Streetwear pioneer April Walker, founder of the Brooklyn fashion house Walker Wear is taking legal action against Virgil Abloh’s company Off-White, Saks Fifth, and other high fashion brands for misappropriation of her original designs.
The prolific designer, who has worked with the likes of the Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur, has left her stamp in the hip-hop-inspired fashion that we now call streetwear. As a black woman in the fashion industry, Walker wants to make a stand for all black and brown creatives who have been taken advantage of by bigger designers and fashion houses.
“Despite the foundations we laid, many female brown and black designers still face the same ‘invisible’ challenges, including that the big fashion houses like Off-White take our designs without permission and companies like Saks enable the conduct by selling articles with the stolen designs,” Walker said in a statement.
Walker’s “W mirror reflection” logo has been a staple of her brand since the early ‘90s. The design has been seen on the likes of Treach from Naughty by Nature, Tupac, and Mike Tyson. “Mike Tyson wore the design in the ring. Me being from Brooklyn and him being from Brooklyn, it was a big deal for me,” Walker tells Rock the Bells.
“As someone who started off in streetwear, seeing it turn into a multi-billion dollar company, I want to take a stand against the creative looting,” Walker tells us in an interview. “The only thing as bad as racism in this country is sexism. Bigger fashion houses have their backs on the heels of others that are doing the work.”