T-shirt by: William Fox | Kimono: vintage | Jeans: Rick Owens
Modelling a mix of streetwear by o.a. William Fox and classic items is Amsterdam's youngest denim designer on-the-rise: William Ampofo. We asked him about what moves him in his daily life, his inspiration, the current industry, and the one thing that is always on his mind: his denim label Cruèl.
T-shirt: Nobody Has To Know | Jacket: Weekday | Jeans: Cruèl
Can you tell us something about yourself and your background?
My name is William Ampofo, I am twenty years old and currently studying at the Jeans School in Amsterdam. This is where I learned the basics to start my own brand, Cruèl. I also gained experience by working at Dutch label Daily Paper, where I started out working in the store and now as a junior fashion designer.
Let's talk about your brand Cruèl. What, where, how?
I started with Cruèl by creating a pair of jeans for myself. Whenever I had some time off, I worked on the development of this first pair by using everything I learned at school. After posting a photo on Instagram, I got a lot of positive response and some friends wanted me to create a pair for them, and that's how it started.
So you started out with a design to wear yourself. Do you now design with a specific group of people or a person in mind?
When I look at what people wear on the streets, all I see is the typical skinny jeans. I want to shake things up, design my own fit. One that is more baggy and suits everyone. I don’t design for men or women in particular, everyone should be able to wear my jeans.
Suit: Zara | Earring: vintage
Your jeans have a distinctive fit, for sure. How would you describe a significant Cruèl design?
The jeans are oversized, but more slim on the upper and with a tapered fit. I use selvedge denim from Japan, and I wash the denim so that it's not that stiff and comfortable to wear. I don't use any excessive branding because I believe that my designs speak for themselves.
Jacket: Zara | Trousers by: William Fox
Suit: Zara | Bag: A Cold Wall | Shoes: vintage
You're twenty years old and have your own label, that is as impressive as it must be exciting. What's the best part of being able to do what you love?
What I really like about it, is that when I put my jeans out there on the web, people come up to me and are like: "I don't know you, but I saw your brand on Instagram and I really like what you do". That's a very good feeling. People see it, they love it and they spread the word.
It seems as if the doors have opened for a younger generation to start their own business. Why do you think this movement is happening right now? And how does this affect your brand?
I believe it is a matter of having a different mindset. For my generation, starting a brand is quite simple. Maybe also because we have more opportunities now. People want to do things right now instead of looking back when they are in their thirties, wondering "what if..". To be honest, I don't see new brands as competition. I am doing my own thing, focussing mainly on denim. When I look at other upcoming brands, they most of the time start with staples such as branded t-shirts or other cotton wear. I have never seen someone my age start a denim label before.
T-shirt by: William Fox
In addition to working on your brand, you are also signed at Mix Models. Is modelling something you want to focus on more in the future?
Yes, for sure. Don’t get me wrong, I will give one hundred percent for my brand to push it to a higher level, but modelling is also something I want to give more attention. Why focus on one thing when you can be one of the best in multiple things? For example, Virgil Abloh is one of the biggest designers of this time but he can also work as a DJ. So why not have a brand and work as a fashion model on the side? That’s a goal, haha.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is oversized with a lot of earth tones. Influenced by high-end fashion and streetwear from places like Russia, Asia, Paris and London. I am into brands such as Gosha Rubchinskiy, Yeezy Season, Alyx, Misbhv and A-COLD-WALL. I am very selective with the clothing and brands that I wear. I don’t like a lot of branding on my clothes, it needs to be subtle.
T-shirt by: William Fox | Kimono: vintage | Jeans: Rick Owens | Shoes: Acne
What music or specific song gives you goosebumps every time?
I am a really big fan of Travis Scott! I think by now I could tell you his whole biography off the cuff, haha. I can wake up with his songs, listen to his music straight up the whole day and even fall asleep with it. I also admire Kanye West' music and his influences in today's fashion. Travis Scott and Kanye West are by far my biggest role models.
Is there anything few people know about you?
I think that a lot of people don’t know that I collect books, magazines and hip hop/rap LP’s. I really like to collect stuff and carefully give it a place in my room. When I drop by a record shop and come across a really dope LP, I can get insanely hyped about it!
Hat: vintage | Jacket: Zara | Trousers by: William Fox
Thank you William for shining in this editorial and sharing your thoughts with us. To see more of our work with William visit our portfolio page and make sure to check out Cruèl via www.cruelinc.com.