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Karl Kani Carl Williams Brooklyn New York City 90s fashion 2
Karl Kani AW19Photography Julien Boudet

The streetwear label worn by Aaliyah, 2Pac & Biggie drops its AW19 campaign

Los Angeles-based brand Karl Kani returns to its home of New York City as part of its latest project

Born in Costa Rica and raised in the United States, designer Carl Williams founded Karl Kani in 1989 when he was just 19 years old. Within a few years, he had become the originator of the baggy trouser trend and established himself as a prominent figure within the streetwear and hip-hop fashion scene – dressing everyone from Aaliyah and 2Pac to Diddy and Biggie.  

Thirty years later, Williams’s brand is still going strong, having grown up and out of New York and onto the international scene – with stores across Europe and Japan. Now for the latest campaign, Williams brings the label back to its roots. Shot entirely on the streets of Brooklyn, the campaign images are accompanied by a film which follows two models around the borough. 

“Some of our biggest challenges, in the beginning, was that no one believed in the culture. No one believed that you could come from the streets and actually make clothing that was going to sell,” Williams explains in the accompanying film, as he speaks of how he got the brand to where it is today. “Back in the 90s, everybody was out there hustling and trying to get money. My whole thing was I wanted to be positive and I wanted a name that had meaning to it.” In fact, the brand’s name was “a question. As in, can I be successful?”

The collection itself includes a series of looks reminiscent of a time when Williams first found success, with a 90s primary colour blocking theme appearing throughout. Elsewhere, two-piece windbreakers and denim looks also featured heavily in the collection. 

Watch the film below.