We first came across the work of Rags WorldWide while traveling in Chiyoda, Tokyo. Summoned by a friend with the promise of viewing 'a pop-up exhibition of durags overseas,' we eagerly made our way to the event, unsure of what to expect, but without a doubt, the team did not disappoint.
On entry, we saw durags draped over the bodies of Japanese locals and foreign attendees in ways we'd never seen the headpieces utilized before. Draped over heads, tied around necks and used more widely as accent pieces to make already pristine outfits pop, we knew instantly there was something special simmering here for the culture.
Rags WorldWide is the brainchild of Los Angeles-native Durag Dev, who in 2015, got the idea to create a line of designer rags for the masses somewhat on a whim. He tells Konbini:
"It was joke. I said, 'if Gucci made durags, they'd make billions. My friend said how about we make them, and my third friend/business partner said let's do it."
Since then, his designs have graced the scalps of everyone from Tinashe, to Vic Mensa,Post Malone, Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd, and most notably Travis Scott– who rocked the line's highly sought after Bape camo rag on the cover of Paper Magazine's October 2016 edition.
"Travis's stylist Kyle Luu commented on a photo on Instagram asking for a press email. Didn't even know who Kyle was at the time so I took like 2 weeks to reply [laughs].
Eventually I did and it was just a product Travis couldn't not fuck with. He was wearing the Gucci print one for like 8 months before covering Paper Magazine in the Bape print."
"Durags were completely open for the taking."
While the fashion industry is arguably one of the most saturated creative fields in this day-and-age, Rags WorldWide found a work around by re-marketing and re-imagining a piece of urban fashion that hadn't been updated in decades.
Bypassing the hype of hats, hoodies or tees, Dev and his team realized, "[Durags were] completely open for the taking– as opposed to the rest of the oversaturated fashion market; so it was like, fuck fashion."
For those who may not be as in-the-know, durags are simply a headpiece used within urban culture to keep hairstyles like waves and braids fresh. As Dev points out, "They became more of an accessory when icons like Allen Iverson wore them and changed the way people dressed during basketball games."
In addition to the historical function durags have played and continue to play in urban cultures, Dev and his team have created a space for rags to be worn for pure aesthetic. Borrowing queues from black culture, Rags Worldwide have been worn and reworked by men and women into everything from statement pieces, to tops and so much more.
While people may have their opinions about seeing white men or asian women donning the designs, the 'no fucks given' attitude towards allowing the garments to exist outside of urban culture is actually pretty fly and refreshing for many, including Dev.
Rags WorldWide made durags 'open to the public.' Fuck cultural appropriation or whatever people call it.
This year so far, Rags Worldwide has enjoyed pop-ups in Los Angeles and Tokyo with a forthcoming event to take place in New York. While you wait, admire the company's creative prowess and the fashion-forward thinking of those willing and able to sport durags unapologetically and with pristine style.