Fashion Friday: The Original David


the original david was conceived in the eighties. it’s the result of hip hop, the challenger, sesame street, reading rainbow, boom boxes, eight tracks in the garage, records in the house, weekly readers, national geographic, the tearing down of the berlin wall, british knights and triple fat goose, goonies, breakin, pepsi vs coke, mc tonight, where in the world is carmen sandiego, a tribe called quest, and new edition, and africa. david is the product of that environment, David represents that mix, the clash of culture, hip hop, creativity, and current events. we lived this. we’re 100% authentic and our clothes are not virtual. We design in 3-D for the restless and underwhelmed. David is the brand of a generation. in every language there’s a david.

The vision and grind behind The Original David is something that should be inspiring to upcoming artists and entrepreneurs alike, so Front-Free sat down with Rakiyt Zakari of The Original David to talk about the one-of-a-kind brand, from its inception to its future.

  • Where did the name “The Original David” come from?

I named the line The Original David because I wanted to use a name that everyone could identify with. Everybody knows someone named David and it’s a name found in different variations all over the world. Our tag line is, “in every language there’s a david”, meaning that in some sense we’re all Davids, regardless of race, religion, and background. David is also my son’s name…heir to the throne!

  • What are a few of the obstacles you faced in your journey and how did you overcome them?

Some obstacles I experienced were/are editing my creativity into a marketable product and communicating my perspective. Also, finding my voice in an industry, and genre (streetwear) that can be very nepotistic has been frustrating at times. I’ve learned that experience is the best remedy for these types of growing pains. I had to learn how to limit my time in the paint (r.i.p. Bob Ross). Limitless inspiration is a kryptonite to creative people; it’s alluring and distracting and can be hard to control, especially when you know the next steps are trying to figure out how to take an idea to market. I’m still struggling with that but I’m getting better and found one of THE BEST guides ever in this book ‘Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality” by Scott Belsky. That book changed my life.

The fashion industry has a penchant for promoting from within. Proximity and diligence will get you far. As a single mom, and generally low-key personality, I don’t have the time nor bravado to push my product as much as I like. For instance, I’m the first woman to ever do an apparel collaboration with Jordan Brand, not many people know that. What’s special about The Original David is that the people who support the brand really fuel it’s reach. I think their endorsement, more than a big marketing push, gives David it’s authenticity. This is such a personal project and reveals a lot about the schizophrenia that characterizes my personality, I think the biggest obstacle was learning to be comfortable being me. Now I’m working on getting a publicist.

  • Music and specifically hip-hop seem to play a big part in inspiring your pieces.  What is currently in rotation on your iPod?

Yes music is a must. Hip hop is a running undercurrent of inspiration in a lot my designs. Right now I’m playing:
• “Cream Of The Planet” x Ski Beatz & Mos Def
• “Coming Down” & “Wicked Games” x The Weeknd
Return Of 4eva x Big KRIT
• A lot of classic Mobb Deep and Black Moon
StarWars‘ Darth Vader theme song
• “One Hand Push Up” x Rhymefest
• “Ultraviolent” x Theophilus London

In 10 years I see The Original David having an established relevance in pop culture. My goal is to open a flagship store, and be the main distribution point for the brand. I want to expand the product line up, to include more apparel, leather goods, and toys. I want to by then have developed a consistently strong look and perspective for The Original David in a way that opens the brand up to more collaborative projects . I’d love to work with companies like Polaroid, TDK performance, and Converse.

There you have it straight from the innovator’s mouth.  Be sure to check out and check out the complete Original David offering.  Front-Free collaborated with Original David to drum up the following playlist for your listening pleasure, inspired both by the creator’s musical inspirations and my take on the Original David’s pieces from the outside looking in.


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1 Comment

  1. I’ve The Original David’s pieces before and appreciated them but this interview gave more insight to the designer and how she does what she does. It definitely garners appreciation and respect for what she’s trying to do in the game. Props to her !!

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