This line from Drake's 2013 hit, Tuscan Leather, was a subtle proclamation of the Canadian rapper's longevity in the spotlight. He knew it when he was Jimmy on Degrassi, he knew it on Nothing Was The Same, and he sure knows it now - Aubrey Graham is here to stay.
But you don't need me to tell you that his entrenched influence stretches far beyond the confines of the music industry. From pop culture references to singing along to Taylor Swift's Bad Blood in Apple ads, the man is everywhere. Alongside his rise as a generational sensation has been his fashion label, OVO. Split three ways between Drizzy, Oliver 'Ollie' El-Khatib, and Noah '40' Shebib, the label has evolved well beyond its inception as the uniform for Drake's entourage.
Business of Fashion dropped an article on their website late last year detailing an intimate history of Drake's OVO label. For the uninitiated, OVO stands for 'October's Very Own' - a nod to Drake's month of birth and some handy initials that fit well into the brand's logo. The OVO owl is now synonymous with more than just Drake's music; it's luxury streetwear, hoping to follow in the footsteps of brands such as Supreme and A Bathing Ape, companies that have used hip-hop as the medium to branded style success.
Here's a brief yet intriguing timeline of OVO's success:
- Aubrey Graham and Oliver El-Khatib first meet at Lounge - a popular boutique in Toronto, where El-Khatib worked and Graham frequented. It was at this time that Drake was evolving from Jimmy to Drizzy, and was looking to create his own unique brand. Over a brief yarn the two became mates, and the rest, as they say, is history.
- OVO is founded, using Myspace and various blogging websites as their port of call for the hottest music, fashion, and art trends going, curating a unique aesthetic and vibe.
- Drake releases his first studio album, Thank Me Now, which cements his position as one of the hottest up-and-comers in the rap game, as the album rockets to number one on the US Billboard 200.
- Drake holds the first annual OVO Fest, which has since hosted acts like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Jay Z, and A$AP Rocky.
- Releases their first product as a label, an OVO-branded tour jacket sporting the immediately-recognisable OVO owl. The purpose of the jacket lay in its versatility as a travel piece and formal streetwear for the label's various business meetings.
- Drake's best selling album to date (and what many would argue to be his magnum opus), Take Care, is released in November.
- Drake, El-Khatib, and 40 found OVO sound, representing acts such as Majid Jordan and PartyNextDoor. The OVO team uniform is steadily becoming the all-black OVO tracksuit and hoodie.
- Receives partnership with Toronto Raptors - the NBA team that Drake is a global ambassador for. The result is these OVO-inspired jerseys, putting the fashion label on a world stage.
- Launches annual basketball tournament, 'OVO Bounce', further reiterating their fame as a basketball streetwear company.
- Continues to collaborate with brands such as Colette, Nordstrom, Browns, and Canada Goose, as well as footwear staples like Timbaland and Nike's 'Jordan' range.
- First permanent retail outlet opened in Toronto.
- Aubrey Graham registers OVO as a business in 2015, eventually signing over the role of general partner to close friend and business associate, Oliver El-Khatib.
- The premiere of the bi-monthly radio program, OVO Sound Radio, which directly premiers Drake's latest singles, as well as the fashion label's best new releases.
- Opening day of London's OVO boutique draws a line of over 400 deep.
- OVO label exceeds $50 million USD in annual revenue.
- October's Very Own Instagram boasts over 1.2 million followers, while the Champagne Papi's page hosts over 54.2 million.
- Seven retail boutiques across three countries - Canada, the USA, and the UK.
To see what kind of purchases Drake is making with the money from OVO, see 'Drake's New Mercedes Maybach Is Every Baller's Dream Whip'.