OFWGKTA the Millennial Wu-Tang Clan
Odd Future Wolf Gang kill them all, OFWGKTA. For those of a certain age, myself included, this sometimes rap collective became a millennial’s version of the Wu-Tang Clan. Existing in a space and time when accessibility, lifestyle branding, and “content” are just as important as (if not more than) the music itself. The members of Odd Future quickly defined and grew its following through their closely woven connection to the world wide web. As a British teenager, I had little to no concept of West Coast skateboard culture. Where Wu-Tang Clan had their Wu Wear clothing line. Odd Future started Golf Wang to further cultivate the connection with their audience.
Converting a generation
Entrepreneurship translated into clothing, pop-up shops, stickers, and Adult Swim television show, Loiter Squad. Street wear brands, namely Supreme, were also revitalised with their co-signs. While the reality of the situation was; this was all achieved through the strength of their characters and the unwillingness to abide with the status quo. Their use of the internet to achieve virtual exposure and generate loyalty via transparency was the first of its kind to successfully scale barriers to mainstream fame. Whether it was a calculated move or just a happy coincidence Odd Future had converted a generation into tube sock wearing Supreme 5 panel repping super fans and although in 2019 the music has unfortunately faded, the style lives on and has developed and matured just as the members of the group have.
Golf Wang’s beginnings
Golf Wang is the surviving force to come out of Odd Future. To this day lead by the playful mind of Tyler, the Creator, who certainly lives up to his moniker. Each year Golf Wang would develop, building on its initial inception which essentially was fronted by hats, shirts and socks with fun and bizarre graphics. Laser eyed cats, childish satanic doodles, Lucas Vercetti’s face, and the iconic cartoon donut all featured heavily. Golf Wang’s first collaborative project came via a plethora of colourful old-school Vans which brought kids that little bit closer to Tyler’s unique style.
Growth of the brand
As previously alluded to with every season came a tighter and more refined incarnation of the brand. Sewn pieces were introduced using a variety of fabric choices. As Tyler matured as a man, and as an artist, Golf Wang become progressively more layered. Something which if you analyse further was reflected in each of the members of Odd Futures later musical exports. Characters like Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean really became three-dimensional and progressive which their work, growing exponentially from their debut forms within the group. Plotting the Golf Wang collections year after year, you would be able to see how thematic they have become. Starting with adolescent humour then gradually moving to nostalgia, maximalism, and the surreal.
Golf Wang x Vans
Regardless of theme, or colour palette, the brand has been able to maintain its charm and vulgarity in equal measure. In 2016 Golf Wang parted ways with Vans to pursue a new footwear endeavour with Converse which they wonderfully named Golf le Fleur. This, and the opening a year alter of a brand new brick-and-mortar boutique on Fairfax Avenue, LA, really helped grow Golf Wang as a brand further. The significance of the store in LA is the brand’s deep rooted connection with the city, which stems from Tyler, the Creator’s youth and the brand is a distorted reflection of it. Post-war Americana mixed with modern apathy; the collections can feel like a cross between Norman Rockwell and Larry Clarck.
The brand itself reflects the group who started it, all with contrasting personalities, styles and traits. Golf Wang could near seamlessly blend into the wardrobes of films like Edward Scissorhands and Natural Born Killers and the wider spanning inspirations seem to know no bounds. The physical location of the store of course also tells a story in itself. It’s neighbourhood alumni being Supreme, Flight Club, and The Hundred to name just a few. For 20 years Fairfax has been a cultural hub of youth culture. A place where skateboarding and street wear has taken centre stage, acting as a microcosm of Los Angeles as a whole – hip, surfy, ghetto, all under a blue sky.
HOT 97 FREESTYLE
Tyler, the Creator is a reflection of this world. When he burst onto the scene no one looked like him in a hip hop context, and certainly no one thought his style – which was overwhelmingly unique – could attain such a following. His work across all his chosen art forms is his persona incarnate, and that is the strength of it. Everything he does is authentic to him, whether it be his music, his internet personality or his fashion. He isn’t chained to certain ideas, or cliches, he acknowledges that all of this can change and adapt almost overnight just as he can. Golf Wang has clearly grown as a brand, just as Tyler has grown as an individual.
Phenomenally original, their is no wonder that in a recent freestyle on popular radio station Hot97 he nonchalantly quipped that:
“Why when they mention black businesses, they never mention me, dog? I don’t know, please, see man. ‘Cause if they talkin’ M’s, GOLF did 17 in ’18, mothafucka. And that’s just one season, huh”.
Which is a claim that his brand made $17 Million off of his SS18 collection alone. Despite Golf Wang being an exclusive and highly limited brand, it is universally agreed that it is most definitely linked not cosmopolitan, and instead at its core linked to the very fabric of suburban and rural American folk culture.
Golf le Coste
In 2019 Golf Wang is further expanding its reach, with Igor himself (Tyler) being spotted sporting a new collaborative project with Lacoste at the French Open playfully titled Golf le Coste. Featuring a pink and white long-sleeved collar shirt and a velvet cardigan of the same hues. Both articles feature branding elements from Lacoste and Golf Wang – the collared shirt is labeled with the word “GOLF” in the shape of the Lacoste crocodile on the left breast, while the cardigan is tagged with the Lacoste crocodile in front of a familiar floral symbol on the pocket.
Golf le FLEUR*
While more interestingly for us trainer fanatics, following on from his rainbow soled Converse collaboration in June, Golf le FLEUR* have unveiled a new “Colorblock” pack. Featuring two takes on the One Star silhouette from Converse. Each with an all-white upper offset by a bold midsole in either “Racing Red” or “Kelly Green”. With both expecting to arrive via online trainers platform Converse.com and Golf Wang on August 3rd.