“We really should have done some Rihanna Rocawear umbrellas when that song became a hit. We could have made a load of money on those. I’m still kicking myself.”
For all of the chaos that was left in the wake of the Roc-A-Fella break up, there is still some positivity that can be found if a person searches through the rubble of the Dynasty.
Aside from being business partners in their musical venture, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Damon Dash also decided to take a crack at the fashion industry. A true hustler knows that various paychecks becomes much more beneficial than a single check so the two needed to find a means to use their exposure to broaden their brand.
Officially launched in 1999, the line has developed clothing for adults and children and has expanded by creating handbags, jewelry and even sunglasses.
Unfortunately the break up found Dash selling his stake in the enterprise to Jay for $20 million. Jigga would later sell his own rights in March 2007 to Iconix Brand Group for $204 million. Jay, however, was still given the ability to oversee the marketing, licensing and product development.
As Jay caught up with Women’s Wear Daily, Mr. Carter actually gave his former business partner his due for his work with the clothing line. He also added how their different mentalities in business were a reason behind the rift.
“Dame did a great job when he was here. I just feel that I have a different way of running things, which I think is working out well. I let people make mistakes, and push them to be creative. I let a design team design. When they feel good about something they have created, it makes them want to do more. It makes them want to do their best. People are happy here. I’m not a controlling manager and I have a great team that makes me confident that things can run well when I’m on the road, and I’m proud of that.”
Jay also expressed how the brand has been absorbed by the community and established itself within the marketplace.
“Rocawear has always been a part of the whole overall culture. It’s connected to everything that I do. So, coming in full time was important to me. It’s something I really believe in and something I want to protect.”
Always known to be a trendsetter, Hov explained how the actual idea of the brand was sparked back in 1997 while the rapper was on stage.
“I would be onstage performing, and I noticed that all the kids were wearing iceberg jeans. The same jeans that I would wear. So, we thought, ‘Why should we let Iceberg get all this business when we can do it ourselves?”
Acting as a catalyst to having young African-American males ditching sports jerseys and throwing on button ups, Rocawear was able to hit the fashion industry by storm. As FUBU was, the new brand from Jay and Dame was fully embraced by the urban community.
Estimates show that Rocawear has annual sales of $800 million. In March 2009, reports stated that the brand launched its first social networking site which offers things such as style news, music and fashion.