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Octavian’s alter-ego is behind his new fashion label

The rising London rapper and Louis Vuitton runway star joins forces with former Givenchy designer Courtney MC to launch Rocko & Riot

Back in June, Octavian made his Paris Fashion Week debut. Alongside the likes of Lucien Clarke and footballer Hector Bellerin, the rising London rapper walked the runway at Virgil Abloh’s SS19 Louis Vuitton show, where seemingly a spark was ignited. Soon after, he went from the catwalk and into the design studio, where he got to work on new label Rocko & Riot, which dropped at an East London pop-up last weekend.

Teaming up with former Givenchy designer Courtney MC, the line is made up of boxy silk shirts, oversized, screen-printed hoodies, and tees, as well as an edit of accessories and two pairs of collaborative UGG boots, with many of the hand-embroidered, limited edition pieces bearing MC’s distinctive, trippy illustrations. Having worked together on a number of projects, including the artwork for mixtape Endorphins, the label takes its name from their alter egos: Rocko Smiles, Octavian’s ‘dark shadow’, and Riot, a harder, more extreme version of MC’s IRL self. 

Here, the two discuss the inspiration behind the label, their first fashion memories, and what it feels like to know there’s a life-sized effigy of you standing in a luxury clothing store on Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive (spoiler: quite mad).

How would you sum up Rocko & Riot in one sentence? 

Octavian: It's not really something that you can really sum up, to keep it short, it's a fusion of various different feelings and vibes I can relate to. 

Is there a standout piece you love over all the others?  

Octavian: Personally I think it's all fire, but my favourite has to be the shirts we brought out. The way they are all unique and special is what makes the collection so sick!

Courtney MC: The hand-embroidered Hawaiian shirts.  We made a limited-edition series of 14 pieces, each unique, and each individually sourced from vintage retailers in Japan. They sold out instantly.  I only selected the most beautiful shirts, with no attention paid to price. We want Rocko & Riot to stand for something original, and we don't want to be mass-market sell-outs tied to consumerism.  We did this for the fans, and they don't need to be condescended to. Kids as young as 15 were there buying £300 shirts because they understand the value of them. They knew they were one-offs and something they could treasure forever.  

What's your first ever memory of fashion or clothing? 

Octavian: I can't remember, I just know that I’ve always looked or tried to look good so that means something right? I have to say my most memorable memory in fashion is getting my own statue in the Louis Vuitton store on Rodeo Drive! That was mad! And obviously dropping this first collection for Rocko & Riot.

Courtney MC: Raiding my grandma’s wardrobe and trying on her 70s cruise outfits. She was a very empowered woman, and her attention and commitment to style was a great symbol of that power.

How would you describe your own style? 

Octavian: My style is always evolving but I guess I was more into street brands from an early age. With time I’m learning more and more about fashion houses and more high-end brands and starting to incorporate them in my day-to-day wardrobe. 

Courtney MC: Hardened, sometimes technical, sometimes tailored, often Comme des Garçons... but always dark.

Who in music do you think has great style? 

Octavian: Skepta. Period! 

‘Who in music has great style? Skepta, period’ – Octavian

If you were to play a character in film, purely for the clothes, who would it be? 

Octavian: I would love to re-enact Al Pacino's Scarface scene in the Hawaiian!

Courtney MC: Major in Ghost In The Shell.

If money were no object is there a single piece of fashion history you'd like to get your hands on?

Octavian: A set of Murakami’s Louis Vuitton travel bags.

Courtney MC: There was a collection of white hand-painted Comme dresses that I need in my archive, as well as a Yohji Yamamoto coat with a silk cobra-print lining.

Tell us what you’re going to be wearing from Rocko & Riot? 

Octavian: Rocko & Riot always stays on me. 

Courtney MC: The hoodies, all day every day.

Who would you most like to see wearing it?

Octavian: Anyone with a good sense of taste and style. 

Courtney MC: Travis Scott. He’s got a shirt...