Aleali May is not new to collaborations. The famous street style star has worked with the Jordan brand on his own sneakers and has modeled for renowned brands such as Off-White and Louis Vuitton. However, this line is very dear to his heart.
BET sat down with May during New York Fashion Week, where she talked about how much the partnership means to her. “I grew up around bikes all my life with my dad (aka Buddha) as a member of motorcycle clubs like ‘Ruff Ryders’ and now ‘Chosen Few’. really learned to build a foundation with a strong team, celebrate together and enjoy the ride.
Davon Bean and May met a few years ago during fashion week. Although it took a while for their capsule to be produced, Bean says BET that he was a fan of May, so the process is effortless. “I briefly met Aleali in 2019 at a 3.1 Phillip Lim fashion show. We talked briefly, we didn’t talk about any [collaborations]so I was just telling him how much I’m a fan of his movement.
“When I officially became Creative Director of Vanson Leathers, one of my goals was to shine a light on female cyclists and fashionable women. The first person I thought of was Aleali May. She is an inspiration to many of her generation; a charismatic female power, full of creativity and innovation,” says Bean.
The collection consists of two leather jackets, two vests, t-shirts, small leather goods like wallets and an updated version of the skeleton gloves. If you love cycling culture, you know Vanson’s iconic skeleton gloves.
According to Bean and May, the design ideation was quite easy. ‘My initial approach was, ‘how can I fly in this?’ My dad is a biker, literally on his way to a rally right now. So my whole vision was about bikers. I took gunmetal silver because it’s a party color, sky blue like the sky, red and black because those are the colors of my father’s motorcycle club, called ‘Chosen Few’, which is one of the first integrated clubs on the West Coast, and puts the palette quite right,” says May.
Bean is the owner of Fly Geenius, and as newly appointed creative director at Vanson, he wanted to stay true to the brand’s aesthetic by teaming up with the collection’s multihyphenate. ‘We dug through the archives of this capsule and pulled out some old logos from the 70s and 80s. I wanted to stay true to the brand and keep the perforated leather, but give it an overall update.
Bean and May have a vision to continue to amplify creative people of color, and this collaboration is a step in that direction. “Collaborations are very important, especially with black creatives, because we’re behind a lot of stuff, and sometimes we don’t get the credit. Our culture is really what drives a lot of things. It is very important to enlighten us,” says Bean.
May agrees, “This collaboration is about coming together in a space where we don’t see each other. But have existed even before we were all born. There is a rich history of black bikers. So we want to keep showcasing all of that. And now that we have the opportunity to step into these spaces, we need to pass the baton and encourage the next generation of young people to be themselves and make a difference.
The Fly Geenius x Aleali May capsule collection with Vanson Leathers is presented exclusively by Stadium Goods. Prices range from US$389 to $1,514 in sizes XS to XXXL.
This article has been condensed and edited for clarity.