Swae Lee is one-half of Rae Sremmurd, one of the most popular rap groups today. Recently, the artist has expanded into fashion by designing footwear. Working alongside renowned designer Giuseppe Zanotti, the rapper has created high-end and high-heeled men’s footwear.
In an interview with Footwear News, the rapper discussed how his new partnership with the designer from Italy came to be and why he wants to blur the gender lines in fashion. The 24-year-old told the publication that he would rap about “Giuseppes” while growing up because if you could afford those shoes then you were officially considered “high-end.”
He always wanted to turn heads with his style and fashion. As reported by the outlet, Swae Lee showed up to this year’s Grammys wearing women’s clothing and a pair of heeled boots from his collaboration with Zanotti.
Although fashion has changed in hip hop through the years, the Tupelo, Mississipi native says that most artists in the rap game are too afraid to break gender norms by wearing something truly unique.
“A lot of [rappers] are f*cking scared to wear sh*t. They want to think the old ways and put a limit on that sh*t,” the ScremmLife rapper adds, “I’m not scared to be different.”
He spoke about the significance footwear has on an ensemble, and why he took the Zanotti collaboration so seriously. Swae Lee believes having the right outfit can directly affect mental wellness.
“I was making something to go on someone’s body, to complete their outfit, the shoe completes a look,” he told Footwear News, “Now I’m helping people with their well-being. This is their image. That’s important.”
These limited-edition shoes range in price from $995 to $1,550 and feature floral designs on canvas boots and suede sneakers. Zanotti admits he was surprised that a rapper wanted shoes designed with flowers on them but says that’s part of the gender fluidity of fashion today.
“There’s no sneaker for men or women. It’s the same,” the fashion designer said.
When choosing what to wear, Swae Lee doesn’t factor in if clothing he likes was meant to be worn by a man or woman. He is forthright about wearing blouses and says people should wear whatever looks best on them.
“If you look good, or just feel like you look good in something, you should wear it,” the rapper said.
The rapper-turned-budding-designer was involved in the design process from the early stages. He provided sketches to Zanotti and went to Paris, France to discuss the shoes in person.