Words by Kendra Hunsley
“Goyard, the preferred choice of connoisseurs”
Goyard is a brand steeped in history and exclusivity. Favoured by the aristocrats, royals, dignitaries and the Bourgeoise. The brand prides itself on its long list of affluent patrons of the 19th and 20th century such as Pablo Picasso, Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin – even The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Opening it’s doors in 1853, Francois Goyard took over the helm and remained as the head for 32 years after handing the business over to his son Edmond in 1885. Going down the rabbit hole, you’ll discover the origin of the brand actually dates back to 1792 under House of Martin which was founded by Pierre-Francois Martin. A collector of the brand, Jean-Michel Signoles took over the business in 1998. Keeping within the brand’s family run signature, Signoles reinvented the brand with the help of his three sons who each administer different sectors of the company.
“My feature too pricey, don’t ask me/Go hard, ‘till Goyard on my baggage.”- Vince Staples
It’s continuance and prosperity in the social media zeitgeist within a market that’s tightly gripped to the hems of digital and e-commerce is both lauded and something to be admired. The brand repudiates advertising, unyielding of the changing times. It is steadfast on retaining it’s roots and rich history. But the brand has an air of condescension, synonymous to a secret society of sorts that extends an invitation only after probing one’s level of prestige. Perhaps thats the very essence that contributes to it’s allure.
“Hunnid bands on the Goyard ooh/And I got goons in my yard ooh.”– Lil Uzi Vert
Whilst the royals and elitists are a far cry from urban streets and hip hop lyrics, the culture has a way of penetrating into crevices that are far removed and sometimes even unaccommodating. Hip Hop brought luxury to the hood, whether in a literal or metaphorical way. Hip Hop and ostentatiousness have always gone hand-in-hand. Therefore, the introduction to Goyard- the choice of the haut monde- seems rather fitting. According to Genius Rap, the first reference of Goyard in rap music was off Kanye West’s 2007 Graduation album. In his song “The Glory” you’ll find the line “The fur is Hermes, shit that you don’t floss/The Goyard so hard man, I’m Hugo’s Boss.” However, tastemaker Pharrell Williams can attest to that. A year before Kanye’s ‘Graduation’ album dropped, Pharrell released In My Mind: The Prequel mixtape. ‘It Was A Great Day’ consists of the line “Go yard, I rock Goyard. ‘What’s that?’ Oh god.”
“I’m tired, the Goyard bags is heavy.” – Kanye West
Since then, the forerunners influenced a number of rappers who soon followed suit and paired their lyrical content with mentions of the haughty brand as well as dropped major rack for a trunk or two. Rich The Kid once said that Kanye West was “his first touchstone for Goyard, followed by Asap Rocky.” Fabolous also paid homage by dropping ‘Goyard Bag’ featuring Lil Uzi Vert. Big Sean, Metro Boomin, Travis Scott and Tyga are other known votaries of the brand.
“Goyard done break your pockets/boy I’m out in Paris lettin all these beats go up.”- Travis Scott
With Hip Hop ushering in brands and trends into heterogenous spaces, one would think that these very brands would see it as an opportunity to penetrate a different kind of market. But with a brand holding strongly onto the roots of it’s rich heritage and aristocracy of yesteryear, would that be the case? DJ Khaled found himself in a contretemps with Goyard over a custom jacket he wore to the 2016 MTV VMA Awards. The brand called him out on social media, saying his jacket was fake as Goyard does not make clothing. The gag is Khaled used authentic Goyard silk scarves to custom-make the jacket. The brand soon deleted the claims following his rejoinder but the residue of it’s disapprobation still remains.
“Yeah and I got money bags under my eyes, ho, cause I ain’t sleep/They all Goyard too cause I aint cheap.”- Big Sean
Hip Hop artists have this spellbinding way of attaching a stamp of ‘cool’ to anything, just from a mere mention. Even so, the lack of endorsement from luxury brands isn’t a new occurrence in Hip Hop and at this point in the game, there’s very little doubt that it matters more now than it used to. “And while Goyard might count the crown among it’s most favorable clientele; they can’t deny that rappers are considered modern day royalty.”
“Goyard on my waist, boy get out my way.”– Lil Uzi Vert