Trapstar London founders Mikey, Lee, and Will Trapstar have relied on their steady grind and have hustled hard to overcome any obstacles that have come their way. Before becoming the go-to streetwear brand for the likes of Rihanna and Cara Delevigne, their clothing line, faced much resistance from many established retail shops, who were reluctant to take a chance on the budding brand. Where others may have crumbled under such adversity, the London-based crew only grew more and more resourceful. In search creative ways to sell their clothing, they introduced the pop-up shop system they coined “Trapstar Invasions.” From there, that hustler’s mentality of theirs quickly began to pay off, and in a big way. Trapstar soon made the transitioned from cult favorite to a favorite of megastars and supermodels.
Already having London Town on lock, Trapstar is now prepping for what seems to be an inevitable international takeover. Part of this expansion is the newly announced Red Line label. Speaking on the new Trapstar addition, Mikey says, “Over the past eight years, the brand has evolved so much that we owe it to the people to provide more portals of entry to the Trapstar brand. This premium brand is one of them.” Life+Times caught up with Mikey Trapstar, who is also the clothing line’s creative director and head designer to discuss the Red Line collection, Trapstar’s partnership with Roc Nation, and UK fashion.
L+T: What does the new collection’s red line symbolize?
Mikey T: I can explain it like this: The red mark, which has been used within the Trapstar brand for years, symbolizes 20/20 vision. As you know, if you have 20/20 vision it means your eyesight is perfect, so the red line symbolizes the ability to have an open mind seeing further and seeing clear through the smoke screens of life, which are things that cloud your vision and choices such as insecurities and prejudice.
L+T: What are some of the things that inspired you while designing this new collection?
Mikey T: I’m heavily inspired by sportswear, military aesthetics, and life elements such as Earth, marble and water and art. That’s why we made a silk scarf not with a pattern, but with an image. We believe fashion is an art form, so we give you the choice to frame it or wear it.
L+T: What differentiates this new collection from other Trapstar collections?
Mikey T: It’s more adventurous. There is printed denim, capes, and silk scarves. There are less logos, hence no brand name. We have only used premium fabrics and applied more attention to detail. As the brand has grown, we have taken a fun, but mature approach to symbolize the growth.
L+T: Why did you choose Harvey Nichols for the launch of the new collection?
Mikey T: The main reason for this move was Reece Crisp. He was previously the buyer of our other vendor in London, Selfridges. He is an active part of the new fashion culture. He’s not just cutting a check. He’s true to this. He fully gets it, so we trust him. Harvey Nichols’ world renowned prestige, mixed with our new blood and new rules made this a perfect combination. With that being said, we felt Harvey Nichols would be the perfect fit to house this new chapter of Trapstar.
L+T: What does Trapstar’s new partnership with Roc Nation mean for the future of the brand?
Mikey T: It means growth, versatility and longevity, because Roc Nation is a master at all of those things. Who can teach you better than JAY Z, Jay Brown and Ty-Ty? Look at how far they’ve come and they’re still going stronger and stronger and breaking boundaries like it’s nothing. As Hov told me a while ago, “You know it’s time to take it to the next level, right?”
L+T: It seems like the early resistance to Trapstar created a hunger in you and your partners – a hunger to succeed and also a hunger to prove the naysayers wrong. How will you maintain that hunger now that you have such a successful brand?
Mikey TNah bruv. I’m still hungry like I was when I sold my first t-shirt out of my car boot [trunk]. Living in New York and being around the Roc has naturally installed more personal and financial goals. You learn that you can always do more. I feel like we’ve just qualified to fight with the heavyweights. Next, the goal becomes to fight for the championship title, which takes a lot of work. Once you get there you have to defend that belt to become legendary. Getting complacent just isn’t an option.
L+T: You’ve said you feel that UK fashion hasn’t fully been recognized on the global stage. With Trapstar being able to partner with an internationally-respected imprint like Roc Nation or collaborating with a US-based brand like 40oz NY, don’t you feel as if Trapstar has helped UK fashion, especially UK streetwear gain more recognition?
Mikey T: All those attributes have made a difference 100 percent. Trapstar has contributed to a degree. No doubt. There’s a bright future ahead, but I also know that Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m not expecting massive recognition over night.
For more information, check out Trapstar’s site here.
Photo credit: Damon Baker