Ariel G. is not a household name. Yet. Everyone in his circle pretty much is, and that says it all. He prefers to play the background, to move smoothly around the globe, leaving his vision and touch on various cities, his footprint in billions of Youtube views, and his pallet and style imitated by more unassuming people around the planet than we can count. Today one of the places he’s touching is Morocco, one of the most beautiful nations on the globe. He’s in the desert with latin superstar Daddy Yankee.
If you’ve ever heard the song “Attitude” by Alien Ant Farm, you’ll know what Morocco feels like. The winding Spanish guitar riff that could charm a snake, the haunting transistor radio effect on lead singer Dryden Mitchell’s vocals, and in memorial energy is indicative of the nation’s mystique and spice. Its spacey and punchy, other-worldly and raw, surreal and in your face. A wise man once told me that all music is, at it’s core, was just audio emotion. Let’s take it a step farther. It’s the soundtrack to whatever you’re doing, where ever you are, at whatever given moment. For Ariel G. – this is one of those moments.
The Mediterranean nation Ariel is in today is famous for it’s French, Italian and Spanish north, and seems to be a darling locale for The Travel Channel. Alas, Ariel is in the desert far south of the metropolitan districts. It’s more Tattoine from Star Wars than Club Med.
Ariel G was in Marrakech, with his client and good friend Daddy Yankee, styling his latest music video. The week before he was in South America. For a few days in between, he was back in midtown Manhattan, the place he calls home, at least on paper.
Ariel hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not the Williamsburg where vegans on unicycles cuff their 501’s and grow Gatsby era mustaches, gossiping about Fader and Vice articles and what passes as “performance art”. The other Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He hails from the Williamsburg that is more bodega than farmer’s market, more Biggie than MGMT and FKA Twigs, and more hustle than trust fund. That makes all the difference.
Ariel’s parents came to NYC from the Dominican Republic, and he was immersed in both hiphop culture, and art. He originally wanted to be a cartoonist, and drew constantly. He watched his mom sewing and saw secondary form of art in it’s own right, from his mother. But drawing and cartooning was his first passion. He even enrolled in The High School Of Art And Design in Manhattan where he could focus on art.
He spent a summer back with family in the D.R. – the summer before starting his art classes in high school, only to find fate had dealt him a new hand upon his return.
“The classes for art and cartooning we no longer available.” He said. Instantly, he was going a different direction, and the path was switched.
“I changed my focus to fashion. I loved it.” He reflects.
He immersed himself in style and fashion, and the emerging hiphop and street wear scene that was blossoming with rap artists creating their own lines, from Rocawear, to Sean Jean, to Shady Wear. He started working at Transit NYC, the definitive store for urban and hiphop apparel where stars like Nas and Cam’Ron would come in to shop, and pick his brain on trends and styles. He started taking classes as FIT at the same time, learning the technical side – from cuts to business and buying. And while hiphop ruled the charts and the culture in New York, a monster was emerging the coincided with the influx of latino immigration and culture – it’s name was Reggaeton.
At this same, he and his partners started the magazine BRIDGEZ – a publication focused on bridging the gap between rap and latin music, culture, and fashion. There were far more commonalities than divisions.
“True story, I met Kanye in Puerto Rico right before it really took off. I started choppin it up with his manager, and we knew to train spot we were one of the first covers Kanye West ever got.
We were interviewing him on Halloween night
Through BRIDGEZ, Ariel met Diddy, Jadakiss, Jay-Z, Fat Joe, countless other A-List NYC hiphop artists. He also met a young Puerto Rican artist who was on the rise. His name was Daddy Yankee, and a friendship was forged. Ariel became a full fledged urban entrepreneur, consulting on style, building his own brands and waves, and networking aggressively.
He became Ecko’s creative director for the “B3” division, working on artist development and uniting music with fashion even further. Big Sean, Meek Mill, and urban latino act Wisin & Yandel.
They’re not clients anymore, they’re the homies. They hang. They talk sports. They know each others’ families and lives intricately, and that, more than a check, is success.
We asked him a few questions on his break from shooting in Morocco.
Q: We know you have a line coming out that we’re keeping quiet for now- is there anything you can say about it?
A: t’s my first line that’s 100% me. Wanderset will have the exclusive. It’s being fine tuned now.
Q: What’s the coolest thing about designing your own look or line?
A: Seeing other people wear it. Seeing another human purchase and appreciate something you created, man.
Q: Now is a really exciting time for latin music, what are you listening to that’s emerging that we should be bumping as well?
A: BAD BUNNY! Latin Trap is so it right now. It’s pretty logical that it would be a thing just seeing how trap and hiphop has progressed, and latin trap is a really cool wave. Bad Bunny has one of those voices that you just feel. People are going sick for Bunny right now. I suggest “Krippy Kush” featuring my homie Farruko. Also check out the artists J Balvin. A. Chal. Noriel.
Q: What’s the hardest part of being a fashion entrepreneur?
A: Finding reliable people, man. Sifting thru the bull shit, finding those you can really build with. This fashion and music stuff is one of those world’s everyone wants to be in. It attracts a lot but not many are built for it. You need vision, talent, and unrelenting work ethic to see it come to fruition. And that’s rare.