On this segment of Throwback Thursdays I decided to highlight a brand i wore growing up and more importantly one of the most influential clothing company's of the late 80's and early 90's by the name of Karl Kani , ill never forget the heather grey long sleeve with just the signature font written across the front i wore that literally till the threads came off, it wasn't really the brand itself that caught my attention but the quality and fit of the garment is what i loved.
I did a little research on the brand and found out that the owner of the brand is Carl Williams who was born in Brooklyn , New York , son of a Costa Rican mom and Panamanian pops which I never would have taught honestly. The name actually comes from Carl which he changed to Karl for brand purposes and Kani rooted from the words "Can" and "I" basically in a since asking himself the question as his brand name which was pretty intriguing nonetheless in my opinion, Carl never studied design or tailoring (Like myself) but had a growing love for fashion and began making himself custom fits which later led to making Outfits for all his friends.
I found that in 1989 he came out to LA to open a shop with his friend on Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles but with no luck the store closed very promptly which led him to move to Hollywood to give it a second run but once again it was no success. What I found very unique and interesting was that he first got his big break when he had his friends hold up signs at (The Today Show) on national television with simply the name of the brand across it and it actually gave a kick start to orders.
Fast forward a couple of years and every major Rapper and Hip Hop artist has referenced his brand in their lyrics , here is a couple i found
"Youse the fag model for Karl Kani/Esco ads
Went from, Nasty Nas to Esco's trash"
Jay-Z - Takeover
"I had the Karl Kani shit on. If you looked at my clothes you could see I was out of there."
"I would be brief but my Karl Kani's didn't dry"
Redman - A million and One Buddha spots
"Karl Kani down, camoflouge can't hide the sounds"
Redman – Rollin
"One day I was walking by with a walkman on when I caught a guy giving me an awkward eye. And I strangled him off in the parking lot with his Karl Kani"
Dr. Dre feat. Eminem- Forgot About Dre
"I got the Squad over-qualified, pullin over Karl Kani Range Rover tilted, three-wheelted hydraulic slide" How we roll