Amsterdam is known for many things. You can get too stoned to move out of your cafe seat during the day and walk through the crowded streets of the Red Light District by night, but the most exciting part of the canal-streaked city has nothing to do with weed brownies or neon-lit sex workers selling their wares.
Beyond the tourist trappings, Amsterdam has become the home base for ALLE$ Lifestyle — a multicultural crew of Netherlanders who’s musical prowess has launched them well past city limits. True to their name (“alles” means “everything” in Dutch), the group’s bursting roster includes R&B singer RIMON, rapper Narco Polo, and producer Samuel Kareem — as well as creative directors, DJ's, managers, stylists, photographers and a whole other slew of creatives. Together, they form a patchwork of talent that has allowed ALLE$ to perform across Europe and gather international attention for their work.
It’s no surprise then that in July, just outside of Amsterdam in Zaandam, the crew gathered in a sprawling artist studio to front A|X Armani Exchange's latest collection. The pairing of an Italian luxury fashion house with a music collective repping Amsterdam may sound odd on paper — especially when the set location is above a furniture store and has an entrance located in a back alley — but the mix of legacy and contemporary creative energy was flowing seamlessly as the crew settled into their A|X Armani Exchange Icons fits. Decked out in a rainbow of tracksuits and sweats, they looked the part of a music collective that’s transcended the small creative scene in Amsterdam through a six-year grind, but their story didn’t begin in Amsterdam.
Long before they packed up and moved, their creative spark was igniting 120 kilometers away in a city a fifth of the size of the Netherlands’ capital city called Nijmegen. It was in this tiny city’s creative scene that the people who would come to form ALLE$ found each other, and it all began when Samuel and Aki linked up. “We were just having conversations about what was missing,” Sam explained of this early period when and Aki dreamt up ALLE$. “It came to a point where we need something that's for ourself. Where we can build together. Combine strength, maximize power.”
With the bedrock set, a passion for music caught member after member in the ALLE$ web that involved a lot of chance encounters at recording studios and, for Mijo, three back-to-back run-ins with Sam in the mosh pits of Dutch music festivals. “The third time when it happened, we sat down. It was like, ‘Okay, maybe something is telling us that we have to hang out more or be closer, because why would the universe put us together,’” Mijo said of this period. “‘It's a festival of 30,000 people. What are the odds of finding a mosh pit with you inside it, and three times in a row?’”
As with any creative crew stuffed into a small city, ALLE$'s ambitions grew past Nijmegen, culminating in a move to Amsterdam. It was there that the RIMON, the singer who has become the group’s biggest star yet, fell into ALLE$ with a little help from her best friend, Fatu, who’d known the ALLE$ crew before they settled in Amsterdam. For her and RIMON, the creative industry was always in their sights. “We would always go to places, watch concerts, go everywhere. Meet people. [RIMON] came to the point that she wanted to make music, and wanted to record.” Knowing this, she brought RIMON over to the Amsterdam flat that had become ALLE$ HQ and introduced her to the crew that’ve become her family.
It’s been four years since that moment and since then, ALLE$ Lifestyle has grown past any of the members’ wildest expectations as they’ve emerged as a beacon for what Amsterdam’s creative community can achieve.
Across the next two installments of our ALLE$ Lifestyle x A|X Armani Exchange collab, we’ll catch up with the crew to talk about elevating their individual crafts together, using fashion to shape their identity, and what comes next as they look beyond Amsterdam’s creative scene.