As Shaolin Fantastic in The Get Down, Shameik Moore portrays an enigmatic emcee and a crucial puzzle piece of the five-person rap group he helps forge. Though the eldest of the Get Down Brothers, he's humbled by lessons from his younger counterparts on their journey toward making it big. Life imitates art, in this instance. Moore credits his co-star, Jaden Smith, with helping him find his sartorial way. Fashion is important to Moore, who is currently working on his own line. Amidst the buzz of The Get Down's second season drop, we caught up with Moore to talk about his style, how his roles have affected the way he dresses and that one time Kanye wouldn't smile at him (predictable, right?).
You're from Atlanta, right? Did growing up there influence your style?
Yeah, for sure. I didn't have a lot of clothes growing up, I just wanted them. I would wear Air Forces and Blazers and Dunks. I had three pairs of sneakers.
And now, does it still have an effect on your style?
Yeah, in my style, a bit. I kinda came to New York for a while and got adjusted to a different sense of style and fashion. When I come to New York, or just in general, now there’s more attitude but also retro vibes, chill and very everyday. But when I get dressed up, I get dressed up; high fashion coming through with the swagger. But right now. I’m chilling. Like right now, I’m chilling but these are Dior boots, but you wouldn’t know that. This is an AltiMont jacket, shout out to Levis for the jacket, but you know it’s AltiMont with the painting on the back. This is my own company, AltiMont, get ready for that.
Tell me a little bit about AltiMont.
We’re building it right now, it’s in the process. I’m the only person wearing it right now, me and my crew, my team is wearing my pieces. After a while, when it builds up, we’ll drop it.
Did you ever get teased for your style growing up? Or now?
I think I got teased for my style. It was a transitional thing. I went from when I was younger and didn’t have clothes like that but then, when I started getting clothes and getting familiar with piecing together the way I wanted to, you know, my big bros, they would say, “Hmmm, do it like this.”
When working with A$AP Rocky and Jaden Smith, did you happen to bond with them over your shared enthusiasm for fashion?
Yeah. Well Rocky was the one making fun of me, the one I was telling you about, and Jaden’s very influential and chill, he’s himself. He’s his own person and so is Flaco. I don’t see Jaden as a little bro, but he is younger than me.
I saw you went to last year's Met Gala. How was that experience?
It was cool. See, I like parties where everyone’s dancing, so the Met Gala’s not that. It’s like everybody kinda like has their noses up, honestly. But it’s very high-brow, high fashion, high everything. It’s amazing, that’s great. But I’d rather be at a party that’s lit, girls shaking that ass, you know, honestly. I know that's probably inappropriate, but you know I want to hear trap music, R&B music, I want to enjoy myself, be dancing, getting lit with the homies, making a movie, you know what I’m saying? Those are the parties I enjoy. But the Met Gala was awesome. We performed, too, The Get Down brothers. Grandmaster Flash was DJing, then we went up onstage and danced. I was pointing at Kerry Washington, she was like [pointing back] very animated. The Kardashian mom [Kris Jenner] walks up to the stage like [snapping]. There was a lot of people in the crowd. Kanye looked away. He wouldn’t smile at me.
Do you have a style icon?
I really like A$AP Rocky. I admire lots of women, actually, with their fashion. I admire like Rihanna. I admire Solange; I think she has a cool style. I mean, a lot of women I like. Zendaya’s style when she’s dressed up for the red carpet; Yara Shahidi has some good looks; Chloe and Halle definitely killing it, been killing it. I just look at different people I know. I think Rocky’s really cool, I look up to him. Kanye is dope.
Do you vibe with Shaolin Fantastic’s wardrobe?
I don’t know if me, as Shameik, would wear Shaolin Fantastic gear, but I feel like the Pumas are fly, the leather jackets are dope. He was a b-boy, so it was like back then, if you were a b-boy, you were wearing Pumas most likely. Shao didn’t have a whole bunch of money, so it’s like he invested his money in his shoes.
You've been in really directional period pieces in terms of style and I'm wondering how that has affected your style.
I think Dope inspired my style a little bit. I was wearing a little more button-up shirts, buttoned all the way to the top. I was in that vibe. A lot of Adidas; I like Adidas. I wear my Vans a lot but I love Nikes. I love Adidas, too, and everything, it’s just I’ve been wearing these specific Nikes a lot lately, the Riccardo Tisci dunks.
What is your style philosophy?
Be yourself, express your feeling within. Simple is key.
You've got a fun, edgy Instagram vibe. How is it representative of your style or your personality as a whole?
I’m building it right now, creating a character, a vibe. The whole story that you’re going to be seeing on my Instagram, social media is capturing my vibe how I feel.
Any aspirations for designing in the future?
I want to have my own hotel. I want to have my own car line. I want to have a clothing line. I’m working on having my own label and different types of artists and brands and whatnot. I want to get into helping fund creative kids out of Atlanta. I want a restaurant. There’s a lot of things I have written down that I’m working on. In my next 10 years, I plan to get a lot of this done.
(Photo: Rebecca Smeyne/BET)
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