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Give Credit Where Credit is Due

Unless you’ve been oblivious to the lack of diversity in every industry today, you are probably well aware of how it is in the fashion world. Some rules may not be said out loud but are very much implied like keeping up with an ideal body type and keeping up with one’s appearance. Imagine trying to oblige to those standards and being a POC. In New York City, the fashion scene has taken a major shift. A lot of people have taken inspiration from this gentrified streetwear aesthetic. Streetwear, which used to be urban wear, but now when a white creative wears that inspired outfit, people just applaud for their mediocrity.

When POCs wear a certain outfit that they originally curated they are often labeled as too "urban" or "ghetto." But when a white fashionista puts on a similar outfit it’s considered a fashion statement. They go on and get more attention and have blogs about them and get published on social media, basically just get visibly shown more and get to high opportunities faster. This has been a recurrence in the fashion world today and my question is when will people stop discrediting POC creatives? Where is the credit they rightfully deserve?

If you’re on TikTok, you might have seen this “Subway girl” who was interviewed by The Cut, and said, “I never have to go to Queens or Harlem, where people don’t understand.” She then goes on to say, “ Lower East Side is Lower East Side…it’s a younger community, people always partying.” This statement is very harmful because it makes it seem like the Lower East Side doesn’t have any families. The Lower East Side had families living but because of gentrification they have and are still getting pushed out. They cannot afford to live in their communities even though many have been living there for generations, which then results in articles being made stating a bunch of nonsense and uplifting a creator with no knowledge or history of the City.

White fashionistas consistently act like they invented high and low dressing. Some brands have mixed athleisure clothing with jewelry pieces which is just very disappointing /off-putting because Black and Latina women have been rocking this style for years. If you do a bit of research then it can be made clear that the heart of NYC streetwear originated from black and brown people.

Oversized clothes, not anything new. Mix matching colors, also not new. Styles that would be considered showing off skin or oversexualized but are a statement of power, nothing new. By all means, dress how you want nobody is saying don’t or that you have to bow down to Black and brown creators. (lol it wouldn’t kill you) Fashion creatives need to realize how insulting it is when they discover styles that Black and Brown creatives have been doing for decades and pretend it’s something monumental. Maybe what these white fashionistas think is a lack of understanding is POC not praising someone just for being white and skinny because let’s be real not being white or being fat and the ideal body type is a lot harder to go unnoticed.

There is an understanding that what is being done is not original. It’s just a watered-down inspiration of styles that have been done before that were once looked upon as less than. Only to be praised when it’s okay to be accepted by the fashion industry standards.

Rule-breaking and defiance are only accepted when it is done by a specific group of people. Ironically, the internet can celebrate people putting on these out-of-the-box outfits about whatever personal style however, rarely recognize the same sense of originality in other bodies who have to go out there way to be seen as creative knowing that the fashion industry has made little to no progress to give POC and other body types a space to express their styles.

Written by Daniel Rojas

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