Is it rap merch or a luxury brand?
By Mikaela Delos Santos, Publishing Editor
At what point are certain rapper brands considered luxury? Yeezy’s, October’s Very Own (OVO), Golf Wang— is it rapper merch, or is it an actual brand?
These were some of the questions I asked myself as I observed the people at the OVO warehouse sale in Calgary.
If you aren’t familiar with OVO, it’s a Toronto-based brand by artist Drake. I won’t lie, I had been rolling my eyes from the very moment I stepped foot inside the warehouse where the sale was held.
I had to go through three different security checkpoints before actually getting in. In the first line they asked me if I was wearing OVO merch, the second one was a coat check, which is actually convenient, but it was the third one that really annoyed me. I had to put my phone in a little gray bag that would make it impossible for me to use while I shopped around.
Come on. How conceited of a brand can you be that a phone is such a threat for your leftover clothes no one wanted to pay full price for?
Anyway, I do have to state that this event is not an exclusive OVO pop up. It was held by an event management company.
Maybe it’s them I should criticize, but overall, OVO just tries way too hard to be lavish. It’s easy to see through their ego and it bothers me how many people just accept it. $170 for a hoodie with a little owl label! My set of Costco hoodie and sweatpants feels just as comfortable for half the price. And everyone knows I’m a Costco member too. A much better flex than being a Drake fan, am I right?
I will let you know though that I ended up getting something from the sale. I got a pair of purple velvet sweatpants and a jacket. I got it, not because I’m a Drake fan, because I’m not, but because I thought it made me look like the dust bag of a Crown Royal Whisky. I thought it would be funny to go as that for Halloween. In my opinion, OVO is pretty gag material.
Overall, OVO as a brand is for wannabe Drake’s. The price and quality ratio reminds me of Toronto’s housing market—really overpriced for the bare minimum.
Although, OVO is good to wear to trick people into thinking you’re not from Alberta. It’s also good to mention that Drake’s label is also named October’s Very Own. Hence, my take? OVO is just overpriced rap merch.
We all know Kanye, a musical genius turned… I don’t even know. Aside from his shenanigans, he’s also known for his brand Yeezy. I remember how everyone went crazy for the Yeezy Boost 350 V1, released back in 2015. It was fashion forward—literally. Its silhouette slanted forward and was boosted by ribbed rubber for soles.
According to HighSnobiety, while its retail price was around $200, resale prices went up as far as $2,000.
In 2020, the brand released the Foam Runners—an equivalent to Crocs.
According to Fast Company, the alien-like foam abstraction is made with environmentally friendly algae. I personally knew someone who owned the abominations of a shoe, and I won’t lie, it’s kinda comfy. If you’re standing still that is. I don’t know if it’s my odd walking gait, but you’re bound to trip and collect pebbles at your toes wearing them.
If you wear and go crazy for every Yeezy release and Kanye spiels, I’m worried for you.
Yeezy consumers are driven by Kanye’s cult of personality—Yeezy is also just expensive rap merch.
Back in middle school, the popular kids at my school wore this turquoise blue shirt that said ‘GOLF’ on them. I thought it was a cool shirt, but I never knew what was so special about it. It wasn’t until I discovered Tyler the Creator that I realized it’s his fashion brand.
I actually like GOLF. There’s a uniqueness that doesn’t feel like bragging but rather, a genuine showcase of identity.
It’s quirky, colourful, and fun—just like Tyler and his audience. Some of his apparel does go for $150, but it’s definitely better than paying for a simple hoodie with a tiny logo. GOLF also has a good balance of eccentric wearability. You can pair it with pretty much anything you have in your closet.
Not gonna lie, GOLF had its run. I don’t really see anyone past middle school wearing GOLF. What I really like about the brand is that it can be independent of its own identity even without Tyler the Creator.
So, I can say that GOLF is an actual brand and not just expensive rap merch. It just so happens that a rapper started it.