Photography by Daniyel Lowden
Fashion by Loyc Falque
Tyler Gregory Okonma, aka Tyler, the Creator, has a stage name that is more than just showbiz hyperbole. At 28 years old, the artist has already released five solo albums, as well as launched his own clothing line, Golf Wang, and a streaming media service app named Golf Media. Oh, and let’s not forget his headlining of the annual Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, a music festival for which he curates the artists. It’s pretty safe to say that Tyler, the Creator likely doesn’t rest on Sunday.
Fresh off the launch of his most recent album, IGOR—which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200—the singer, songwriter, and producer has come a long way since he began his musical career in 2007. At that time, he was a member of the hip hop collective Odd Future, which he co-founded. Odd Future’s membership and output was, to say the least, prolific—at various times members included the likes of Hodgy Beats, Left Brain, Earl Sweatshirt, and Frank Ocean, among others, and the group released several mixtapes in addition to an Adult Swim skit show called Loiter Squad. Even in those early years, it was apparent that Okonma was polymathic in his approach to his creative output. By 2011, he had moved on to release his debut solo album, Goblin, the lead single from which, “Yonkers,” won him the Best New Artist award at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
Tyler, the Creator’s interest in, well, being creative extends beyond entertainment. Case in point: his collaboration with famed French brand Lacoste for the launch of GOLF le COSTE*. With a selection of looks that range from a letterman jacket to the brand’s iconic polo in shades of subtle pastels and sherbets, the capsule collection of 16 pieces is a retro-chic twist on a brand long known for its prep-school looks. Here, he sits down with L’Officiel Hommes to discuss the collection, his personal style, and his approach to staying creative.
Tyler, the Creator—your artist name says it all. How did you come up with it?
It was my Myspace account, from when I was 16 years old. It was something of a joke then. But it’s stuck around.
You are a man of many talents: singer, producer, graphic designer, videographer, screenwriter, and, of course, fashion designer. Where does your fashion background come from?
I don’t have any! I do what I like, and what looks cool to wear for me and my friends. Knowledge isn’t everything. There are musicians who can write very good songs and who can rap, but their music is not great and their concerts are dull. I know pianists who know how to play everything, but that’s not why they are creative or singular. The most important thing about creativity is not the knowledge, but to know what you want to do. When and why did I decide to do fashion? I like clothes. I don’t know if I like fashion, but I really like clothes. And I like creating.
You launched your brand, Golf Wang, in 2011. How would you describe the experience?
It was amazingly exciting. As I just said, I love to create, to start new projects every year and to watch people’s reactions. I don’t know if this will last forever, but I love adding new elements. That’s what entertains me the most.
Does Golf Wang differ from your musical universe?
The brand represents exactly who I am, what I like. There is no difference between Golf Wang and the music.
How would you like the message of this brand to be perceived?
There are no rules, no codes of conduct to follow. I want everyone to know that just because you are 17 years old doesn’t mean you have to only wear T-shirts. Cardigans are not reserved for old people. It is strange to associate cardigans and any shoes that are not sneakers with old age. I don't see what age has to do with what we wear. I hope my brand encourages people to disavow these kinds of clichés.
Let’s talk about your collaboration with Lacoste. How did it begin? What was your perception of the brand?
What I can tell you is that I was crazy about Lacoste when I was a teenager, totally obsessed with their polos. This was the time when they started varying the colors and offering polos in pink, in pastel. I loved pink and light blue. They drove me crazy! Working with them on this collection was very simple—their team let do what I wanted in my creative direction, and they loved everything I sent them. From the beginning, I wanted the line to be mostly unisex. I wanted there to be many beautiful colors, suitable for all genders.
Do you have other projects with the brand?
At this point, I don’t know. I can only tell you that everyone I’ve worked with is amazing.
What is the name of the crocodile, how old is he, where does he live?
Stany is 68, he hates his family but buys sandwiches every day. He lives in Nebraska.
Are there any other designers or brands that you would love to collaborate?
What would you wear for your very last concert?
Nothing but my favorite hat. And shoes that I made—Converse GOLF le FLEUR*—which are ideal for jumping in all directions.
Speaking of jumping around, your creative process seems very spontaneous, even surrealist. Would you say that’s a fair way to describe it?
When I was 16, yes, it was. But yesterday, the potato flew away around 5 o’clock. The microphone will not be able to scream tomorrow. I do not understand a word of what this little dog says. If you put jelly in the engine, the car will drive faster. Tomorrow, you will catch your plane. Yesterday, I met a taxi driver who did not speak Spanish, so I offered him a house.
If you could invite one person, dead or alive, to dinner, who would it be?
Grooming Virginie Landucci
Photo Assistant James Greenhalgh
Stylist Assistant Alessia Ubbidini