Rocawear Downsizes: Is It Jay-Z’s Promo Problem Or Is It The Clothes?

Looks from Rocawear’s spring 2012 collection.
Photo: Rocawear on Facebook

Jay-Z has been in the news a lot lately. He’s the brand-new proud father of Blue Ivy Carter, and for some reason, this happy news seems to have catalyzed somewhat critical chatter where the wee babe is concerned. Despite melting hearts with the new song, “Glory,” which featured Blue’s baby coos, there was the erroneous report that he was going to stop using the word bitch because he now has a daughter. His reps denied this, which made the media investigate deeper into the amount of times he used the word in his songs, and now there’s speculation that Blue was the reason half of Rocawear’s staff was laid off the day before her birth. That’s a lot of pressure for a BABY, folks! As we’re talking style here, perhaps the problems with Rocawear have more to do with the fact that its design elements seem to be stuck in the early aughts. Let’s discuss, shall we?

First of all, we sympathize with those who lost their jobs at Rocawear. As reported, 28 of 56 employees were laid off on Jan. 6, the day before BeyoncĂ© gave birth to Blue. While it’s easy to make some sort of connection (and also ruminate on the alleged reports that Jay & Bey donated a sizable chunk of change to the hospital in which Blue was born), perhaps there’s something else at work here. The clothing company was sold to the Iconix Group back in 2007, and Jay-Z’s contract to promote the line recently expired. Also, we don’t know about you, but looking at the Rocawear spring 2012 collection conjures images of house parties, tracksuit and Uggs-wearing celebs at airports, and basically anything taking place circa 2003. The line is in dire need of a style reconfiguration, and perhaps Jay knew when to, respectfully, bow out (though the timing seems woefully ill-planned). We also know that Jay recently partnered with Pharrell and Billionaire Boys Club, and perhaps that’s a direction he’d rather go in at the moment. No one can accuse the man of being anything but savvy when it comes to business, so perhaps he felt his time with Rocawear had come to an end.

But really, WHAT is going on with Rocawear? Haven’t tracksuits been relegated back to their original gym or never-seen-outside-of-the-home function? Or at least styled up in a new way with some layering, bootie heels, and an oversize blazer? We’ll throw our hands up for that black and white varsity jacket above, which is on-trend in a fall 2011 way (and, thus, still in season), but the 2005 sun has set on that white punk grommet belt. Ditto on the one-shoulder dress; this look was more reminiscent of the latter aughts. And since we’re dissecting these looks, the white shirt, below right, does not need its collar popped. Structurally, it’s too big for this kind of thing and seems very 2001 sorority party. While we can see the graffiti shorts being worn today, they need a style intervention in the form of a neon hoodie and high-tops. There’s just something a little uninspired about the current crop of Rocawear looks (we won’t even go into the controversy surrounding the Occupy All Streets tee). What do you think? Would you buy anything in the upcoming collection? Or anything in the mega Rocawear sale happening right now (like the Script Cheekies)? Or do you think Rocawear needs a total style overhaul?

Looks from Rocawear’s spring 2012 collection.
Photo: Rocawear on Facebook

{via Animal and The Guardian}

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