On Tuesday evening, Migos' Quavo and Takeoff (the group's third member, Offset, remains locked-up following the group's April 18 arrest at Georgia Southern University) rolled into the Tilly's at Roosevelt Field, Long Island's biggest mall, on their IO Hawks. Tilly's is a chain surf and skate shop that sells fancy flip-flops, red Solo Cup-adorned board shorts, flow-y bikini cover-ups—and for the time being, they are also stocking Migos' Young Rich Nation clothing line. It was launch day, so the boys were scheduled to host an in-store autograph signing to celebrate.
Roped off in a small area in front of the store, shoppers had begun to queue up for the even a few hours before the slated 6PM start time (Migos didn't show up until after 7PM). At the front of the line were two Long Island high schoolers named Enzo and Aaron who said they'd walked out of their last round of finals that morning and headed straight to the mall; behind them was a 13-year-old visiting from Miami who had hitched a ride with his grandmother, who was waiting with him until he got his shirt signed. There were two young women who had already purchased hats and tanks, one of whom admitted she might cry when she saw Quavo. A couple of other teens said they didn't really know who Migos was, but just wanted to take a photo with celebrities.
The line consists of mostly tee shirts and tanks in a palette of red, black, gold, and snakeskin, in addition to reversible bucket hats and two styles of snapbacks. "They go off of what we was wearing and what our swag is," Quavo told The FADER after the event. "We do black and gold, snakeskin. We different, we trendsetters."
YRN Nation is the brainchild of New York merchandiser Radue Watson, who says he came up with the idea for the clothing line after hearing his teenage sons listening to Migos; previously, he'd helped Jay Z launch Rocawear, Young Jeezy launch 8732, Lil Boosie launch Jewel House, and Lil Wayne launch TruckFit. But according to Watson, the Migos were "extremely involved" in the design process. "They would send us reference of ideas, call me with ideas, send us pictures of ideas," he told The FADER. "Once we put together the collection and designs, I email it over and they review it, say yes or no, change this color, do this."
As for their unlikely launch partner, Watson said that Tilly's "didn't blink an eye" before agreeing to host the launch day event. Migos is "not like any other southern rap groups where the majority of [their fanbase is] very regional," he explained, adding that "Migos seems to be not only national, but international."
After all 150 wrist-banded fans had passed through, Quavo and Takeoff wanted to ride their iOS Hawks through the mall. They were stopped immediately by mall security, who had gathered in-force outside the store, though the group otherwise chalked the evening up as a win. "This is our first time having an autographing or signing or anything," Quavo said, still hovering on his board. "It's a blessing. At the same time, it's fun, and we so mad that we ain't get to touch all the fans."
Asked about how it felt to celebrate the brand's launch without Offset, Takeoff demurred. "He's our brother," he said, shrugging. "We held it down with him being in there before, but unfortunately we all got in that situation. It is what it is, but he'll be home soon. We gonna keep running it up for him."
"We're still working," Quavo added. "The album done. He on the album, so he ain't missing out on nothing." YRN: Tha Album drops July 31; get your YRN Nation gear here. (Full disclosure: I bought an Offset shirt before I left.)