“Some low life is essential. That, and youth: juvenile delinquents. In the sense, the street is a dead end – the place to go when you aren’t old enough or rich enough to get in somewhere.” Some thoughts on street style from Ted Polhemus, author of seminal fashion manual, Street Style.
Street fashion has come to mean something very different than what it used to.
Once as far removed from the catwalks as my Aunt Mary’s mothballs, street style conjured up images of urban kids channeling their restlessness, their sense of territory, music and dance allegiances, gang affiliations into a specific set of sartorial codes:
East London Ragga girls, NYC graffiti gangs, original hip hop crews, punks under bridges and skinheads at the cigarette counter, Crusties with dogs on strings assembling down the arcade, Teddy boys in their zoot suits, Goths in swathes of purple and black stark against the family-friendly Saturday afternoon, huddles of hoodie-clad tribes lurking outside job centres in urban sprawls from Harlem to Hartlepoole frightening the living daylights out of little old ladies.
Now it looks like this:
Street fashion has become the term used for fashion photographed in a street setting. It usually features models on their way to castings, attendees awaiting entry to a fashion show, PR girls, fashion bloggers and other polished and glossy-haired individuals toting the latest Celine bag. No longer the domain of the disenfranchised, rebellious, or even the original thinkers.
So I think it’s time to reclaim the streets. The very walls and sidewalks that make them. And the unexpected inspirations that’s to be found there. Here is some street style I spotted out and about, along with evidence that the fashion industry still casts its beady peepers across to the wrong side of the tracks…
Curious to read about the colorful and “off-the-wall” characters that thrive within the fashion industry, they’re all inside my debut novel. You can buy Silk for the Feed Dogs here.