Having studied fashion merchandising at Howard University, Ashley Sky Walker really got his start in the fashion world when he started doing photography. “While living in New York from 2007 to 2015 I had the opportunity to work with some great fashion and entertainment companies and individuals to photograph everything from editorials to ad campaigns,” he tells MR. “Although I started exploring fashion at an early age through drawings and playing with fabrics, photography stood out as the perfect ‘in’ to an industry that didn’t seem to have much diversity at the time.”
His experiences through photography led him to create his label, Leimert Park Threads, in 2017. “When creating the brand, I was most inspired by my community and the unique experience that people of color have had in the world,” he says. “Leimert Park Threads is meant to expound upon the Black experience through fashion. From the ‘Colored Collection’ to ‘Afro Futurism,’ I create clothing that expresses Blackness as a beauty mark, and a point of reference for something as simple as a t-shirt and hoodie. By keeping in mind why I am able to build stories from historic Black narratives and local inspirations.”
Through the years, his brand has seen continued success with its references to Black history and how it connects us all. “There is a unifying nature to our mission as we work to reimagine words like Colored to include all brown and disenfranchised communities,” he adds.
Walker notes that some of his best-selling items include the classic Colored logo t-shirt and Afro Futurism logo t-shirts. Also, a favorite are the Leimert Park Threads custom jackets. These jackets are often embellished with fun ethnic fabrics, vintage patches, beading, and hand-drawn art. Price ranges from $35 t-shirts to $250 repurposed jackets.
For right now, the brand is mostly a direct-to-consumer brand, but some exclusive items are sold at Sole Folks in Leimert Park, CA. Walker is looking into some other shops that align with the brand identity and is also participating in the Project Digital tradeshow, going on now.
As for what’s next, the brand’s spring 2021 collection is inspired by Historically Black Colleges. “We are finally in a position to expand on the collection worn by Beyoncé in her Netflix Homecoming documentary,” says Walker. “I would encourage readers to follow us on social and join our mailing list for official drop dates.”