Hip-hop's current fascination with metal and rock-and-roll gear is apparent everywhere you look these days. Whether it's Travis Scott and Justin Bieber's merch looking like vintage metal band tour tees, or rappers in Iron Maiden T-shirts and leather motorcycle jackets, the look has gained huge popularity rather quickly. Of course, there's a unique spin on it that comes from mixing sportswear or classic sneakers with these rock-inspired pieces, so the look has evolved into something of it's own as well.
One artist and designer helping rappers develop and explore this style further is Pauly Bonomelli from Western Australia. Bonomelli, who goes by @himumimdead on Instagram, has been creating one-off pieces for rappers like Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, and A$AP Nast, among a few others. His custom pieces include patchworked denim and leather jackets, T-shirts with scraggly marker writings and designs all over, and some stenciling work as well. These designs all take inspiration from everything ranging from Metallica to Madonna, and are put together in a way that results in cohesive one-of-a-kind grunge creations.
Highsnobiety caught up with Bonomelli over e-mail, and although his responses were a bit cryptic, he gave a bit of insight on what it takes to get a custom piece from him, and how these connections came about in the first place.
Bonomelli told Highsnob that he has '"worked for fashion companies for years, …always done art stuff for fun, mixing the two again as a bit of a crossover." The mix of art and fashion is immediately apparent in his designs, as his pieces look a bit like pages out of a notebook or sketchbook transferred onto distressed garments. When asked how he chooses what garments to design on, Bonomelli simply says he "Work[s] for a denim brand so [he] uses their product a lot, but [he] uses whatever is around." Although he keeps what specific brand he works for a secret, he adds that it doesn't matter much in the end, because his designs are "about the product itself, regardless of the brand."
Working via the concept of "One of none," he says that "style should be about the individual again, not the flock," and as previously mentioned, while the DIY punk style seems to be gaining huge traction and popularity lately, these pieces are crafted in ways that reflect the individuality of the people they are created for. Rocky's custom leather jacket has "FLVCKO" stenciled across the back, along with the phrase "Please Do Not Feed the Models," which tells a bit of a personal story behind the wearer.
When asked how he linked up with West and Rocky in the first place, Bonomelli simply says "They got in touch with me and supported by buying some gear." When asked how much these customs will run your average buyer, he gives an even more veiled answer, saying they cost "A trip home..."