How Moses "Zay" Fofana Went From Modeling to Helping Style ASAP Rocky, Nas, Snot, and More

@Whoknowszay is the young stylist who has helped bring music videos like ASAP Rocky and Nas;' "Wave Gods," Snot's "Doja," and Pi'erre Bourne's "Couch," to life.

Nas, Hit Boy, ASAP Rocky, and DJ Premier at the music video shoot for "Wave Gods"
Photo by Humane/@humansuncut
Nas, Hit Boy, ASAP Rocky, and DJ Premier at the music video shoot for "Wave Gods"

When ASAP Rocky’s mysterious creative agency AWGE drops a new music video, one can expect to see some memorable outfits. Just look toward “Wave Gods,” which features Nas and ASAP Rocky, as a prime example. Hit-Boy opens the video propping up a pair of speakers on an apartment window sill while donning a Louis Vuitton football jersey designed by Virgil Abloh. Meanwhile, ASAP Rocky plays dice in a Supreme Gore-Tex jacket that features a still of Nas in the opening scene of Belly. Fittingly, Nas later appears in the music video wearing the exact white Avirex jacket he wore in the iconic Hype Williams movie. Of course, these styling choices don’t happen by coincidence but are calculated moves by stylists who work behind the scenes. 

“Our goal was to try to pay homage to old Nas music videos. Everything, including Belly,” says Moses “Zay” Fofana, who is better known on Instagram as @Whoknowszay, a stylist who worked with the video’s Lead Stylist Daquan Earle and fellow stylist Raluchukwu Chime to help bring looks for ASAP Rocky, Nas, and Hit-Boy in the “Wave Gods” video to life. “So I was like ‘OK, let me try to match his old persona to a new persona. Because overall he was working with ASAP Rocky. Our goal was to put both of those worlds together. The new school and the old school.” 

Zay is the young 26-year-old stylist who is putting together some of the best looks for rappers ranging from Matt Ox to BKtherula. Alongside Earle, Zay helped style the artists in recent AWGE music videos like “Wave Gods” and “Doja.” Zay is also the stylist for the rapper Snot—he dresses him in archival Kapital, Undercover, and Raf Simons pieces for recent music videos like “Doja’’ and major festival performances like Rolling Loud. Zay, who previously worked as a model, has only been styling for the past two years. But he, along with other aforementioned stylists, have recently worked with genre-bending creatives like Hidji and Spike Jordan on music videos, and caught the attention of Instagram tastemakers like Hidden.NY. Now, Zay is even styling Super Bowl champions like Ogbo Okoronkwo of the Los Angeles Rams.

We caught up with Zay to learn more about his work styling music videos, how he built his wardrobe, his experiences working with Hidji and the creatives at AWGE, and the advice he has for any young stylists looking to break into the industry. 

Whoknowszay with Hidji of AWGE

Before some of these recent gigs you were modeling. I’m curious to know how you got into styling for music videos and celebs.

So I was signed as a model at first by Kevin Amato, who ran Mother Dvsn. And it was just the same world. I was just seeing styling from the model’s perspective. But I’ve always been into clothes my whole life. Like styling was exactly what I wanted to do. So I was like, “Let me see how I can try to get into this world by being a model.” So l was just watching stylists and their assistants through my own eyes because they were the ones putting the clothes on me. From there, I understood what I could do. So I just transitioned and people just fell in love with my style by seeing how I dressed on Instagram. So I started getting hit up by random people saying that I should start styling. So I just started doing it and then I got hit with a bunch of offers to style.

How did you get into fashion in the first place?

I mean, I would always have a sense of style just because I was born in New York. The Bronx is not too far from Harlem and you know people in Harlem are just really fly. I was inspired by a lot of people. Pharrell is one of my biggest inspirations. But rappers like Jim Jones, Max B, and 50 Cent all had their own unique sense of style and it was all from the same state.

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Recently, your work for the ASAP Rocky and Nas for “Wave Gods” caught my attention. I loved how AWGE presented Rocky and Nas as different characters throughout the video. How did your clothing choices help bring the video to life?

So I got hit up by my boy Hidji and he was telling me that they were doing this “Wave Gods” video. And I’m looking at the treatment that he sent over that I believe ASAP Rocky made. It was like, his vision and what he wanted to see. So all I’m thinking is how can I try to master his vision? This is Nas and he’s like a GOAT. Like, this is really crazy. So our goal was to try to pay homage to old Nas music videos. Everything, including Belly. So I was like, “OK, let me try to match his old persona to a new persona. Because overall he was working with ASAP Rocky. While Rocky is not exactly new, he’s an OG to people like me because I’m 26 years old, Nas is like a legendary OG. Our goal was to put both of those worlds together. The new school and the old school.

ASAP Rocky wearing Supreme at the "Wave Gods" video shoot

I definitely caught that new-school meeting old-school vibe watching it. I love the subtle details in the video. Like you see Rocky wearing a Gore-Tex Supreme Belly jacket and then Nas is wearing the same white Avirex jacket that June Ambrose put on him nearly 30 years before. How did those ideas come together?

So Rocky had thought out the entire video. He basically did a deep dive into how the video was going to be shot and really visualized how the video went. Like those scenes where he’s stealing the suitcase with cash, bringing it down into the subway station, and then seeing himself like a homeless person. He had that whole vision of how everything was going to happen. Even how Hit-Boy and DJ Premier were going to be presented in the video. In general, having Preemo in the video is just crazy. So that was like his vision and how he wanted it. And Nas had never done a video like this. It was just crazy for him to agree with it and just hearing him say he’s all for it and wanted to see your vision.

Hit Boy wearing Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh in the "Wave Gods" music video

Speaking of June Ambrose, I noticed April Roomet worked on the styling for this video as well. What’s it like collaborating with other stylists? Especially ones who have been doing this work for decades?

So it’s crazy because April has been doing this for so long. When I first started styling, I was just looking at all the other stylists and how they were going about their business. How they were being professional, knowing how to go about like, pulling pieces for videos, anything like that. But April has been working with Nas for a long time. She’s really an OG in this game and I’ve seen all the work she’s done with Sean Paul and all these other big acts. So she came to me and was just giving me game. And I appreciate her so much because I never had a lot of people give me game because this is all sort of new to me. I’ve been styling for almost two years now, but it’s still fresh to me. There’s always new obstacles to come around and she was just really helpful when it came to showing me how to go about things. I assisted Daquan and Ral on the shoot as well and I’ve known them for years. Daquan actually introduced me to Hidji and that’s how I ended up in the credits of the “Couch” music video for Pi’erre Bourne.

ASAP Rocky in the "Wave Gods" Music Video

What I really loved about the styling for “Wave Gods” is it’s set in New York City and the clothes pay homage to NYC culture well. You mentioned earlier that you were born in the Bronx. What neighborhood did you grow up in and how has that impacted your own choice or tastes as a stylist?

So I was born on Grand Concourse by 167th Street near Yankee stadium. So I was living there the whole time up until high school, which is when I moved to Rhode Island. When I moved to Rhode Island, it was new because no one had ever seen New York style in another state. So it was something so different to them because New York was always ahead of the curve. So when I moved over there, it was like: “Man, who is this kid? What is he doing? We’re not messing with it, but it looks cool. But he’s like a weirdo” in a sense. Once people started seeing what I was doing, and just kept seeing my style elevate, it was like, “We can’t hate on this kid. We just got to support him because he’s putting on for two states at the same time.” Although I’ll always consider myself to be a New York native, Rhode Island showed me a lot of love while I was coming up.

It’s cool to look back on some of your early fits and see how you started off wearing Supreme to eventually getting into more archive fashion.

Supreme was like the beginning, man. I had the Shibuya box logos and everything. I was really that kid who used to sit in the Supreme lines, you know what I’m saying? I was just a fan of the brand. But you can see my growth and how my style transitioned. I feel like I never put myself in a lane or a box.

How did you develop an interest in archive fashion?

So when it comes to archive fashion, I always used to look at old Undercover. But I also just watched videos of Pharrell and Nigo and tried to dress like they did back when Nigo was running BAPE. But I also noticed the people who hung around them and I noticed they had the craziest garments. Like “Yo where is this from?” because Japanese style, and fashion overseas, is just out of this world in general. One time I was in LA and I was 424 on Fairfax back in the day. There was this pop-up going on with some sellers from Tokyo. All of them were wearing archive pieces but they all looked different and none of them looked the same. They were all decked out in Undercover, (N)umber Nine, and Junya Watanabe. It was crazy and it felt like a whole other side of fashion that I had never seen. I was really inspired by them because they were so cool and they put me on to game. They told me where to buy it and what to look out for. I’ve been in love with archive fashion ever since.

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Another recent music video that you styled which I really enjoyed was Snot’s “Doja.” I feel like artists like Snot or Rocky already have their own distinct tastes in style. As a stylist how do you work and accommodate an artist’s own personal taste?

Again, shout out to my brother Hidji because I feel like he really got to show the world my potential in this industry. And that’s what I love about AWGE. They support everyone and they support each other. I’ll always appreciate him and Spike Jordan because those two are really like big brothers to me. So with the “Doja” video, Hidji came to me with the treatment, and Hidji works hard on those treatments man. I was already familiar with Snot because we had talked before on Instagram about regular things.

So I was looking through all of Snot’s previous videos and I realized that he was never super introduced to like fashion. But Hidji’s main goal was to make it the most fire, super fashionable, mood board-like, video ever. So I was like “Aight, just tell me what I got to do.” He literally wanted a different fit for every scene. There’s probably like, 15 fits that Snot wore, but you couldn’t see everything that was in that video because only seven fits made the cut.

So I met Snot for the first time in SoHo. He’s like “Bro, I’m going to show you all the pieces I got for the video.” But I was already sending him stuff in this group chat. He was like: “This is crazy, I’ve never seen stuff like this.” It’s like he was literally introduced to a new world. I showed him all the pieces, we’re trying them on and fitting everything. I remember I sent him a picture of the new Yeezy boots that came out and he said he wasn’t feeling them. But I was telling him, “Bro, this is a shoe that you’re not going to feel but when you put them on, you’ll feel them 100 percent.” So we styled him with those and a full Balenciaga fit from the runway.

And it was cool because I wanted the fit to still match his persona. That’s how I go about styling. I want the client to still represent himself. So it’s still like a super high, but incognito, yet fashionable, Snot. So I felt like I met the goal for that. Whereas Rocky, he was basically just going shopping, sending me shit that he had, and just telling me exactly how he wanted to do it. Although we already had brought clothes for him, he came with like four full racks of his own personal clothes. Additionally, I brought like four or five racks of my clothes. It was honestly overwhelming because this was one of the biggest videos I was sent out to work on to date. So we just went about it and put it together. I feel like we made history.

You mentioned how Snot wasn’t feeling those Yeezy boots originally. Do some clients ever turn down your selects or just prefer to wear whatever they already have on?

Sometimes I’ll just go through a person’s closet and just tell them to send me what they got and what they’re feeling so I know how I can match their own lifestyle to the video’s. I never want to dress someone. I always want someone to feel comfortable in the clothing while matching their own lifestyle as an artist or an athlete. He was really good to work with and there were definitely a couple new things that he didn’t want to try. But once he tried it on and saw it in the mirror, everyone was like: “Wow, this is crazy.” I felt like I got him out of his comfort zone and introduced him to this new world. And ever since that video dropped, I’ve been working with him and been doing a lot of day-to-day styling with him as well.

Now he’s like: “Bro, I can never go back after that video came out. I have to be super into his world.” After the video, Rocky came up to me and said: “You did your thing with Snot when it came to styling him. But just let him know, once you get into this world, there’s no coming out of it.” It’s not one of those things you can dive in and just leave. You’re in it forever.

How much of your own personal garments do you usually bring out to a shoot?

It all depends on the size of the client. So I really just go off of that. I’m 6’ 1’’, so I wear a lot of larges. But I do purchase a lot of clothing in any size. I source archive pieces from showrooms or kids I follow on Instagram. A lot of kids on Instagram just have pieces you’ve never seen before. I do my homework, I do my research, and I’m on the internet 24/7 to find the craziest piece that matches the lifestyle of a video. So that’s really my goal. But sometimes, I do use a lot of pieces that are usually my own. But I still go to showrooms because it’s good to build those connections with lots of people and build ongoing relationships. I also work directly with brands such as Telfar and Prada. They’ll reach out to me knowing who I’m working with and they’ll try to match the video’s lifestyle as well.

How big is your personal closet?

I have a storage room in New York. I have a storage room in Rhode Island full of clothes. And then I have my crib with like, two rooms. I have a separate room just for just clothes. When you walk in, it looks like a showroom. It’s kind of crazy. I feel like I’m just like a hoarder with clothes, you know what I’m saying? Once something catches my attention, and I really want it, I would never let it go out of my reach.

What’s the biggest challenge when it comes to these styling gigs?

I think the biggest challenge is just seeing eye to eye with the client. If you get called for a job, and the person is not feeling it at all, you gotta just keep your composure. You can’t just feel some type of way. Because sometimes, artists at the end of the day just have things going on in their life or during the day of the shoot. So personally, I don’t like working with artists and then never speaking to them again, you know? I like to keep the relationship going. That’s just because we are all people at the end of the day with our own personal lives. It’s always good to check up on them just to see how they’re doing. 

But I feel like the other big challenge is just knowing how to go about your business. So like for all the up and coming stylists in this game, if you really want to get far, you have to get your business ready. You got to know how to go about things when it comes to budgets for videos, where to source from, being on time, and making sure you have everything. Even if something is not necessarily needed for the video such as socks, T-shirts, hangers, and steamer racks. Even if that means paying someone to be an intern or style assistant, you just have to make sure you have everything to ensure that the client is comfortable and will 100 percent put his trust into you. It was hard at times. But once I got more into it and realized how a lot of people could help me out, it was good for me.


What I also love about your work is that you also highlight some underground or lesser known brands. I peeped that Loso fitted in the Pi’erre Bourne “Couch” video and that TAR Submerge jacket Snot rocked in “Doja.” I’m curious to know what are some up and coming brands or designers that you’re into today?

Unkn Studios. That’s by one of my friends and his name is Nelson or @unknyoung on Instagram. His brand is super fire man. I feel like he’s really talented and a lot of people don’t shine light on his brand even though he works with a lot of big artists and all that. He’s really a big factor. Another I would shout out is Mercy Mankind. We actually used his masks in the video for “Doja.” All the masks provided in the video were made by him. Also shout to my boy CGI, Anthony from the brand Computer Generation Imagery. He’s 100 percent fire. His brand is just really high tech and I feel like he’s got a lot coming up for him. There’s a lot of brands out there. I feel like I’m not giving everyone a proper light right now. Shout out Bandulu that’s run by my homie Pat out in Boston. I feel like he’s also getting really big and getting his name out there too. Shout out Entire Studios as well. I really appreciate them because I worked with them on a lot of videos for Snot. Their whole team is amazing, 100 percent.

You’ve worked on a good number of videos with Hidji of AWGE. What he does as a creative blows my mind. He has this really dope vision when it comes to set design and narrative in general. Like that Virgil tribute at the end of “Doja”

Yeah, that was crazy man. Shout out to Omi, who is this really talented artist that works with Hidji a lot. He actually made the Virgil mural and is this really talented person. He does a lot of visual work for and is on Hidji’s team. Protect Omi at all costs because that man is talented.

What’s it like working with AWGE and what have you learned from those experiences?

Working with the AWGE team is just being on point, you know? They move as a unit. So no one gets overshadowed by someone else. I feel like their support system is 100 percent and they actually really care. I know there’s a lot of groups that are all business oriented. But AWGE is really like a family. And it’s not fully on camera. You might think we’re not talking to each other because you don’t see us on Instagram together. But we always talk to each other all the time. And even before I started working with them, they were always 10 steps ahead of the curve when it comes to visuals, knowing how to go about things, and how to drop them. They’re the future.

Aside from those aforementioned music videos you’ve also worked with clients like Bktherula, Obo Okoronkwo of Los Angeles Rams, and fashion labels like Coach. Outside of AWGE, what has been your favorite styling gig so far and why?

I feel like right now, my favorite gig that I’ve styled outside of everything else I mentioned, was styling Obeezy—the linebacker for the LA Rams. We just met through a mutual person and he just asked me to come out to LA to work. So I went out to LA, which was perfect because I was also styling Snot for his appearance at Rolling Loud. So I had him go over there and I told him to pull up to Snot’s set. He actually knew Snot’s manager through mutual acquaintances. So this small world just made it all come together. We literally killed the entire season and he ended up winning the Super Bowl. That’s something I’m going to remember forever. Being at the Super Bowl, styling him for all these games, and the fact that he told me that he was going to win the Super Bowl this year and made it happen. I was over the moon. I’m never going to forget that this was my first NFL client.

You mentioned Snot’s appearance at Rolling Loud. How did you find that archival Raf Simons Poltergeist cape?

After we did the “Doja” video Snot hit me up saying he really wanted to make a moment at Rolling Loud. So I wanted him to have the best fit at Rolling Loud, something that would go trending, while matching his persona. So Snot’s persona is having that hoodie on with the drawstrings tied. So I wanted to maintain that in some sense. We flew out to LA and I’m connected to some showrooms over there. So I hit one of my homies named Jonah who runs a showroom called Safe Haven who also happens to be Yung Bans older brother. So we’re chilling, talking, and I was showing him this Raf Simons piece to see if he knew someone who had it. He brought me to Sam at Groupie NYC, who has like a private showroom that you usually have to book months in advance. But Jonah just got me to walk right into the building. 

That man has a lot of crazy pieces and he works with a team. I saw that he had the Raf and I told him I needed that piece right now for Rolling Loud and he was like “What? You’re performing?” I told him it was going to be a culture shock and he was down to do it. 

So I came to Snot with that cape, a Kapital jacket that I also put on him in the “Doja” video, and copped some archival Undercover pants from 2002, and some Moncler boots. We put it all together and he was like: “Bro, this is crazy. I’m going to come out like this and mid-performance, I’m just going to take the cape off and everybody’s going to see the whole fit.” 

We took a picture prior to the show. No later than like 10 minutes passed and the shit just blew up. It turned into a meme and it was kind of cool because I never seen a reaction that crazy. Everyone was like, “Damn, he looks like a Sith Lord.” It was like a cool meme and Snot was messing with it too. When Snot’s birthday came up shortly after, I got him a cake with a meme featuring that Raf Simons cape on it.

A lot of young fashion enthusiasts who have built substantial closets probably dream of being a stylist one day. What advice would you give to those looking to enter that side of the industry?

I feel like being a stylist, coming up, you have to utilize the internet. I feel like that’s how a lot of people get found by showing their individualism as a person. It doesn’t have to just be about wearing different clothes. But it’s all about matching your persona or lifestyle. Because there’s a lot of people who live on Instagram. Everyone models, everyone styles, and they all have that in their bio. But being true to yourself is how you end up being the real deal. When I was starting, I wanted to be a stylist so bad but I didn’t know how to go about it. But living in New York, you just meet so many people and build connections. You want to run into the right people, go to fashion events, and just be open to learning. I didn’t go to school, college or study fashion design. This was all new and I learned it from being in the streets knowing what I wanted to do. I had this whole blueprint I wrote down regarding how I wanted to go about things as a stylist and made everything happen.

There’s going to be bumps in the road and you’re going to be down bad sometimes. But if you stay true to your goal, it’s going to 100 percent happen. You just got to know how to go about things. I know this is cliche, but if you really want something you just have to go and get it. Someone is always watching and they’re going to see how you move. I don’t count anything as a loss, I count it as a lesson. I was going to give up as a stylist at one point because I thought it was going nowhere. But no one is going to make me go harder than myself. So I’m happy to see the position I’m in today. And I’ve felt that since the end of 2021, it’s my time right now. I just gotta keep going. 

Original photography provided by Humane (@humansuncut)

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