There are few crafts that have the distinct ability to shape culture like fashion and music. And while the two occupy unique realms, they do have a tendency to cross paths — or in the case of Denver rapper Ray Reed, blend together all under one roof.
The Colorado native has been dropping fearlessly filthy beats for some time now — most recently with the release of his latest album A Dolla & A Scheme. He’s won fans and gained attention with provocative lyrics detailing the struggles of the “trap-music life,” out here in the Mile High City and now, he’s moving his talents into a new realm — the fashion industry.
“They look at us a certain way when it comes to dressing because of the stuff we buy,” stated Reed as he explained the way fans view his unique style. “I love wearing all of the designers. So I was just like bro,[to his business partner] why the fuck are we buying all these clothes when we could buy a store and have our own?”
So they did. Reed and his business partner opened the Finesse Factory — a space for the community to find one of a kind, designer streetwear. And with brands like DOPE, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Gucci, Supreme, Maison Margiela, yeezy, Human Made, BBC, Crafty, Finesse Gang Gear, Undefeated and Young and Reckless and an Off-white / Timberland collaboration that’s Reed says is an extremely rare find.
“We’re trying to really bring the whole urban scene here,” explained Reed. “Finesse to me is just the way you carry yourself in life. Finesse is making it happen smoothly. Everybody comes in here like I didn’t think it was gonna be this type of store. I’m like… what did you think we’re going to do? Just a little hole in the wall?”
And his new space is anything but that. From limited edition DOPE jackets to Gucci glasses, custom Nikes and designer jewelry, The Finesse Factory is home to rare finds and it’s also home to Denver’s newest recording studio — Finesse Gang Studios. “The factory came in [bringing] studio and clothing together… when music collides with fashion. So when we have our studio open we’re going to offer so much to the artists that they can’t leave,” said Reed as he explained his vision for the new space. “We’re going to do label submissions here soon. I’m opening it up. I need hungry artists — people that are like me in different forms, you know what I mean? If I can’t see you working, if you can’t bring value, stay away… I’m cool with turning somebody from nothing to something. So for all of the artist’s listening, if you’re hungry and you want to be part of the Finesse Gang just be looking out on my social media for submissions.”
Unlike the boutique, the studio is not ready for use just yet, but Reed plans to open it in the coming months to any rapper in the area worth their salt. And he’s certainly no stranger to the local music scene — Reed was raised in Aurora. And though he spent some of his youth in Texas, he calls the Mile High City home and has arguably been a leading force in the elevation of Denver’s rap game. From headlining the Gothic to dropping multiple albums right here on his home turf, the artist has no plans of leaving. He’s developed as a musician through real-life hustle and plans to help others do the same with his studio.
“We’re trappin’ out here, that’s what it is — it’s Colorado,” explained Reed. “We’re going to keep this trap-music shit going. [It’s] real life. That’s the sound of Denver — people going through real fucking struggles and people out here hustling.”
The Finesse Factory officially opens this Saturday, October 27, at 11 a.m. The boutique’s daily hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday 12 to 10 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 6 p.m. Finesse Gang Studios remains under construction, stay tuned with us here for all updates. Both are located at 2163 S. Chambers Road, Aurora.
All photography by Brittni Bell Photo.