Feb 03, 2017 9:43PM
No Vacancy Are Family First And Culture's New Frontier
Welcome to the club.
"We're not about all that – denying access to somebody based on this platform called wealth." Acyde is calling from London, between playing in Milan and showing in Paris. "Anyone can engage if they're curious – we're non-gender-specific, non-age-specific… it's all love". He, Tremaine Emory and a nebulous network of influential unicorns make up No Vacancy. The roving figurative home of experimentalists who built their credibility in music, their notoriety as a party concept, and their longevity as a springboard for conversations and activations that challenge the traditional barriers to entry in fashion, music art and information. They've taken over the likes of Brooklyn Museum, Dover Street Market, and Bodega 245 with their package deal of good tunes, good threads, and good chat, drawing diverse crowds who buy into their lifestyle and brand identity as a social status symbol. They become fixated on the success arc of the group rather than some star individual.
As such, lifestyle brands have been quick to participate. During Art Basel Miami last month, YouTube Music enabled a brick-and-mortar No Vacancy Inn at an appropriately cheesy South Beach waterfront mansion, boasting nightly live performances by No Vacancy family – the likes of A$AP Mob, Francis the Lights and Joey Bada$$ – and a visual extension of their popular podcast COMMUNIVERSITY produced in conjunction with another street culture fixture, KNOW WAVE that had cameras rolling on multi-faceted guests over the course of the weekend. Standing between the neon-lit pool, a crab boil, and Benji B doing what Benji B does, Tremaine broke down the success of the brand: "More than anything, it's inclusive. We all come from different places, different upbringings, and yet all of that is equally great, which takes the pressure off on the learning curves around growing our community." However, let it be known that it's not just about youth culture. The responsibility to educate, inspire and influence spans all generations. Frequent No Vacancy collaborators Virgil Abloh (of OFF-WHITE, FLAT WHITE and Kanye fame) and Brock Korsan (a.k.a. Brocky Marciano) preach the same verse, with emphatic additions of "symbiosis", "democracy" and "connecting the dots of collective identity".
More recently last week, the collective loaned its cultural cogency to an extension of their hugely successful No Vacancy Inn merch by the name of A®TDAD™LLC – the No Vacancy laissez-faire philosophy manifested in a unisex 10-piece collection of everyday coats, onesies, tees and tracksuits. I say merch, and not streetwear, because the former stands as a more relevant symbol of an authentic shared experience (which at, say, a $75-150 price range is hardly an alienating buy-in). Meanwhile, the latter has been seized by fashion for the novel irony of urban youth displaced into the inaccessible – championed by the press for clickbait value, and the fashion elite for their own validation in some vague subcultural underground. Like Vetements. Like Louis Vuitton x Supreme.
Rather than going up against the existing noise of Paris Men's Fashion Week, A®TDAD quietly debuted its centrepiece shearling greatcoat in amongst old mate OFF-WHITE's unisex show, and accidentally-on-purpose ended up the most Instagram-ed garment of the week, second only to Louis Vuitton x Supreme's jarring red and LV monograms. The rest of the collection went out to the world via social media. Instead of a private industry showroom as is standard practice, A®TDAD opened its doors to whoever identified with the product ("We want anyone to be able to come in and have a tactile experience.") and being an "art dad" – like Acyde, like Tremaine, like Kanye, like A$AP Rocky, like every 30-something-year-old male friend of mine and their significant others Whatsapp-ing me about the pieces they were seeing on @prettyvacantcyde and @denimtears' Instagram stories.
That same pragmatism carries through not only to the garments themselves, but also the deliberate (and savvy) disregard for fashion's seasonal timelines imposed on designers. As Acyde puts it, the sentiment remains simple and consistent whether we're in South Beach or the 3rd arrondissement: "Some people look at fashion as this vacuous extravagance. What they're seeking is very much focused on fame and ego. What we hope we're doing is to cultivate and enhance the culture that's allowed us to become who we are. If I hadn't grown up in certain cultural arenas, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing right now. I'd have to get what people call a normal job. Which is why I was interested in talking to you."
And so, here we are – then onto the next.
Welcome to the No Vacancy Inn.