In the first episode of HBO Max’s new fashion design competition show, The Hype, nine young streetwear designers have been brought together at a cavernous industrial space in Los Angeles. They’re there to showcase their design skills and are introduced to their first guest judge, the inimitably stylish rapper A$AP Ferg. The challenge is to produce a “timeless” look for the musician to wear on a billboard with intentionally little direction given. And though there was an opportunity to ask Ferg about what he envisioned, the contestants surprisingly opted out. Straight away, stylist Marni Senofonte—one of the show’s three judges, or “co-signers,” in a nod to hip-hop parlance—chides the designers’ decision.
“They had to make something for a major artist, and they had him right there,” says Senofonte on remembering the moment, before breaking out into a guilty laugh. “I got so angry! With Google and the Internet, you take for granted the amount of information you have access to, so that was one thing I wanted to explain to them—how much further ahead they are and how fortunate they are. It made me see myself when I first started, and then through that, I was able to see what an amazing opportunity they had, because it’s so easy to take it all for granted.”