Being an artist in 2019 means never having to attach yourself to one thing. The multi-hyphenate has become the norm, which might explain why Amsterdam’s creative crew ALLE$ Lifestyle settled on “alles” — a word that literally translates to “everything.” It’s fitting for a collective who seem to have someone for everything.

Amongst the crew, there’s Armin Heravi, one of the team’s behind-the-scenes figures that helped to orchestrate their rise, rapper Narco Polo, R&B singer RIMON, producer Samuel Kareem — plus a handful of creative directors, photographers, designers, stylists, and producers to keep the creative juices flowing. Ever since they jumped from the small creative scene in Nijmegen to the slightly larger artist community in Amsterdam, ALLE$ has been making waves with their expansive roster of talent; eventually landing the job of bringing their energy to A|X Armani Exchange’s latest collection.

Last week, we caught up with ALLE$ Lifestyle as they weaved in and out of rooms at a house party and today, we dropped into the recording studio to see what happens behind the scenes. Peep the film and then see what the crew had to say about elevating their individual crafts through the collective, how they’d describe their style, and what artist inspired them to jump into the music industry way back before the ALLE$ era.

How would you describe yourself?

Narco Polo: I would just call myself a creative, a writer. I’m between business and creative. I rap but I also do songwriting for different types of music, like R&B and trap. I go with Sam’s flow and then something comes out of it.

Mijo: It’s kind of hard, man, because the last year all of our lives blew up. Before this, I would describe myself as a writer. Writing articles for a Dutch [magazine]. Then I started doing music, started working with the collective, came aboard as a manager. As someone that had a bit more insight on the business end and the development of artists, and then I started working with RIMON.

We just started releasing her music and everything blew up. In that trajectory, all of a sudden I was making videos, I was helping her with her stage design for her live shows. I started DJing. Now the DJing thing is really picking up, which is really cool. It’s kind of hard to put one title on it. But I’d say, [I’m an] all-around creative that reaches for the business end as well.

How has being in ALLE$ helped you elevate yourself?

Samuel Kareem: It brings the best out of me as a human being but also as a creative artist. We keep each other sharp. We boost each other. Me and Aki have a crazy relationship. It’s crazy to start something a couple of years ago and to see where it’s at right now. It’s blown up. Decked out in [A|X Armani Exchange], it’s crazy. People from our home town they going to trip when they see us doing the campaign.

What inspired you to pursue your craft?

Aki: I was always creative and into music, but I think what inspired me most was Wu-Tang Clan and ASAP Mob. I always wanted to have something like that. A creative crew.

RIMON: Back in the day, of course, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child. That’s what I grew up with. I was very young, eight or something, and that’s when I really got into music. That’s when I notice, “Oh shit, I kind of want to sing.” Then when I grew older, it’s people like Erykah Badu and Frank Ocean.

Even The Weeknd because he is Ethiopian too. That inspired me to do music as well because I saw someone from my own country blowing up with alternative sounds. It’s funny because the way he sings is inspired by a lot of Ethiopian singers.

Narco Polo: When I was younger, hip hop really raised me. The first artists I came across were Tupac and Wu-Tang Clan and Eminem. I went off from there and went deeper into the scene, but those are the guys who did the things for me.

Samuel: I’ve been a fan of music my whole life and when I was sixteen, or eighteen, I was starting to listen more to the music than to the lyrics, so it started there. And then on YouTube, I saw guys like Just Blaze in little videos about beat making and I was sold right away. I sold my scooter for MPC [beat machine]. Looking back at it, it was the best investment of my life.

armani collection party 2
Highsnobiety / Pasqual Amade

How would you describe your personal style?

Aki: I like designer stuff, but I don’t like being all over the place. It can be a big logo but then it needs to be hot or the quality needs to be very good.

Mijo: Extremely laid back drip. I think I’ll go with that. I really like stuff that’s comfortable and I really like stuff that is out of reach. I’m not really interested in buying clothing items, I want to buy clothing pieces. I want to buy stuff that’s unique. Every time I try to cop items or look for items, I tend to look more and more towards places where it’s stuff that you don’t really see that often.

Narco Polo: 90’s in a new jacket. That was my time. I was born in 88, so the 90’s shaped my whole vision.

Samuel: Different. I never follow trends. Nothing like that. I just buy what I like. Just wear what I like. It was always like that. When I was fourteen, fifteen, I was already in the sneaker thing. Fashion has been around me since way way way young.

Fatu: Extra. Over the top. Fashion is a major thing where we’re trying to stand out. Before everything set off, we would always wear streetwear. Always very tomboyish.

RIMON: I wouldn’t describe it with one word. Sometimes I’m in a tracksuit and I look like shit, and the next day I feel very extra, and I do everything and have diamonds in my hair and all that. It just depends. If I go classy there needs to be an element that makes it a bit more street in a way; you don’t see me in a dress and heels all classy-classy. You would see me in a dress with sneakers; I wouldn’t feel too comfortable being completely feminine but I’d like to balance it out.

How do you use fashion to shape your identity?

Aki: I always grew up in a very fashion-heavy environment. My half-brother’s name is Boss because my father always used to wear Hugo Boss suits. I’m from Congo and my family on my father’s side [had] a lot of suppers so you need to dress well. Fashion was always a thing; even in ALLE$ fashion is a thing.

Narco Polo: Fashion for me is everything. Music and fashion are the things that I love to spend my time with. I even did fashion school for two years before I started doing music. When you dress good, then you feel good. When I buy new shoes, the feeling I get from that is priceless.

armani collection party 2
armani collection party 2
Highsnobiety / Pasqual Amade

A|X Armani Exchange is all about uniting unique styles under one brand. What’s been the best part of uniting under the ALLE$ Lifestyle creative crew?

Aki: There are so many things bro, you know? I think for me, the best is that I wake up every day and I think, we are really doing this and enjoying every moment. 

Narco Polo: It elevated my craft to crazy levels. With music, I had my studio in the backyard doing my own bit, and then I met Sam and every time I’m in the studio with him he takes me to another level. I just go with the energy and it’s definitely the energy that evolves us.

Mijo: For one, it pushed me to places where I’ve developed parts of my craft that, before being part of the collective, I never knew I had. For instance, with the whole video thing with Rimon, because there was no video producer or executive producer, I just took that role upon me.  It was the first time I’ve ever done it, but in the process, you learn so much. And then when you look at the final product it’s insane. 

The fact that you can do all of that — the videos, the events, the music. Everything at the same time. The name ALLE$, if you translate ALLE$ to English, it’s the Dutch word for everything, because it is everything. We’re building our own universe. I’m doing it with my best friends, it’s my family. It’s the family that I’ve chosen myself. We’re not getting rich on this shit. But that’s the greatest part about it. We wanted to create stuff that no one is creating; put our own mark on it and present it to the world. Show other people, “This is something that you can do, too.”

Aki: There are so many things bro, you know? I think for me, the best is that I wake up every day and I think, we are really doing this and enjoying every moment.

Narco Polo: It elevated my craft to crazy levels. With music, I had my studio in the backyard doing my own bit, and then I met Sam and every time I’m in the studio with him he takes me to another level. I just go with the energy and it’s definitely the energy that evolves us.

Mijo: For one, it pushed me to places where I’ve developed parts of my craft that, before being part of the collective, I never knew I had. For instance, with the whole video thing with RIMON, because there was no video producer or executive producer, I just took that role upon me. It was the first time I’ve ever done it, but in the process, you learn so much. And then when you look at the final product it’s insane.
The fact that you can do all of that — the videos, the events, the music. Everything at the same time. The name ALLE$, if you translate ALLE$ to English, it’s the Dutch word for everything, because it is everything. We’re building our own universe. I’m doing it with my best friends, it’s my family. It’s the family that I’ve chosen myself. We’re not getting rich on this shit. But that’s the greatest part about it. We wanted to create stuff that no one is creating; put our own mark on it and present it to the world. Show other people, “This is something that you can do, too.”

armani collection party 2

Peep the first installment of our ALLE$ Lifestyle x A|X Armani Exchange collab for the lowdown on how a small city 120 km away brought the crew together, and stay tuned for the final installment to see what they had to say about Amsterdam’s effect on their creative flow and what comes next when they cross city limits and take their talents international.

  • Director: Ebeneza Blanche
  • D.O.P.: Dan Bothof
  • Steadicam Operator: Jasper van Gheluwe
  • 1st AC: Boyd Bakema
  • Producer + AD: Isabella von Ende
  • Executive Producer: Armin Heravi
  • Gaffer: Julian Wunderle
  • Gaffer Assistant: Boris
  • Photographer: Pasqual Amade
  • Photographer (BTS): Robbo
  • Stylist: Fatu Kamara
  • Art Director: Jazz Kuipers
  • Art Assistant: Melissa Kooijmans
  • MUA: Magdalena Kielb
  • Project Manager: Thuy Nga Phan
  • PA: Clement Schaper
  • PA: Wholly
  • Creative: Shane Gormley
  • Producer: Indigo Janka
  • Project Manager: Elise de Villaine
  • Talent: Zinaida
  • Talent: RIMON
  • Talent: Aki
  • Talent: Ralph
  • Talent: Robbo
  • Talent: Choco
  • Talent: Mijo Karoshi
  • Talent: Thuy Nga
  • Talent: Wholly
  • Talent: Samuel Kareem
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