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pharrell williams is trying to save endangered species with his new jeans

With 25 unique prints, the Elwoodx25 collection sees the rapper/producer trying to raise the world's environmental awareness. NBD.

by André-Naquian Wheeler
|
16 September 2017, 1:00am

Pharrell Williams is the OG when it comes to blending hip-hop with fashion. He co-launched the enduring skate-inspired brand Billionaire Boys Club in 2005, designed cufflinks and sunglasses for Louis Vuitton, and made rainbow-colored grillz a thing. And he has had plenty of rule-breaking fashion moments, turning the hat from Arby's logo into a signature piece and making a strong case that wearing shorts with a tuxedo jacket is not just for frat boys. Now, the multi-hyphenate has added "Head of Imagination at G-Star" to his resume and released jeans in 25 different prints that draw from a smorgasbord of inspirations: from endangered species to famous works of art.

To preview the spring/summer 18 collection, G-Star and Pharrell threw a launch party during New York Fashion Week and turned the brand's Chelsea store into a 50s laundromat — the wrinkled pants filling up laundry baskets and hanging from the ceiling on garment conveyors. And rocking the sure-to-sell-out jeans were a few of Pharrell's friends: Jaden Smith, Joey Bada$$, Desiigner, and D.R.A.M.

"I pushed G-Star to see this rare side of itself," Pharrell tells i-D, donning a pair of the Van Gogh-esque floral shorts he designed. "They gave me real weight," he says of his new "Head of Imagination" title, bestowed after working with the brand in 2014 to turn recycled ocean plastic into denim.

Pharrell's timing for an environmentally-minded collection is crucial, as the Environmental Protection Agency is under siege by Trump's administration. He turns the mesmerizing patterns found on animals like butterfly fish, leopards, great white sharks, and poison dart frogs (all critically at risk of going extinct) into off-kilter streetwear. Are these your staple jeans? No. Will they catch everyone's eye, like a rare sighting of a giant squid? Absolutely.

Pharrell has written and produced songs for Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Britney Spears (just to name a few pop stars), so collaborating comes naturally to him. "It's all the same part of my brain," he says adamantly.

And, like a true multi-hyphenate, Pharrell doesn't think he can be distilled down to just one of his new designs. "I don't really have a favorite print," he says with a shrug, flashing a quick glimpse of his single gold tooth. "It's kind of like you do this and then it's out six months later, so I'm already on to the next thing." Which is probably the best way to be if you're trying to save the world.


Image courtesy G-Star

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