FUKK what you heard 

+Fresh.i.Am+'s streetwear-inspired movement proves the South has something fashionable to say

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THE O.G.: Omar “Chilly-O” Mitchell helped put Atlanta streetwear on the map in the mid-aughts with his limited-edition ATLien tees. - DUSTIN CHAMBERS
  • Dustin Chambers
  • THE O.G.: Omar “Chilly-O” Mitchell helped put Atlanta streetwear on the map in the mid-aughts with his limited-edition ATLien tees.

"Like, I trademarked that hat for a while. It became crazy, I guess, like with my culture, or whatever, the whole youth culture," Connor says. After learning of the +Fresh.i.Am+ brand through London's LVRS collab, he saw Vinny Cha$e rocking the FUKK hat and ordered his own.

As images began to circulate of the kid with the "fuck-authority attitude," per Complex magazine, and matching hat, Connor and +Fresh.i.Am+ rose to mutual prominence.

"I had a big role on the Internet at that time, especially Tumblr, and I took it up," he says, waxing nostalgic over his early affinity for the snapback. "It just stood out. It wasn't like the rest. It was derogatory. It was in your face. It was just straightforward. Like, you knew what it said, but it didn't just flat-out say it.

"That's how I came up, anyway, like, standing out — from getting made fun of to, like, the same people who used to make fun of me, like, dressing like me and asking me for style tips."

That sense of individualism and self-expression inherent in the name, +Fresh.i.Am+, lies at the heart of the brand's movement. And its founders wear it well, even if reservedly so.

Two weeks ago at Union in East Atlanta Village, +Fresh.i.Am+ threw its final FUKK party. Typically paired with a preceding pop-up shop, the occasional monthlies allowed the team to party with supporters and bridge their digital identity with their analog selves. Chilly-O and rapper/musician Spree Wilson served as the night's hosts.

Around midnight on the compact loft-space dance floor, Roman was all rhythm and limbs. Ogunnoiki, however, stood quietly behind the DJ booth, next to DJ Ira G, looking more focused than the moment required.

"Is he DJing?" I yelled to Roman over the bass.

"No. He just likes to stand back there," she responded with a laugh before adding, "We're so socially awkward."

It was a funny admission from the proprietors of a brand so seemingly comfortable with their increasing notoriety. Then again, that could be a gross misinterpretation.

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