Riky wears: Sunglasses, R14,260; Jersey, R15,200; suit, R45, 900; bomber jacket, R18,400, all Gucci. Shoes, Riky’s own
Riky wears: Sunglasses, R14,260; Jersey, R15,200; suit, R45, 900; bomber jacket, R18,400, all Gucci. Shoes, Riky’s own
Image: Steve Tanchel / Red Hot Ops

Celebrated South African rapper Riky Rick is energy personified. The gregarious recording artist spent the duration of my time with him bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet, jittering in front of a mirror, and periodically greeting passers-by. He even had his illustrious beard combed without altering this stance.

Although Riky Rick — born Rikhado Makhado — is regarded as a burgeoning style icon, he finds it difficult to hone in on the essence of his signature style. In fact, according to the designer-clad dynamo: “It doesn’t really exist — I wear things that feel good, and it always changes; always switches up. It just depends on my mood. I don’t have any specific criteria.”

The fast-evolving luminary appears to bring an artistic sensibility to bear on every aspect of his life, including his wardrobe; he is conscious of clothing’s ability to convey a character. “Fashion is really like an illusion; it’s really a show,” says the rapper. “If you can approach it from that point of view, you’ll feel able to try different things. When I get to shoots, I’m not really picky about what I wear, because I know it’s just about the different pictures that people are trying to paint. You’re really just a mannequin for the world.”

RIKY RICK RECOMMENDS

Which local designers excite you? Locally, I love Chu (Suwannapha’s) stuff — he’s crazy. I’ve always got to give respect to Rich Mnisi: I love Rich Mnisi. That’s pretty much it in terms of the guys who have already made it, but there are a lot of kids that are doing some really dope stuff on the streetwear side: they just haven’t had the opportunity to come up yet.

Can you remember the first item of clothing you were really excited to own? I don’t really get excited about clothes — the feeling, for me, goes away. I wear something once, and then, by the next week, I don’t like it anymore. But I’m always excited to try anything that’s fresh, straight out of the box — the box makes me more excited than the actual clothes!

Who was your style icon when you were growing up? James Dean. I love his vibes. When I turn 35, I’m going to start dressing like James Dean, with the simple white T-shirts, the black jeans — that greaser look. But, really, my biggest fashion influence was probably Cam’ron, from Dipset. I used to follow everything he did. When he came with the Prada sneakers, I wanted the Prada sneakers; when he wore pink fur at a fashion show, I wanted to wear fur to a fashion show.

Your favourite weekend activity? I don’t think I’ve had time for a weekend activity in four or five years. I would like to just chill with my kids, and go to the race track with my son, because he likes cars.

Your favourite city? Vienna.

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