Kenya Ware, the costume buyer for the new Tupac biopic All Eyez on Me, is no stranger to the ’90s Hip-Hop aesthetic. She first became involved in styling Hip-Hop artists when she began to shop for Death Row Records’ artists such as Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Tha Dogg Pound, and The Lady of Rage.
Encouraged by Suge Knight to pursue her passion for styling, Ware later became Death Row’s West Coast marketing representative. In her 20-year career, she has worked as a costume buyer for a series of films including Straight Outta Compton, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, and Entourage (film).
In a recent interview with Complex, Ware reveals what it was like working with the late rapper. Below are some excerpts from the interview:
On defining Tupac’s style:
“A revolutionary gangster. He set the tone for the durag on your head, the body tattoos, and the oversized baggy jeans.”
On shopping for Tupac:
“I tagged along with Suge Knight and ‘Pac during the [boxing] fights in Las Vegas. Shopping at Caesar’s Palace during the fights was the best. It was kind of like a status quo. That’s where you got to showcase how much money you really had because all the ballers were watching.”
“Tupac wasn’t that into fashion but at that point, in the ‘90s, you had to dress to impress. He slowly transitioned away from the gangster clothes to Versace. Suge was about to hire me as ‘Pac’s personal stylist, but then ‘Pac got killed.”
On her goals for the All Eyez on Me wardrobe design:
“This film needed to have Karl Kani and Walker Wear to be authentic because those were two designers that Tupac wore religiously. I wanted to make sure that all of the replicas were right.”
On sourcing the wardrobe for the film:
“Since I grew up in L.A. in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the shopping came naturally. One of the stores I went to is called Greenspan in South Gate. If you really need gangster clothes, this is the one-stop shop for your ‘80s and ‘90s looks.”
On Tupac’s lasting influence:
“Tupac was a pioneer of rap, period. This man created history and set a tone in just 24 years of life. He will forever be copied because his style was genuine. If he were alive today, at age 45, he’d probably teach the youth to be original and create their own style.”
Check out the full interview via Complex.