Growing up in the Bronx NY, one of my main sources of fashion inspiration was hip-hop street culture. The music was congruent with a “I don’t give a fuck what anyone say’s about my dress code mentality.” My jeans are 5 times bigger than my waist size, yes they are sagging below my ass and I feel like i’m cool as fuck”. At least that’s how I felt.
My attention was mainly on the street hustlers from my neighborhood. Poverty, drugs, hip-hop and crime were a normal thing for young kids to be surrounded by growing up in the area. I remember the hot summer days with kids running around screaming and getting on their parents’ last nerves.
The coolest things about the summer wasn’t just the hot weather and the summer freedom I felt when going to play basketball or Central Park with my family for a picnic. There was something else that made summer amazing; they were the regular “Block Parties.” Block parties were something that everyone would look forward to; barbecues were ignited outside of every building as well as gigantic speakers blasting old school hip-hop hits as well as the latest BadBoys, Biggie, Jay-z & 2Pac hits.
But most importantly, it was a time where everyone in my neighborhood pulled out their latest and freshest gear to dress for the occasion. The ladies would pull out all the stops with their styling starting at the top with their hair- weaves, braids extensions and fancy hair dos. Men and teenagers would wear the hip-hop power house labels of the time like Enyce, Mecca, Roca Wear, Sean John, and Parasucco and style with some jeans and either the latest Jordan’s or a fresh pair of Timberlands. At these epic events, the people that stood out the most to me were always the hustlers because of how they dressed.
Hustlers were my first fashion inspiration as a teenager. I used to stare at the latest and most expensive brands they wore daily on my way home from school. I’d later look out my 5th floor window watching them further and learning. I kept a mental diary of street style. The way these guys would dress would cut through the loud hip hop and r & b music coming from cars, the loud noise at the corner convenience stores, and the apartments in my building constantly creating more noise. It was truly inspirational.
Most of my attention used to be consumed by the way these guys used to wear their “Tim’s” or Timberland boots.
I was completely fascinated with the different ways they were worn. One of my favorite looks was a graphic t with jean shorts and the classic yellow Timberlands. I remember wanting a pair of Tim’s so bad it was all I could think of day in and day out. Daily, I would speak about them, go window-shopping for them, dream about them and even picture myself wearing them.
On my 13th birthday in the fall of 1998 I begged both of my parents for an affordable pair. After working many hours at the local super market bagging groceries, I was able to save up half and convince my dad to put up the rest. While I wanted the classic yellow ones or the all white leather with dark gray soles, I settled for a pair of light brown suede uppers with brown soles. Still, when I got them it made me the happiest person on earth. The feeling was indescribable. Growing up I never had liked waking up early to go to school, but once I got my first pair of Tim’s that all changed because of the pride I had walking to school in my new boots.
It was at that moment where I started to develop a sense of appreciation for styling myself daily. My new mantra was to always dress the way I wanted to. That first pair sparked something inside of me that was bigger than life. When I was able to afford it, I made sure to always keep a pair of Tims in my closet of the original classic yellow ones (which if you remember I didn’t get right away). It became my identity as every 6 months to a year I would buy a brand new pair. Because of what sparked my interest as a young child and the work I put forth into earning my first pair (as well as all the styling possibilities) this is still my identity to this day.
As I grew and developed a deeper and more knowledgeable appreciation and intense interest in fashion, my style changed with time. My silhouettes went from a 3xl in a long basic white t to a large then into a medium. My jeans shrank from a size 40 waist, which I wore very low to a true to size 30 waist jean. I was influenced by my surroundings early and have evolved with my surrounding and taste currently.
At age 22 I had drifted away from hip-hop influenced street wear culture into what was then high fashion. Since, “high fashion” has constantly been evolving. This website fashion blog and Deux Hommes is the current manifestation of high fashion in society and just like me, is now looking to outpace the trends, have a respect for where it came from, but be forward thinking about helping to develop and shape fashion’s future……My story, just like fashion’s is to be continued…