2011 was a big year for Drake. Rumours began that he was dating Rihanna—a now on-again/off-again relationship central to Drake lore. He dropped
Take Care, the crossover smash that was both critically acclaimed and solidified that whether you him or not, Drake was a superstar. Lastly, he finally figured out how to dress himself.
Take Care contained just as few fashion references as Thank Me Later. Save for some bragging about jewelry on “Lord Knows,” Drake for once let his outfits—rather than his bars—do the talking. The most memorable style moment from Take Care is no doubt the music video for “The Motto,” in which Drake rides around in a convertible wearing the coveted Supreme x The North Face puffer and Nike football gloves. Apart from dabbling in streetwear, during 2011 Drake began dressing like a ‘90s hip-hop star, wearing baggy sweaters, half-open Versace silk button-downs, a bevy of gold jewelry and lightly tinted glasses. That year Vulture even penned an in-depth look at “The Many Sweaters of Drake”, highlighting his love of the garment. Between the chunky knits and the sharp tailoring he donned for and awards shows, Drake seemingly embraced his role as the anti-rapper rapper early. Still, though, there were growing pains, and most of his style choices throughout the year are largely forgettable—”The Motto” perhaps the sole exception. As 2011 bled into 2012, Drake continued to fashion himself as a clean cut, throwback music star, gracing the cover of GQ South Africa GQ for its April 2012 “Style Bible” issue.
Even Drake’s fans agreed that his style was nothing worth bragging about. During peak forum era, the rappers style was ravaged on
, with comments ranging from, "I agree Drake is one of the worst dressed rappers...people on twitter say he dresses like a Cuban drug lord,” and “ most of his outfits are wack though” to simply “for real though Drake has the worst fits.” The consensus was not positive. Kanye To The
The next year was a period of transition. The vintage element was still present, with Drake regularly breaking out vintage Coogi throughout 2013. Throwback sweaters aside, more contemporary New York street fashion became a part of his wardrobe, with custom
Hood by Air tops, lots of red leather jackets and a healthy rotation of Jordans and Timberlands. While remnants of luxury name dropping remained with his next release, Nothing Was the Same, with references to Tom Ford and high-end shopping malls, now that the rapper could actually afford to buy the things he boasted about, he moved on from the faux pas of the “Redwing Boot Gang.” By the end of 2013, Drake signed a deal with Jordan Brand, a partnership that not only dictated his footwear choices, but elevated him to the level of his rap mogul peers. Suddenly, Jordans were recurring theme in his music, most notably on “10 Bands,” where he brags about getting boxes for free.
Drake’s most noteworthy style choice in 2013 was his sudden fascination with white pants. He wore them with white Timbs, with satin shirts, with a black T-shirt, in another
GQ spread—with anything really. One of the first instances of Drake experimenting outside the established hip-hop style cannon, the white pants proved Drake was suddenly more than a Northern foreigner emulating rap icons. Finally, he was Drake, a rap superstar, and he could wear white pants if he damn well pleased.
As Drake’s star grew throughout the mid-2010s, he gravitated towards sportswear—Baseball jerseys in particular, which he rocked on a number of occasions and released as part of OVO merch collections. His collegiate athlete vibe, eventually bled from his personal wardrobe to his business interests, the basis for the OVO clothing label. Originally simply tour merch, the OVO brand became a full-fledged streetwear label following series of traveling pop-up shops and co-signs from premium boutiques like Paris’ Colette. Yet, having personally covered the launch of the OVO x Roots collection at Colette in 2014, Drake still seemed less comfortable than, say, Pharrell or Virgil Abloh, amongst the fashion set.
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late surprisingly dropped in 2015, Drake’s style mimicked the emcee’s angry musical tone. Upset at the lack of respect and recognition for someone who ruled the charts as he did, blacked out fits became a Drake staple. While he continued to rep Supreme and Palace on occasion, more and more often Drake repped OVO head-to-toe, acting as a billboard while sitting courtside at Raptors games.