Fashion artist Rodnell ‘The Kid’ Harris, of Chicago Playground, launched a brand-new varsity collection, bringing back the energy of the old school. With a burst of nostalgia, ‘The Kid’ decided to bring in his newly launched collection to Los Angeles for this year’s LA Fashion Week.
Presented by ART HEARTS FASHION, Chicago Playground first headlined the runway with its Heritage Collection. Afterwards, Harris was given the chance to showcase a jacket honoring Kobe Bryant, then revealing his eagerly awaited Nostalgia Collection.
The opener of the show began with a video clip of ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who expressed interest in finding the highly sought after HBCU Pride varsity jacket, also designed by Rodnell Harris. It was first worn by Shooting Guard, Donavan Mitchell, of the Utah Jazz, where the jacket quickly garnered widespread attention.
“I tell people, it’s more than the clothes for these shows, people still tell me it was an experience,” said Harris.
The kick-off of his headliner was definitely a unique way to introduce the show. However, the main event was what really amassed widespread attention. The Nostalgia Collection, which acted as the centerpiece of the runway, piqued intrigue as it adulated fan-favorite TV shows from the 90’s.
The greatest influence on this clothing line was Martin, the hit television show starring Martin Lawrence. Rodnell commented, “My family and I actually used to get together on Thursday nights, get some Chinese food, and we’d sit there and watch Martin, quoting it word for word. And I just love how influential it was.”
He went on to reminisce about 90’s fashion, saying, “Back then, when you see all the different styles of clothing, even the jokes and how it could relate to the everyday black market, giving off real-life situations throughout the sitcom, you could say it highlights that aspect of nostalgia for my collection.”
Coming up from the city of Chicago, Rodnell worked as a city worker in the Department of Sanitation Labor. His older colleagues coined the nickname “The Kid” because he was the youngest out of the other employees. Without knowledge of his interest in fashion, Rodnell decided to operate within the business as “The Kid”. In fact, the concurrence between his nomenclature worked so well with the name “Chicago Playground”, he saw how well it would coincide.
Future Prospects in the Industry
A project that Harris gave us an exclusive look into was AT&T’s sponsored Dream in Black, an event meant for rising stars in their respective fields. Leading African American entrepreneurs, such as Lebron James, Lena Waithe, JR Smith, are all working together to push the generation that is sure to arise. Rodnell will be designing custom letterman jackets and cardigan sweaters for them.
One other exhilarating project that Rodnell Harris was excited to announce was his involvement in the upcoming biopic based upon Whitney Houston’s life. Harris was called by the production to be their new wardrobe stylist, assigned to make jackets for the film.
During the interview, Rodnell pointed out the empowerment that ARTS HEARTS Fashion ushers in for the culture. Rodnell added, “They’re for the arts. When we were coming in, they knew exactly what I was bringing to the table.” He mentioned that the organization invests a lot of time and energy into dozens of independent artists.
ARTS HEARTS Fashion is a coast-to-coast leading production platform that introduces and brings in emerging, new designers. AHF produces over 150 Runway shows, art exhibits, and performances each year.
Harris imparted wisdom for the coming generations by advising, “You have to stay consistent. People won’t get around those who don’t stay consistent.” He explained that although he wasn’t from a fashion background, he surrounded himself with people who had the knowledge and continued to learn from them. Harris concluded, by saying, “Real recognize real. Stay connected with the like-minded, stay connected with a group of people that understand your vision because you’re not going to be able to do everything.”