Rebel From Birth is an online platform that celebrates young women, living by their own rules so when Olu was down to collaborate with me on an editorial, I hit the ground, running.
When Olu was my intern, I was forever schooling him on what it was like for me, growing up and how I'm seeing things come full circle in 2017. I wanted to explore the historical relationship between the 90's skater punk aesthetic and classic streetwear brands.
I wasn’t an outsider, I identified with many groups. I was one of the few black people in my school listening to “alternative” music. I was discovering punk, metal and grunge as well as attending under 18 garage raves and learning to play bass guitar. The variety of music that I consumed was a huge influence on how I dressed.
For me, my (’97-’00) was the golden era of music television- MTV2 (alt), MTV Bass (“urban”), VH1 (classics & reality). I wanted to look like a mash up of the people I saw on The Real World, Aaliyah and my peers who were into skating and playing in bands. We wore wide jeans, fabric covering our cumbersome skate shoes and dragging on the floor, with Marilyn Manson shirts.
Or Mini skirts and dresses with fishnets and Adidas Superstars because Korn wore them and had a song named “A.D.I.D.A.S”. Those or Puma States (now known as Puma Suedes).
I was watching Gwen Stefani play punk inspired pop music in a tea dress, tartan pants and cropped tank tops. I was also watching singers like Kelis yell “I Hate You So Much Right Now” (when you’re young, this is punk) with a huge blonde afro with brightly coloured tips and Pharell (aka "Skateboard P”) rock J-orts (jean shorts) and sport socks.
I wore dickies and Chuck Taylors because I was obsessed with Chino Moreno and, well, if I couldn’t marry him, I could dress like him at the very least? Still, I always felt like an oddball because I didn’t fit inside a particular box.
Fast forward to 2017 - studs, space buns, black lipstick, rainbow colour hair, facial piercings and oversized pants have come full circle. Chris Brown is wearing a leather jacket covered in studs and patches from bands he’s never heard of (Or has he?) and everyone is mad at Kanye for wearing a Megadeath shirt but how do we know that Rust In Pieces isn’t his most played record?
31 year old me, looking back at 13, 14 and 15 year old me sees so much of my personal evolution reflected in current trends. Here, we see how classic sports and streetwear brands have always been a part of the alt aesthetic.