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Business of HYPE: Samuel Ross

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On this episode, Samuel Ross of A-COLD-WALL* details, at great length, his meteoric rise in fashion: from his first paid job working at a small streetwear boutique as a teenager and exchanging Instagramfollows with Virgil Abloh, to leaving DONDA and starting his own creative house.

jeffstaple kicks off the episode with a humbling introduction for the young accomplished designer, recalling his early impression of Ross: “I can tell this wasn’t a trust-fund kid with loads of disposable income, or some hyped designer du jour. I could tell something was going on that was deeper and more complex. I just didn’t understand how deep this 26-year-old could go.”

Samuel’s creative complexity becomes apparent rather immediately when Jeff opens the conversation by asking what it is he does. Ross hesitates to title himself a fashion designer, and stammers even more when asked to describe the nature of his brand, A-COLD-WALL*. “I say ‘ACW,’ because they said ‘A-COLD-WAR*?’ and it’s like ‘ah, it’s not war,’ and it derails the conversation. [laughs] It’s called ACW and it’s avant-garde, and that usually works, steers them off. It’s moderately intimidating. Then I can slip my headphones back on. Or if I can tell they have some moderate interest within the field, I will probably talk about my background in product design and installation art and then move into fashion.”

And talk he does. For the remainder of the near-90-minute conversation, on-site in London, Samuel takes a deep dive into the trajectory of his career thus far, stopping at pivotal moments to expound on the hard, dedicated work that got him there. Listen in and learn more about the time he went from exchanging Instagram follows with Virgil, to becoming one of his assistants just a few days later; or about the time he ditched a family party to work on artwork for Frank Ocean, work that was never even used; or how he went from aiding friends with their Nike projects, to getting his very own Swoosh collab. Moreover, check out our Instagram post embedded below, where Ross talks about leaving DONDA and moving onto ACW full-time.