This Week in Fashion: Hip Hop Fashion Extraordinaire April “Walker Wear”
April Walker has been a history-making streetwear innovator and Fashion Icon for over 30 years.
With the debut of her urban gear company titled Walker Wear in 1992, she has gained a cult-like following. Being a Hispanic female Fashion designer in the early 90s was almost unheard of, but for California native turned New Yorker, April Walker, it was her destiny.
Walker was 13yrs old when she started teaching gymnastics to fellow students, charging them $5.00. With the money she made from her classes, she would purchase materials from New York's garments district.
However, in 1988 April Walker opened her first clothing shop on Greene Avenue in Brooklyn. When Walker opened her first custom fashion business and shop, "Fashion in Effect," at the age of 20, she made custom outfits for notable artists such as Shaggy, Audio Two, Notorious B.I.G., and Shyne Head.
She officially became known as a Female Fashion designer, Stylist, and business owner. She was forming her own as a part of New York's hip-hop in-crowd.
Walker's urban gear started to pop up on MTV, B.E.T., in movies such as above the Rim, in the Music video, the legendary late great rapper Tupac Shakir was her earliest supporter, Naughty by Nature, Queen Latifah, and Aaliyah.
Walker Wear became one of the first urban brands to secure national retail distribution from major retail department stores, including Federated/Macy's, Footlocker, Spiegel, Finish Line, Dayton's, and Dillard's.
Since her debut in the mid-90s, a newer generation has discovered her clothing line. Also, her iconic jersey is selling for $800.00 on websites such as eBay. This new generation is interested in her fashion pieces. This newfound interest has made April Walker's vintage items one of a kind because of the rarity of the pieces and the history behind them.
In 2021 Walker Wear submitted a copy-write lawsuit against Off-White for jacking its signature WW XXL Athletic mark—two side-by-side Ws—which the company has used since at least 1993. According to a court document obtained by VIBE, Walker Wear founder April Walker filed a complaint last Friday (Aug. 20) against Off-White and retailers Farfetch and Saks Fifth Avenue "for federal and state trademark infringement, federal and state as an unfair competition, and state unfair business practices."
Walker Wear filed the complaint after Off-White began selling its varsity jacket for $2,234, breaking down the similarities between the designs: "The infringing Jacket uses a virtually identical design to the WW Mark. The Infringing Jacket displays the two W's in silver against a dark background on a casual, streetwear-style jacket. The W's themselves closely resemble those on Walker Wear's designs, broadly outlined with flat serifs (i.e., extending tips) at the top of each W."
The lawsuit is correctly on hold. Due to the founder of Off-White Virgil Abloh 41, the unexpected death of Virgil's cause was cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of the disease. His estate has declined all requests for information regarding the statutes of the ongoing lawsuit.
Chiriboga, Bernarda, Mos Neammanee, Claude J. Easy, Padma Yang, Gregory Kelly, Kulture Hub Squad, Kulture Hub, and Sophie McNally. “April Walker Is the Founding Mother of Streetwear Fashion.” Kulture Hub, March 2, 2021. https://kulturehub.com/april-walker-streetwear-fashion/.
Dixon, Siobhan. “Walker Wear Founder April Walker Sues Virgil Abloh's off-White.” VIBE.com, August 31, 2021. https://www.vibe.com/lifestyle/fashion/walker-wear-april-walker-sues-off-white-virgil-abloh-1234626627/.
Elitou, Tweety. “April Walker: Meet the Woman Who Shaped 90s Hip Hop Fashion with Streetwear Worn by Tupac, LL Cool J, and More!” BET. Accessed March 18, 2022. https://www.bet.com/article/4qepe4/april-walker-meet-the-woman-who-shaped-90s-hip-hop-fashion.