During an exclusive interview at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, A$AP Rocky shared insights into his strategy as the creative director for PUMA’s collaboration with Formula 1.
“Ladies, pardon my language,” A$AP Rocky addresses a small group of editors at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, revealing his aspirations as the newly appointed creative director for PUMA’s Formula 1 venture. “I just want to let [my] creativity flow for a bit,” he chuckles. In more explicit terms, Rocky’s objective, leading a major sportswear brand and collaborating with the prestigious motor-racing competition, is to showcase his design skills and, in his words, “revolutionize the game for fashion and [motorsports].”
Rocky’s appointment was announced in October, months after PUMA disclosed its partnership with Formula 1 in May. In his role, Rocky is tasked with creating “bespoke capsules” to influence the brand’s future design directions. His debut limited release occurred at the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, offering a glimpse of what to expect in 2024. He plans to develop collections for various Grand Prix races starting in Miami, expanding to full-size racewear, fanwear, and fashion pieces in 2025.
Rocky emphasizes the absence of street culture in mainstream auto spaces, particularly in Formula 1. He aims to bring more of the hip-hop side of car culture into focus. His designs draw inspiration from his upbringing in Harlem, where flashy cars were integral to the neighborhood’s lifestyle.
In the design process, Rocky is clear about wanting to “press the reset button.” His goal is to showcase the alliance between PUMA and Formula 1, intertwining performance sportswear with classic streetwear shapes. His debut collection features modified baggy jeans with knee pads, airbrushed illustrations on long-sleeve shirts, and artfully distressed balaclavas. This fusion gives Rocky’s designs a fresh perspective in the racing-style genre, emphasizing street culture on the Formula 1 stage.
Despite releasing only one capsule, Rocky aims to disrupt the fashion-motorsports partnership by aligning visuals and content more closely with hip-hop’s codes. He calls the collaboration “playful” but avoids anything too kitschy, emphasizing a balance between premium designs and affordability. His creations are priced between $60 USD and $80 USD.
Looking ahead to 2024, Rocky plans collections inspired by launch locations and his experiences. He intends to platform street culture alongside revered racing tracks while keeping designs accessible to all. Although footwear was absent from his first collection, he hints at an upcoming collaboration with PUMA for signature sneakers, teasing the future of the partnership with three foreshadowing letters: “F. U. N.”