Founder of Walker Wear, April Walker is considered as one of the architects and trailblazers in streetwear. Having seen a lot of changes and transformations within the fashion industry, watching it grow from being no industry to being in a multi billion dollar industry. With the recent release of ‘The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion’ released in 2019 on Netflix, hailing Walker Wear as one of the iconic brands and revealing her decades of experience with the pioneering glitterati of Hip Hop and streetwear muses from the eighties and nineties. She dressed major league artists such as 2Pac, Biggie, Aaliyah and Method Man, huge names in Hip Hop, even unto today. On the flip side was the underbelly of the misogynistic and oppressive music and fashion industries, being black and being subjected to mass-misappropriation, yet also being a woman to first launch a streetwear brand in that era. From Brooklyn, New York, April is the oldest of three sisters, has two brothers, loves travelling, is a foodie, and is driven by all things Hip Hop and Brooklyn.  

How did you start out in the fashion industry?

Young and still in college, April was already exposed to the music industry because of her father who managed jazz musicians, Jay-Z, D Train and more. When Hip Hop exploded on the scene, “it was communicating the voice of the unheard, for me… speaking my language… self expression at it’s best at that moment in the eighties.” April paints a nostalgic scene of New York’s charm, describing it as an intersection of many different music genres: street, punk… rock n roll to the gritty grimy New York that people remember if they’re native New Yorkers or watched enough old movies. “You could go to the club and see a hustler hanging out with the correction officer or a hustler hanging out with an athlete. “It was a melting pot” where no one cared about labels. This sense of freedom also came money flowing in from the crack movement that hit.

The opening of her first store came after visiting Dapper Dan’s store (open 24/7) in Harlem, New York one night after the Apollo – Dapper Dan was known for his exclusive customisation of fashion and accessories. Feeling inspired and ignited to do something similar in her neck of New York, April came up with the concept for her store. Her motto of “success leaves clues” was a result of pursuing her passion. With the help of her younger sisters, who were still in school, to make a cutting table, and additional resource leant to her from Dapper Dan. Humble beginnings began as she followed the blueprint of customising and designing clothes. Things began to fall into place and be figured out as the process went on. First starting out of her house, six months to a year on, April opened her first shop five blocks away called Fashion In Effect, with homemade signage.

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Photo Credits: Biggie ( Nitro Photographer), 2Pac (Unknown, seen on ciphershow)