Between NBA All-Star Weekend and New York Fashion Week, it's been a huge few days for sports, fashion and music in New York City. There were a few runways where those three elements merged more seamlessly than at the Grungy Gentlemen fashion show in downtown Manhattan.
Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch of the LOX turned up the presentation with a performance of their hits as models walked the runway, and then jumped on the catwalk themselves to model some of Grungy Gentlemen's impeccably-tailored hats, blazers and bomber jackets. Juelz Santana closed out the show with a surprise set.
While Grungy Gentlemen's pieces — and price points — are accessible for a wide audience, founder Jace Lipstien has built his business catering to the niche markets of musicians and athletes. "It is clearly apparent that sports and fashion are two platforms which are evolving together," he says, crediting former NBA Commissioner David Stern's enforcement of a dress code among players as a game-changer for his industry. "An athlete's marketability is essential for apparel, ticket sales and the success of a franchise. Menswear has been exposed to a huge untapped audience as a result of the athletes being conscience of their own marketability."
Grungy Gentlemen already has a strong foothold in the world of hip hop — perhaps Lipstien's biggest passion outside of designing clothes — with collaborations with Nas and Raekwon over the past couple of years. When BET.com asked Lipstien who he would most like to collaborate with in the future, he seemed genuinely overwhelmed by the question. "I want to think about this really hard," he said. "Would it be too obvious to say Jay Z? Because it would be Jay Z," he says, before committing to his answer. "Look what he has built. He really shows men how to carry themselves. Jay is not only an activist but also a family man and a creative visionary. He shows people you can balance everything."
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