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will.i.am designs a menswear line

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The frontman of the multi-platinum-selling group Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, who is also a singer-songwriter and producer, is returning to his fashion roots with his menswear line labelled i.am.

"Right after high school, I went to fashion school and the music just was a stronger calling at the time," recalled the Grammy-winning artist, who attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.

While in Toronto for two concerts, the artist took time out for an in-store appearance at Harry Rosen in the upscale Yorkville area to launch his line in the city. The offerings on display included a mix of basics like graphic t-shirts, alongside knits, some of which feature leather accents and detailing. Outerwear pieces run the gamut from traditional pea coats to edgier hooded jackets with a graphic printed lining and coats with mesh-style pinhole cutouts.

"The thing that inspires my line, it`s not a person, it`s youth," said the fashion-forward hip-hop star, decked out in large blue-framed sunglasses, a white Henley-style t-shirt, black vest and scarf, knee-length cargos and high tops. "Youth culture, youth hip-hop, dance culture, the world of the arts, and just expression", added will.i.am, whose real name is William James Adams, Jr

The collection also has a strong Canadian connection, designed and produced by the i.am je suis division of Manhattan International based in Montreal.

He simply wishes to make pieces that inspire people to wear them and he doesn`t seem interested in crafting tailored looks or styling one particular individual. While the creation of his line is what will.i.am describes as both a “passion and dream,” music remains very much on the front-burner for both him and his chart-topping band.