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will.i.am's hip-hop fashion influences

Rapper will.i.am is a big fan of Vivienne Westwood and her ability to merge punk rock and hip hop in fashion.

will.i.am is glad hip-hop artists are dipping their toes into fashion rather than just making music.

The Black Eyed Peas star and his brother Carl Gilliam are behind high-end sneaker brand MCCVIII (pronounced twelve-oh-eight), named after the address of their childhood home. The label's Pharaoh design comes in three styles - high-tops, low-tops and gold plated high-tops - and both men were determined to make their footwear stand out from others on the market.

Stars-turned-designers like rapper Puff Daddy, who has launched several style ventures over the years, inspired the siblings to reach beyond recording tunes.

"I like what Puff did with his own brand," will told Britain's Time Out London magazine. "I look up to him for that. He epitomises how hip-hop people are the true renaissance men. Jimi Hendrix; he should have had his own guitar. As bad-ass as Michael Jackson was, he should have his own glittery socks, glove range, sparkling beverage, penny loafers and aviators. As bad-ass as Mozart was, that freaking piano that says Yamaha should say Mozart! So, thank god for hip-hop artists for doing more than just singing songs; thanks Kanye (West), thank you Diddy and thank you Run DMC."

MCCVIII footwear is to go on sale in London department store Liberty and online this month (Dec15), and a collaboration between the brand and the shop is planned for February 2016. will is a big fan of the London fashion and there's one particular British designer he can't get enough of.

"Vivienne Westwood. Oh man - if I think of punk rock and I think of hip hop, there's only one person that threads between both cultures; the spirit and style," he gushed. "She was, and is, the woman that's right there with it all. The sneaker and footwear world isn't the easiest to make your mark on."

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