For some people, fashion is a expression of aspiration, a style based on insecurities. Things are a bit different these days in the black community, but not by much. Earlier times proved how style developed in urban communities all around the United States. To many, especially the younger crowd, dressing nice was more important than actually having money in their pockets; after all the money would only be used to buy clothes anyway.
For the thousands of kids on the streets with their friends, looking “clean” means one thing: You were getting money. Actually having money was on a need to know bases, if you didn’t need it for the night then no one needed to know if you had it or not. Growing up in lackluster conditions and having menial means on the home front, meant that your clothes and shoes were really your only vehicle to say “Look, I’m not completely out of the race”.
It used to be that in the hood style wasn’t born, it was scouted, brought back, dissected, assimilated and made anew. Real forerunners of what I call “Hood Fashion” couldn’t afford Louis Vuitton; Prada; Burberry and even if they could they weren’t catered to like their white counterparts. The only real and logical thing to do was to bring high end fashion to the hood.
Fashion designers like Dapper Dan of Harlem was Tom Ford before you even heard of Tom Ford. Born out of necessity, he created unique styles for just about every Hip Hop artist and person in Harlem at in the late 80’s until mid 90’s. Dapper Dan outfits started at the price of a fine tailor made bespoke suit and he stayed busy bringing luxury into the urban community until the industry realized the money he was making should be lining their pockets and shut his operation down.
Dan realized what was already a given, people like to feel good about themselves through clothes. It didn’t matter if you lacked furniture, food in the fridge, or had roaches on the wall; if you looked good, you could get the respect and admiration of peers and others around them.
Nowadays everyone has their own sense of style or at least a perceived sense of style. This hasn’t discounted the fact that major players such as Gucci, YSL and Versace have now taken a major foothold in the mind and eye of most urban youths. Even though there is a shared sentiment of individuality (mainly in how low one chooses to wear their pants), style today mirrors the American Dream; looking to attain what you cant get, while seeing it dangled in front of you like a carrot.
In other words your clothes set you apart in class. Ask yourself, are you a high class urban youth, with a Hermes belt; MCM pants; nice sneaks,with no food, book bag or coat? If so, this is the true value of style based in insecurities.