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Following Drake’s cover story, The FADER has caught up with fellow Oliver El-Khatib for their latest issue. The OVO co-founder opens up about the success and growth of the brand, highlighting their expansion into the world of fashion with its own clothing line. It’s been a tough but well-deserved success story which saw Drake and El-Khatib help the brand grow from offering logo T-shirts to a fully-developed clothing line with cut-and-sew button-ups, towels, tracksuits, tote bags, and more. Although production has increased, it remains a “mom-and-pop” operation, Oliver insists.
“The clothing business is a tough business to go into and have success. It’s something that takes a long time, and it’s an immense amount of work—you’re working 16, 18 months out. If there is any idea that this is some massive corporate entity that’s worth billions of dollars, then that’s a misconception,” he says, laughing. “There’s a few of us putting our blood, sweat, and tears into this 24/7. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not a job that we all go home from. It’s something that we’ve put our own time and money and equity into, and we’re building it with hammers and nails.”
El-Khatib also opened up about their digital and physical stores.
OVO products are sold through a minimalist e-shop and at a meticulous brick-and-mortar store in Little Portugal, a slowly gentrifying strip of quickly gentrifying Toronto. “This seemed like a place that was going to be sustainable for us,” Oliver says of the store’s location. “We’re a destination, so it wasn’t going to matter if we were in a central or upscale area.” A year after its doors opened, it’s not unusual to see kids lined up outside to cop new hats or just catch a glimpse of OVO crew members through the glass storefront. Oliver calls the shop OVO’s “tangible access point” and says he’s “100 percent” involved with its design and staffing. “Who’s working in the store? What music is playing in the store? What’s the vibe in the store? What’s the temperament in the store? That’s a complete extension of our brand. It’s very, very important for people to be able to go there and see what it is.”
Read the entire story, which also features Noah “40” Shebib, here.