When A$AP Rocky was in a Swedish jail, the sun never really set. It was July 2019, and Rocky was being held in pretrial detention on an assault charge stemming from a street fight in Stockholm with a few young men who had been following and harassing him and his crew.
During the high summer in Stockholm, the sun is out for about 18 hours a day. For the other six, dusk melts into dawn.
So he kept himself busy. He worked out. He prayed. And true to form as one of music's most advanced fashion tastemakers, he designed a collection on spec for buzzy Parisian designer Marine Serre.
Rocky had been a fan of Serre's conceptual regenerative streetwear for a few years, and one day in his cell, he began to conceive the outline for a collaboration. He got a pen and paper, which he used to sketch out the idea of a dress that looks imported from a dystopian future: Picture a vintage T-shirt, stretched and elongated, then finished with a kilt-like hem and a Jedi master hood.
He didn't know if the discerning Parisian designer would agree to work with AWGE, Rocky's creative agency that functions as a platform for his fashion projects. However, he had nothing but time, so he sat in his cell and sketched away.
When Rocky got out, he flew home to L.A., and then soon after, rather than take a victory lap or do what most Americans imprisoned abroad tend to do upon their release, which is to stay put in the States for a little while, he jetted to Paris to have coffee with Serre so he could propose turning his jailhouse dream of a collaboration into a reality.
Read the full interview on GQ.com
“I was not expecting anything,” says Serre of their meeting, but the 29-year-old designer was immediately struck by Rocky's familiarity with garment construction. “He brought me some scarves that he did himself, and I liked the fact that he really knew how to stitch and how to understand the material. And then basically it was just an exchange—ego was not really there,” Serre says. So they got to work. “It was quite natural and easy, and clearly not all collaborations are like that today.” The collection, which includes clingy nylon tops encrusted with upcycled chains, an oversized puffer made with deadstock leather, and those dark, frilly dresses, each constructed from 11 different vintage graphic tees, came out at the end of last year.