Awake NY - A Conversation with Angelo Baque
If you were in a pub or a restaurant talking about the current industry, governed and guided by polymath-esque creatives and someone in the group says “if it wasn’t for ….. “ that person referenced would probably be Angelo Baque - he is the ultimate reference point in the ‘if it wasn’t for’ debate. His work at Supreme within a decade that saw a brand in NYC become a ‘house’ revered and respected by anyone with a heartbeat … his innate belief and connection with youth and passion to curate a future with the future is unsurpassed and thus has made him a name associated with change, cultural awareness and being AWAKE. Eyes wide open and an unerring devotion to making things better and more connected on a global level. Angelo celebrates coming together and pushing forward as one, inclusivity and creative homogeneity to make change.
We caught up with Angelo as he was in London launching his collaboration with Asics and asked a selection of pertinent questions in a short space of time to get to the bottom of what fuels the journey and why ... /
Quite simply, why Asics for AWAKE NY?
I’ve been a fan of the brand for a while, and when Asics first approached me with the project, it just felt like a natural partnership where our visions could coincide with one another, rather than a project that felt forced.
Can you take us through the choice of colour ways and intricacies in design. The black and gold appear to illustrate your love of hip hop - where does the green and silver colour originate from? How closely did you work with ASICS to manifest your vision?
When designing the collaboration, I drew inspiration from New York and Paris respectively. The silver and green trace back to my adolescence in New York, where I spent my days in Flushing Meadows Park in Corona, Queens. At the center of the park lies the Unisphere, a large stainless steel globe surrounded by a chorus of water fountains. The black and gold pair derives from my trips to Paris, specifically the ethos of wandering Parisian nights where street lights cast a golden hue over the city.
The cultural importance of the sneaker, when would you suggest that it started as the ultimate gesture of subcultural uniform and where can it go from here?
A pair of kicks has and will always be an expression of youth culture
Is the sneaker the ultimate canvas to advocate brand and cultural prowess - more so than the merch tee, hood or cap nowadays?
I don’t think there’s a hierarchy between the articles of clothing. They are all a collective force, and the sneaker is another platform for an individual or brand to align themselves with civil ideologies or a message.
“A pair of kicks has and will always be an expression of youth culture.”
With everything you have going on with life and your work being your art form - what changes have you made to ensure you have the energy to keep on keeping on?
Prioritizing my mental and physical health, and implementing self care habits like meditation have helped me fortify myself to stay in a place to not only continue to be creative and be strong in business, but to evolve as an artist and entrepreneur.
You are an educator now, a force to be reckoned with and listened to in your culture – is this a responsibility you embrace?
I embrace the impact I can make to the culture and use my platform to set a new standard in the industry. I want to lead by example and educate through both my personal actions and my brand
AWAKE NY, No Vacancy Inn, Stussy, Union - you are communities with power. No longer are brands simply competing, they are willing contemporaries with a bigger voice than just clothing. How vital is the collusion of you all to make one undeniable noise and indelible mark on youth culture?
The narrative of the past within the creative community has been to divide and conquer by those in financial power. Alternatively, this new movement is about innovating the industry to have solidarity within the community, instead of money motivated competition. As we continue to evolve, we push even further for more inclusion by destroying the stigma of a “boys club”. We are no longer leaving out the powerful voices and visions of women. Instead, we are embracing the craft of women like Shaniqwa Jarvis, Bephie Gibbs (co-owner of Union) and Melody Ehsani, who are creating a new perspective and source of power to the culture.
Words - Steve Monaghan
Photography - Adam Titchener