Jay-Z attends a Kentucky Wildcats game wearing a Rocawear Occupy All Streets T-shirt.
Photo: Getty Images
Rocawear is back! After laying off half of its employees at the beginning of 2012—and seemingly sticking to a style game stuck in the early aughts—as well as the news that Jay-Z’s promotional contract had expired, the future of the once-popular urban streetwear label was uncertain. But Jay-Z recently spoke with WWD to set the record straight. Not only is Rocawear still around and doing well despite thinning out its staff, it is set to launch a whole new television campaign starring Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter himself.
Rocawear is owned by the Iconix Brand Group, and CEO Neil Cole told WWD, “Roc Apparel downsized a bit based on business trends, but they have an exciting story going forward,” adding that per a recent visit to the company’s headquarters, they were in a good position “to start growing their business again.” To kick this expansion into gear, the brand will launch its first-ever television campaign starring Jay-Z. (This alone should put all rumors to rest that he has abandoned the brand when, in fact, he’s been working to relaunch it in a new way the entire time.) “This is a really big deal, and fashion companies don’t usually use television,” said Rocawear’s Jameel Spencer. “We are looking to spend more money than we did in the past in marketing this brand.”
The commercial is called “From Marcy to Madison Square” and tells Jay-Z’s true-life career story of going from selling CDs out of a car trunk in the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn to headlining his own shows at Madison Square Garden. It was shot in November in black and white and will include footage from his “Watch the Throne” tour. With broadcast plans set for MTV, BET, and TNT networks, as well as in men’s publications like GQ and Complex and female fashion-oriented magazines such as Teen Vogue and Nylon, it sounds as if Rocawear is ready for a second life. No word yet on whether they’ll continue to stock the infamous Occupy All Streets T-shirt, but we’re certainly more excited than ever to see how the brand will continue to grow.