Andre Lawrence’s Album Dustrial Denim: The Fusion of Fashion and Sound

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The interplay between fashion and music has long been a powerful force in shaping cultural landscapes. Andre Lawrence, a rising star from New York City, exemplifies this dynamic intersection through his multifaceted career. Having attended the University of Vermont and Roc Nation School at Long Island University, Lawrence’s journey has significantly influenced his artistic evolution. His experiences have culminated in a unique blend of urban grit and creative expression, highlighted in his latest album, “Dustrial Denim.”

“Dustrial Denim” represents a deeper connection to Lawrence’s identity and the industrial essence of New York City’s youth culture. The name pays homage to the sturdy, utilitarian jeans worn by skateboarders and city kids, a perennial constant in Lawrence’s life. This sense of continuity and connection to his roots is reflected in his music and fashion, creating a cohesive artistic vision that resonates with many.

Lawrence’s debut at New York Fashion Week in September 2023 for designer Kelly Butts-Spirito and the ‘Love Kelly’ brand marked a significant milestone in his career, bridging the gap between his musical endeavors and his foray into the fashion world. Through collaborations with designers and appearances on major music media platforms, he has showcased how seamlessly music and fashion can influence each other. His unique style, characterized by a blend of baggy jeans, oversized tees, and curated outfits, underscores his belief that fashion is integral to his musical identity.

The release of his latest video, “Greener Grass,” further exemplifies this fusion. Drawing inspiration from the 90s North Face Gore-Tex wave and coordinating visuals with his music, Lawrence has created a vibrant homage to New York’s rich cultural tapestry. Collaborations with fellow artists like Lord Sko and producers like Arlo Walker have further enriched his style, blending elements of hip-hop and urban streetwear to create a distinct, authentic aesthetic.

In an exclusive interview with Fashion Reverie, Andre Lawrence delves deeper into this unique intersection and shares insights into his creative journey.

Fashion Reverie: Can you tell us about your journey from the University of Vermont to New York City? What inspired this move, and how has it influenced your career?

Andre Lawrence: I’m from New York City, like from Upper West my whole life. I went to the University of Vermont (UVM). I didn’t really think I was going to create music. I enjoyed skiing so that was a big reason for me choosing UVM.

While at UVM, I was creatively stunted. So many opportunities started appearing that I could not take advantage because I was so far away. I was already coming to NYC every other weekend, so, I decided I needed to return to the city. I found the Roc Nation School and moved in with a friend. The rest is history.

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FR: What is the story behind your stage name ‘Dustrial Denim’? How does it reflect your identity and artistic vision?

Andre Lawrence: ‘Dustrial Denim’ was a symbol for the type of industrial jeans and carpenter jeans that every kid in the city would wear skateboarding while doing the things they do.  I feel like it was a good symbol for the adolescents in New York City and it was also this one constant I had.

While attending UVM, everything changed except for the jeans I was wearing. I was trying to find a way to say it in a cool way when it came to alliteration. ‘Dustrial Denim’ is super important as a name, an album, and an idea. I wanted to reflect on being a kid in New York City in a way that was straight to the point.

FR: You did your first runway show for New York Fashion Week in September of 2023 and have found modeling gigs from that opportunity while releasing music projects and being featured on major music media platforms like On The Radar Radio. How do you see the relationship between fashion and music in your work:

Andre Lawrence: I am forever grateful to Kelly Butts-Spirito for getting me involved in his first fashion show back in September. Someone reached out to Julie Anne Quay, the founder of VFILES, who hosted Kelly’s show. Someone saw the pictures online and through that show someone reached out saying I would be a good face for their agency.

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FR: Your latest video, ‘Greener Grass,’ is creating a buzz. Can you share the concept behind it and how fashion played a role in its visual storytelling?

Andre Lawrence:  There’s a whole movement in the 90s of North Face Gore-Tex people that were in love with Polo and there was a whole wave of New York heads that would just collect Gore-Tex jackets and wear them with the hood zipped up to the top. Gore-Tex jackets are expensive now but at the time, it was like a common thread among tons of people who were in love with Polo and North Face. As time went on, Gore-Tex jackets faded with the wave of high fashion and SOHO and Ksubi jeans and Purple Brand and all these skinnier looks.

I found out that two of my OG’s (original gangsters) were reselling a lot of Gore-Tex from the 90’s and bringing back the wave. So as a homage to that, we talked to them about getting people to wear their Gore-Tex jackets in the video. Because it was a video for ‘Greener Grass’ off the album, Kelly wanted to get green felt for a studio set. He wanted to do something very reminiscent of Tyler The Creator with the flowers and coordinate the jackets to the color scheme of the entire video. It came back looking super good and I was excited that it panned out the way it did.

FR: You’ve collaborated with artists like Arlo Walker, a producer based in Brooklyn, and Lord Sko. How do these collaborations impact your style and output in both music and fashion?

Andre Lawrence At one time, Sko was my first friend in the industry, and he introduced me to Arlo while they were working together. I have always worn baggy jeans and gone for a certain skater aesthetic. I was really into Phat Farm and FUBU jeans. Hanging around Sko helped me learn about Pele Pele and Avirex and that not only can your jeans be baggy, but your jacket can be baggy as well. I’m into short-sleeved flannel button-ups and baggy tees that drip over the elbow. That oversized look is true New York style and coincides with hip-hop.

FR: How would you describe your style in both music and fashion? Who or what are your biggest influences in each domain?

Andre Lawrence:  I listen to Dipset, Earl Sweatshirt, Joey Badass, etc. These artists are contributing to the ways that I rap and the way that I want to portray New York and bring back New York ‘Ra,’ because young New York artists haven’t been prominent specifically in hip-hop for a long time. Drill music and trap have grown and developed, but I want to represent New York hip-hop in a certain way, stylistically, whether it comes to rapping or the clothes I am wearing. Steve Lacy, Frank Ocean, Amy Winehouse, and Otis Redding are very soulful artists and influence me on a hook or in terms of the way I might choose a sample or put on a tighter knit sweater.

So, I still admire certain things about hip-hop while incorporating things from other genres and other artists. My vinyl for ‘Dustrial Denim’ combines graffiti, canvas, and music into one singular thing that stands out.

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FR: Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects?

Andre Lawrence: I am creating this EP over the summer called ‘Transcript’ and it’s themed around failing school and balancing that life experience. I am also creating the next album, ‘Summer in October,’ which I have been putting a lot of thought and time into this project.

This album is a lot more musical, a lot more instruments, less samples, more singing, more hooks, more bridges, etc. It is more about being a young adult in New York City and less about being a kid. It’s a little more mature and a little less gritty. Stylistically, I am still expanding with the modeling stuff. I just did a big shoot for eBay and I’m coming off the Highsnobiety photoshoot, as well.

The ‘Summer in October’ theme will feature hoodies, but it will not be denim themes anymore. I want it to be themed around a soft knit hoodie. I am excited about that album; it is going to be a super cool project.

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