Vlone is and will always be more than just another streetwear brand. Their brand philosophy is what makes them unique and stand out from the other labels. It is a way of life, a lifestyle, nothing more and nothing less.
Vlone takes inspiration from the streets of Harlem and the hood culture that the creators grew up in, though today they have expressed how the place has been gentrified.
Teamwork is a big thing for them, despite the mantra of being alone.
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what is Vlone?
Generally, Vlone is considered a streetwear fashion brand and clothing label. But more than that, Vlone is a lifestyle and culture. The brand does not conform to being just a streetwear label.
There have been quite a number of people who had the idea of Vlone and helped in its creation. Though different sources differ in response, it is highly recognized that Jamari Shelton, also known as A$AP Bari was the main founder.
what does Vlone stand for?
There is more to Vlone than just a regular fashion brand. A$AP Bari mentions that Vlone is not street fashion or high fashion, but hood fashion.
It is always deeply rooted in their pasts growing up in Harlem, New York. Their slogan is “Live Vlone Die Vlone T-Shirt.” This was referencing a psychological thriller movie from Donnie Darko.
To put it simply, it means that we live alone and we die alone. Vlone is a play on the word “alone.” In an interview with Highsnobiety, the quote: “We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone.“
Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone” was mentioned by the owners. Vlone is how they see life – from successes to failures and everything in between.
history of Vlone
It all started with the founding of A$AP MOB, which was founded by A$AP Bari in 2006. More than a rap group, these are a creative collective. A$AP Bari always had a particular interest in fashion.
In 2011, he and A$AP K had the idea of Vlone, but eventually, A$AP K discontinued his involvement after a falling out with A$AP Bari. Also in the same year, it was a breakout year for A$AP MOB. A$AP Rocky released some of his most famous songs and solidified the group in the New York music and streetwear scene.
A$AP Rocky became somewhat of a fashion icon and also wore Vlone. Though A$AP Bari only gave Vlone pieces to A$AP MOB and their friends. This created a rise in popularity and demand for their pieces as the group was also becoming more famous.
Eventually, Vlone was available to the public but remained exclusive to sustain the hype. Drops were still limited and items cost about $100-$300. In 2014, Vlone debuted its first full collection and introduced the FRIENDS- logo.
The minus sign of the logo represented zero, and the logo basically meant zero or no friends. This ties back to the branding and message of Vlone, which is being alone.
In 2017, Vlone had a partnership with Nike to create Vlone Air Force 1s. It debuted in a pop-up shop in Harlem and the future was looking bright for the brand. They even had a collaboration with Off-White and Fragment Design, boosting their popularity even further.
The brand wanted to transition to higher quality items and a cut-and-sew brand model, emulating Off-White. They took a simple t-shirt design, built a cult following, and were exclusive.
In the same year, Vlone was also able to present at Paris Fashion Week. Their designs were a more high-end update of their usual pieces and played with leather and denim. Though their collection felt like a random assortment of ideas, what stood out were the new colorways of the Vlone Air Force 1s.
Also in 2017, A$AP Bari had a sexual assault controversy, which greatly affected the progress of Vlone. Other members had distanced themselves and Nike had also cut itself off from any ties to the brand. The new Air Force 1s designs from Paris Fashion Week never made it to the light of day.
Today, the brand is not the same as it was, though it is stronger than ever. It had exploded in commercial popularity and the brand’s new business model focused on collaborations with major artists. It became a go-to brand for album and merchandise collaborations, but no more major-named brands.
Artists they collaborated with include NBA Youngboy and The Weeknd. Vlone is an example of a brand that shone too bright and too quick. Many people today have a negative connotation of the brand as it has lost the respect of the general public.
why is Vlone popular?
Vlone is popular due to a multitude of reasons. Their branding is very distinct and artistic. Their simple designs with their logo-embellished products are attractive to the younger streetwear market.
It boosted its popularity when A$AP Bari went on a world tour, introducing Vlone. Another reason for their popularity is their collaborations with big-name brands like Nike and Off-White.
Its first appearance in A$AP Rocky’s music video also made tidal waves as the rapper was also increasing in popularity.
who made Vlone?
Though different sources have slightly different variations on who actually made Vlone. A$AP Bari has always been a main creator and founder.
A$AP K discontinued his involvement after a falling out with A$AP Bari, but the rest proceeded to develop the brand without him. Currently, the brand is supported by A$AP Bari, A$AP Rocky, and Edison Chen of CLOT. Each plays an important role within the brand and is all about teamwork.
what kind of brand is Vlone?
Vlone, in technicality, is a streetwear fashion brand. But more than that, the creators see Vlone as parallel to A$AP MOB. A$AP MOB is a collection of creative individuals, while Vlone is a lifestyle that is rooted in their “live alone, die alone” slogan. Vlone is neither high fashion nor street fashion, according to A$AP Bari – but hood fashion for Harlem residents.
is Vlone still popular and cool?
Generally, Vlone is still popular and present in the youth cultures, though their trajectory has slowed down as compared to their competitors. This could be the result of higher prices, that are not seen as equitable to their products.
Another big reason for this is A$AP Bari’s sexual assault controversy. This led to the loss of supporters and negatively affected their progress. To answer this, it would depend on who you are asking as different people have different views of Vlone.
popular Vlone products
Vlone FRIENDS- T-Shirt
This is one of the most popular designs of the brand. The FRIENDS- represent their motto of live alone, die alone – having zero or no friends. Its cryptic message is popular with the youth who follow the same ideology as the brand. This design is also printed in several hoodies, jackets, etc.
Black Juice Wrld Vlone Shirt 999 Logo Tee
This was the most popular of the shirts that were a collaboration of Vlone and Juice Wrld. It was dropped last July 13, 2020. The phrase “Legends Never Die” is placed on the front, to commemorate the life of the late artist. The back consists of the iconic V logo with the number “999” inside.
Vlone Nike Air Force 1
This was one of Vlone’s most iconic collaborations. Variations were made including a black and white high-top and a black and orange low-top version (inspired by the basketball team of the New York Knicks), engraved with the brand’s message.
This Nike collaboration further boosted Vlone’s popularity and status. In the same year, more colorways of this shoe were released during Paris Fashion Week. However, it never made it to stores due to the discontinuation of their collaboration.
It can be concluded that Vlone is not everyone’s cup of tea. There will always be supporters, but there are also haters, due to the scandal of A$AP Bari. Though it will never be the same and will probably not be taking on the luxury world, Vlone is still ever successful.
They have returned to their roots of collaborating with other artists with merchandise, and this has kept them on the radar.
There is no telling where Vlone will be in a few years, but it is interesting to watch them develop and find their footing in the world of fashion.
Kathleen, more commonly called Kaye, is a fashion designer and creative. She graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Clothing Technology from the University of the Philippines. Kaye is a fashion enthusiast interested in styling, content writing, and illustration. She has worked with several local and international brands and is currently in the pursuit of beginning her Master’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising in New York.