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NAME: APRIL WALKER
OCCUPATION: ENTREPRENEUR/ PROPRIETOR OF WALKER WEAR/A.WALKER GROUP
WHY: She’s a pioneer in the urban fashion world and set the stage for many of the designers and brands to come after Walker Wear.
My name is April Walker. I'm a die-hard Brooklynite that stumbled onto fashion in the late '80's while I was in college at New Paltz University. My love affair with fashion started in high school but I actually went to college for communications and business. One day I visited Dapper Dan's, the infamous 24/7 custom tailor shop in Harlem and fell in love with the "experience," environment and hustle mode of this fashion enterprise. I decided I wanted to make my own "experience" in Brooklyn and started a tailor shop called Fashion In Effect. This was the beginning of my fashion roots, inspired by Dap.
HOW DID YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO FOR YOUR CAREER?
I knew early on that I didn't want to work for a big corporation or establishment, especially after a job with American Express (while I was in college). I knew I would thrive in a creative environment because I grew up under the umbrella of creativity. My father was in the music business, and I watched him dance to his own beat (no pun intended) as he managed and worked with musicians such as Jackie McClean, Jaz, Jay-Z, Kurtis Blow, D-Train, and McCoy Tyners. I know his spirit of entrepreneurship influenced me and I think my affinity for fashion made it easy for me to connect the dots.
MY BIGGEST BREAK WAS…
That's such a hard question but I would say that landing my first album cover, which was the Audio Two album cover I Don't Care. I styled their video and it opened doors for me to really start my styling division and product place my fashion styles. From a retail break, it would be during the men’s NAAMSB tradeshow at the Jacob Javits Center back in the early '90's. We rented a mid-town NYC hotel suite, created our own showroom, invited 10 buyers (from the mainstream chains to Federated to independents) and they all bought!
TELL OUR READERS WHAT YOU'RE MOST KNOWN FOR...
Over the span of my career, I've been blessed to wear many hats.
- I'm probably most known for being one of the pioneers of "Urban fashion."
- Being the first "urban fashion line" ever to place product in a heavyweight title fight (Mike Tyson)
- I've been one of the only females to have a successful, mainstream line in the men’s fashion category.
- I've started a lot of All-Star fashion players, who have their humble beginnings from under my umbrella. (Tony Shellman, Danny Shaw, Bobby Joseph, Kimya Warfield, Jackie Walker-Nicks, etc.)
- Product Placement & Styling Division. Throughout the '90's we outfitted, styled and/or shopped for countless videos, motion pictures, album covers, tours and photo shoots. We worked with record and/or management companies along with artist images. Some of our clients and looks have included working with legendary artists such as Tupac, B.I.G, Queen Latifah, EPMD, RUN-DMC, Naughty by Nature, Red-Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Audio Two, Shaquille O'Neal and Jay-Z.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE MOMENTS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR AWARDS SO FAR IN YOUR CAREER?
Being a part of this culture and being a trailblazer while helping to create the movement of this multi-billion dollar urban/streetwear fashion category has been very humbling. Also, when I saw Mike Tyson in the ring wearing my WW shorts for the first time, it was surreal.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
So many things, the way I feel emotionally, what is going on in our socio-economic climate, old movies and certain time periods in our history. Struggle also inspires me.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT WOULD SURPRISE OUR READERS.
I like to bake, read a lot and am on a gluten free/pescetarian (fish but no meat) diet.
IF I WASN'T ME I WOULD BE…
Either have a business selling margaritas on a beautiful tropical beach island because I think I would be stress free and I would be able to see the sun the majority of the year or I could also be full time in the pet business because I love dogs.