The iconic American Fashion house tapped Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper for special digital performance on September 14th at 9:00pm ET to mark the Ralph Lauren x Bitmoji collection launch. Filmed at the Ralph Lauren flagship store in Chicago, the pre-recorded live performance will be available globally streamed on Chance’s and the brand’s social channels.
The joint effort will offer virtual branded apparel inspired by Ralph Lauren pieces, wearable by your Bitmoji avatar. Chance is the perfect artist to help bring the Ralph Lauren brand to a younger, more tech-oriented audience.
With the partnership, the companies will present the branded and customizable wardrobe for Bitmoji, the first of its kind to be housed within Snapchat and the Bitmoji app. Bitmoji’s new Mix and Match feature boast 12 looks from the Ralph Lauren x Bitmoji collection so that Snapchatters can dress their avatars. Pieces include double-breasted blazers, a branded racer jacket, a classic striped rugby shirt, and a track jacket.
BET spoke to Chance exclusively about his longtime love of Ralph Lauren and his upcoming digital performance for the Bitmoji launch.
Like many of us city dwellers who have been in quarantine the past six months, Chance and his family decided to escape their downtown Chicago apartment and settle into the suburbs to enjoy a serene life with a backyard.
Moving out of the city, Chance decided to clean out his closet and donate some of his old Ralph Lauren items to charity but made sure to keep his Polo windbreaker sets and a few crewneck sweatshirts. He says, “We made some donations because there was a lot of stuff that I just haven’t worn in a long time. But I did keep my Polo swishy pants and jackets.”
The Grammy-Award winning artist loves wearing denim, he’s always worn relaxed outfits, so while in quarantine, Chance ditched jeans and his signature overalls for windbreakers and hoodies. And as for his Bitmoji, it’s also dressed in a Polo Windbreaker pullover outfit that he owns. “My Bitmoji wore a Polo Sport swishy pullover that I performed in a while back,” he says of his virtual clone.
Although Chance enjoys the casual Polo Sport, 90’s inspired styles, his favorite Ralph Lauren item of all time is their 10-pound Merino Wool sweater, which he unfortunately lost, and the blue sweater worn on the cover of his “Coloring Book” album. He says, “The sweaters are so soft, not itchy at all. It’s a super player sweater and the blue Mandarin collar joint that I wore on the cover of ‘Coloring Book’ that I just always loved, those are still my favorite pieces.”
The adrenaline an artist experiences from a live performance is unmatched. However, Chance enjoys doing virtual concerts a little more. He appreciates the feeling of a calm environment and doesn’t feel an immense amount of pressure on himself and his band. They get to vibe out and enjoy the moment.
He says, “I was kind of not really big on virtual concerts when it first became an idea. But I’ve come to find out it might be my favorite version of a performance. It’s so much more intimate.” He continues, “It feels like a rehearsal, and one of my favorite things outside of performing is rehearsing because I get to just jam out with my friends. I’ve been playing with the same band for eight years, and they’re some of my best friends, they’re all my producers.”
Chance will perform a couple of tracks that he has never done before. He enjoys performing a few of his slower songs, which this virtual show is the perfect opportunity to do so. He explains that his favorite song to do live right now is “We Go High.” He says, “My favorite song to perform is a song on ‘The Big Day’ album called ‘We Go High’ just cause I’m rapping my a** off. The third verse of that song is probably the best verse I ever wrote. I’m doing that at the Ralph show.”
Rapper, philanthropist, and most of all, a member of the illustrious ‘girl dad’ club. Chance and his wife Kirsten have two adorable girls, Kensli, 4-and-half, and 1-year-old Marlie. Little girls love fashion, and Chance’s eldest daughter is no different. For their recent Parent magazine cover shoot, he reveals that Kensli was very hands-on with choosing her looks. He doesn’t necessarily see her raiding his closet anytime soon, but possibly her moms, who also has impeccable style. “She’s [Kensli] very into fashion, but she never really compliments me on what I’m wearing,” Chance says of his little girl.
The top charting rapper and iconic American brand had collaborated many times over the years, including in 2016, when Chance wore an RRL sweater for the cover of his critically-acclaimed mixtape, Coloring Book, and in September 2018, when he attended Ralph Lauren’s 50th Anniversary Fashion Show. He even wore a custom Ralph Lauren tuxedo for his wedding in March 2019.
Chance explains that he and his friends have been wearing Polo tees since Highschool and as his career blossomed, he elevated his style to Ralph Lauren Black Label and Purple label. “We started wearing Polos back when ‘Ben Had’ started making videos about wearing Polo. He had at least 100 polo articles of clothing between shirts, collared-shirts, belts, hats, sweaters, jackets. Every day was like a four-minute video. It was hilarious, but that’s what got us into Polo at the time.”
As a fan, he even started wearing accessories, such as belts and hats. “When you really started to get into it, you stop doing the little accessories and start getting real articles from Ralph Lauren, RRL, Ralph Lauren black label, Ralph Lauren purple label. And, then, you start to pronounce it, Ralph Laurèn, that’s when you have your pinky up moment.”
Explaining that he didn’t know anything about designer brands until wearing Ralph Lauren. Chance says, “I didn’t know anything about high fashion or designers until I found out about Ralph Lauren.” Chance opens up about when he met the coveted designer at his 50th-anniversary fashion show. It was the same day his dear friend Mac Miller passed away. Chance explains that Mr. Lauren and Tracee Ellis Ross spoke to him about his significant contributions to the music industry, and it made him feel an immense sense of gratitude.
“I remember him [Ralph Lauren] and Tracee Ellis Ross were talking to me and just saying nice things. It boosted my confidence, but also making me realize life is short, and you can’t live in regret.” He continues to explain that it was a tough time because he has regrets about not putting out music they had recorded, and then Mac, unfortunately, passed shortly after.
“At the time, I had many regrets about recording music with Mac and not getting stuff out. And, he was doing a video shoot in LA. I didn’t make it out there. And then he died like a week later. It was really tough for me,” Chance explains.
Like many others, Chance admires Ralph Lauren’s legacy and the relationships he’s cultivated over the years. He says, “Meeting him [Mr. Lauren] and hearing his story and being around all these cool people that he had forged relationships with over the years was a cool, humbling experience. You know, fashion is not my forte, but Kanye loves fashion; He was there too at the event. Being in this world that I don’t know much about, I can recognize and appreciate the craftsmanship, beauty, and intent. It was a cool thing.”
Chance’s ‘3’ cap is a part of his signature style, and since wearing masks has become the new normal due to Covid-19, we wanted to know if he matches them.
He doesn’t necessarily match his masks to his hat; however, he did coincidentally wear a grey mask that matched his crewneck and cap during our interview.
Check out Chance’s virtual concert on Monday Sept. 14, at 9pm on his and Ralph Lauren’s social channels.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.