What Happened To Vlone?
Updated: Aug 12
The title of this article is loaded, however, we will be unpacking some of the key points of the brand that have been ever-present in youth culture since it's beginnings. Before we go further, it is important to explain that Vlone is not solely a fashion brand but a lifestyle brand that has infiltrated youth culture on a massive scale. This separation from your average streetwear brand is why it is important to detail the points that lead the brand to where it is within the current landscape. Due to this fact, we can also link the connection of fashion to Vlone with A$AP Rocky's presence as part of the A$AP MOB, although it is the flagship, there are various parts to the infrastructure that allows the structure as a whole it to stand on its own.
The Parallel between the ASAP Mob and Vlone doesn't end there because a founding member of the A$AP Mob, Bari, is also the creative director of the lifestyle brand and oversees all things Vlone, other integral members of the Vlone team during its inception where Edison Chen, a multitalented individual and designer for Vlone and of course A$AP Rocky, who as previously mentioned was the style icon that brought the initial attention to the brand. The ethos of Vlone was potent and appealed to it's demographic in various ways. Vlone is a play on the word 'Alone', which is an identifiable feeling for a lot of youth as they find their way through society. The brand's slogan 'Every Living Creative Dies Alone', written on the sleeves on long sleeve T-Shirts and other garments, were the mantras for the Vlone community as the period of 2014 to 2016 saw the emergence of creative minds across the world. Part of the success of the Label was it's a profound influence on Hip Hop culture which was another way of speaking to the youth indirectly. With huge support from budding artists at the time, who we now know to be megastars, such as Gunna, AJ Tracey, Lil Uzi Vert, and Playboi Carti. The Vlone lifestyle was front and center in album covers, music videos, jewellry, and even tattoos as many showed their dedication to the brand by putting it on their skin, a form of brand loyalty all brands in both luxury and streetwear can only dream of, the only brand that comes close is Gucci.
Watch the 2016 Playboi Carti music video for 'WHAT' featuring multiple Vlone Pieces.
Reverting to the initial question, What happened to Vlone? Although Vlone is still very present in youth culture, the brand's trajectory to the status of brands such as Bape and Supreme has definitely slowed down in the past few years, this is due to various reasons based on public scandals, broken bonds in friendships and the overall direction of the brand in terms of fashion ethos. The first indication of a dent in the seemingly unstoppable rise of the Vlone brand was the infamous dispute between creative director A$AP Bari and close friend/mentee Ian Connor in May of 2016, ironically this dispute was made public at an Off White x Vlone pop-up shop, which was one of the brand's biggest accomplishments thus far in terms of being connected to a massive brand within the fashion world. Bari and Ian's issues continued from this pop-up shop to the internet and fans of both began to discuss the break up of the two self-proclaimed brothers rather than the monumental collaboration that had just occurred. The conversation began to divert from fashion to petty disputes, which was a blow for the Vlone brand as one of its major influencers was at odds with its creative director, even exposing the manufacturers of the brand that suggested the apparel line to be a cash grab rather than a quality product with the consumer in mind. This was not a massive blow, but a sign of what was to come.
Another situation that deterred the course of the Vlone brand was public scandals involving creative director A$AP Bari and a sexual assault case that was recorded on video and leaked to the public. This, therefore, resulted in a vast amount of public backlash and as Bari was so connected to the Vlone brand, this was a big setback to the brand's trajectory in moving into its next stages of the fashion hierarchy. The allegations arose in 2017, which was a year that Vlone has made huge progress in the industry, from their first runway show at Paris Fashion Week to their high profile collaboration with Nike. Due to the allegations, their partnership with Nike was terminated and they have since not made an appearance at any fashion week runway shows.
Through detailing some of the points that have been the reason for the brand's seemingly stunted growth, since the scandals, it would be difficult to say that Vlone is not still an important part of street fashion and youth culture. This is due to the fact that the appeal of the brand was based in more than oversized graphics on a hoodie or a 'V' at the back of a T-shirt as a lifestyle brand it had too many strings to it's the bow, that allowed it to survive a set back that many may not have recovered from. The Vlone logo and name are still very much alive, although the fashion aspect of the brand has taken a different identity. The brand began from Bari being the creative behind the A$AP MOB tour merch, and since 2017 it seems like the brand has gone back to its roots by partnering with young artists/musicians that they inspired during their rises, such as Nav and the late New York rapper Pop Smoke. Vlone has become an entity that is not necessarily a stand-alone fashion label but a staple in the culture.
Do you think Vlone can get back to the heights of its 2017 Paris fashion week show and big brand collaborations? let us know in the comments below.