Flee Chain is the hot new brand from Rejjie Snow
The Dublin rapper talks to us about his latest creative project: a Japanese and geriatric-inspired clothing collection knitted by his mum.
Alex Anyaegbunam, who you’re more likely to know as Dublin rap export Rejjie Snow, has been keeping himself busy over the past few years. After relocating from the UK to Brooklyn, he went on to record his wonderful and weird debut album, 2018’s Dear Annie, in Los Angeles, London and Paris. A global tour followed hot on its heels. Then, in true zeitgeisty fashion, seemed to ghost us all -- before popping back on our Instagram feeds late last year after running into a little bit of trouble with the police in Japan.
That’s all in the rear view mirror now, as he’s back to ‘flee your mind’ with his new clothing brand, Flee Chain. Designed by Alex and produced in his home country of Ireland by a small team of friends and family, the label predominantly consists of womenswear. A quick scan of the web store reveals a focus on cosy knitwear stitched with messages of positivity, alongside T-shirts adorned with the brand’s logo.
To celebrate their first drop, Alex gave us a rundown of everything we need to know about the label, as well as some other cool projects he’s currently working on.
Flee Chain is an ode to his personal style, and to older people
“The brand for me is a reflection of my style, and its identity lies a lot in graffiti and the general punkness of youth, with a splash of sophistication. I’m blending flavoured streetwear and whacky futurist graphics with mostly knitted garments as an ode to older people. I’ve always been fascinated with the choices older people make with the clothing they wear. I interact far more with them in my day-to-day life, as I volunteer a few times a week with an elderly group. Much of the inspiration I’ve taken with my fashion choices, I owe to this older set of humans.”
The designs were also inspired by his time in Japan
“Sometimes going to places can have this profound effect on you. I’ve always been infatuated with Japan, especially the expression that came out of Harajuku in the 90s with Fruits magazine. Walking through the streets I found myself wanting to transport back to then -- it was magic. Going there definitely pushed me to pursue working on this brand.”
The brand’s name is a mindset rather than an edgy soundbite
“It just comes from the general ethos of being around individualism and feeling free in one’s expression through clothing. Being fly (flee) but without the chains (mentally enslaved) to one look.”
Rejjie really, really stans knitwear
“Knitwear is something I’ve always loved. I grew up with knitted clothing always being given to me, which always had a cute message attached or a smiley face. I drew on that inspiration for the first pieces I made. Going forward I want knitted stuff to be our staple with everything else circling around that.”
It's modelled by women, but is made for everyone
“Flee Chain will reflect how I see my world, with a focus on womenswear predominantly for the next few months. I want to create a relationship based on how men and women wear each other's clothes. Me and my partner often share clothing and I want to echo that sentiment.”
The label is a family affair – for now
“The clothing is designed and sourced by myself. Currently it’s a small team -- all friends and family. My mother helps knit some products, mainly samples which we then go onto produce in Ireland.”
It's Alex’s chance to show he’s more than a rapper
“I think it’s tough as a musician to express yourself in other outlets, especially when people have this one idea of you. My music is just one expression in a blender of many fruits and on this next journey, my art, clothing and photos are all from the same tree. I think you should do whatever you want and believe in whatever you do, simple as that. I spend most of my days painting, I went to school to pursue art. So why shouldn’t I be allowed to paint? I think most of these questions and debates only take place with those who put limitations on their capability.”
But moving into fashion isn’t the end of his music career
“I’ve always just been my best self and felt the most alive [when I’m] creating. Making clothes is just another extension of my brain. As I prepare to start the new decade with music and all sorts, I felt it was important to also plant the seed with this. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and, although it’s a challenge and different kind of animal, I hope to build a community with every drop.”
In fact, there might be something coming sooner than you think
“I’m releasing a new album this year, as well as some music experiences I hope to make happen throughout different parts of the world that I’ve had the privilege of playing in before. It’s been nice being away from the noise as I’ve had a lot to tend to, but I’m excited to be back in the mix and I’m ready to restore the feeling. There’s so much shit music being churned out lately, even the last album I made -- I don't know what that was still to this day! But having been away for a second, I finally know what I wanna say and add to the mix.”
People’s preconceptions won't stop him from creating
“It would be silly to come along thinking anybody cares for another streetwear brand just doing their thing. I wanna put fresh ideas into these spaces, and even though I’m operating on zero experience, I love that. I’m still learning so much in terms of the the magicians behind the scenes who make everything possible and all the steps that lead to the final product. As long as I express my ideas, I think people will make the connection. We’ve already started working on collections with some friends in Tokyo. I’m looking forward to this!”
Flee Chain’s latest drop is available to purchase now via their webstore.
Photography Nicole Chen