti aka SkiMask Scutti is often on my mind when I think of the current scene in RVA Hip Hop. His care free attitude, aggressive music and often wild takes on life make him one of the most interesting people I've come across. He represents an entire sub genre of rap that is steadily growing city wide. Our vision behind this piece was to represent the contrast of Scutti's uncomplicated appearance against his intrinsic style of music. The plain white tee matched with the dad jeans and the colorful ski mask was pulled off perfectly with Daniel Szabo attitude.

Listen to Suavemente

G Sambo

"IRDGAF" took the city by storm a few years ago, landing G Sambo in the spotlight and even a feature from Asian Doll herself. Alex had the privilege of being able to work with Sambo for Creative Direction for his merchandise which left us with some exclusive pieces due to some printing issues with the manufacturing company. We wanted to make something that stood out without duplicating the t-shirt previously designed so we grabbed a canvas bag and made a two-toned tote bag that is also reversible (bandana imprint on the other side). During the model call, we snagged Kennedy who was excited to display the bag matched with an all-black fit that commanded everyone's attention.

Listen to "IRDGAF" Remix