We Are The Rhoads Make a Statement with Vince Staples
When Mobolaji Dawodu joined GQ as their Style Fashion Editor he brought with himself a different take on what clothes can mean, and it was that vision that came to bear on We Are The Rhoads’ latest shoot with Vince Staples. These three unlikely creative forces blended together to create something special. For The Rhoads, Staples was the perfect partner to show off the unique fashion. “Vince has this effortless, cool, chill vibe, and he’s the type where I think he trusted everyone,” says Chris. “He trusted Mobolaji, he trusted us and he just went with it. He’s the type of person where you can put him in anything and he makes it look awesome.” That point is crucial. Dawodu has gained a reputation for choosing challenging looks with unconventional pieces that have retro inspirations. The fashion was a blend of patterns, textures, and silhouettes that are seldom seen in pop fast fashion, so the Rhoads and Staples presented them in such a way that they would be digestible to a wide audience. Staples was perfect model because he can wear anything.
It’s not enough to look good in a denim overall with a tuxedo shirt. The clothes had to make sense in the images. The looks were remarkable in references and volume, with aesthetics just foreign enough to scream attention for from the casual viewer. The Rhoads gave that context, and for that they needed balance. Instead of pushing Staples to a place where his energy would match the explosive clothes, they had him work with more subtlety to make the looks accessible. “Bringing his nonchalant nature just felt right because he was already giving off that vibe already so we wanted to really capture and tell the story of who he was,” explains Sarah. “It felt like it needed that kind of treatment versus being over the top in his attitude to match the clothes. We wanted to let him wear the clothes how he would naturally wear them and what he would naturally be giving us.” Vince grew up in Long Beach and uses his platform to take the popular sheen of allure off gang life - something that is a very real part of his past. High waisted khaki pants and tuxedo shirts are certainly counter to the typical Crip narrative - he’s using all his influences to forge new ground in his own way.
The Rhoads spent the day running all around LA with Staples and Dawodu, letting the shoot unfold as the clothes were pulled out of bags and constructed into outfits in real time. The Rhoads let those moments dictate how they created, drawing inspiration from the fashion and Staples himself, engaging in a sartorial conversation with the man made topography of Los Angeles. A landmark moment came when Dawodu pulled out a big duster jacket for Staples. The powder blue fabric features a trio of repeated navy stripes, offset by thin red lines. As soon as she saw the jacket Sarah knew where she wanted to photograph it. “The Eastern Columbia Building is basically one of the oldest buildings in Downtown LA,” explains Sarah. “It has those blue and teal stripes and once Mobolaji pulled out that duster and put it on Vince I knew we had to go to this place because I wanted to give a nod to what he was wearing, and pull out the colors through the environment.” It was Sarah’s favorite moment. Chris agrees: “That was my favorite too.” The resulting images are explosive in the colors and lines seen in the clothes chosen by Dawodu, framed by Sarah and Chris Rhoads’ composition, and anchored on the solid foundation of Staple’s unflappable demeanor. It’s a synthesis of three forces flawlessly in tune.