June 20, 2024

I wore my sneakers but I’m not a sneak.

I am always ready to draw inspiration from anything, anywhere, at anytime. They say you can’t get blood from a stone but I think if you gave me time I am pretty sure I’d find inspiration in one…somehow.
Each time I dress I imagine myself becoming somebody else, almost like fancy dress but to me, a bit more serious. Clothes can turn you into anything you want to be, and that may mean that sometimes I want to be an elderly grandpa with knitted jumpers and elbow patches or sometimes I may want to be an Ivy leaguer with my navy fitted, gold buttoned blazer, shirt and loafers.
Like many people, I also draw inspiration from the world of music and the musicians who live, breathe and play there. As I have grown, admittedly, the genres and era’s I’ve drawn from have developed into a place which I would think was more accepting within society. These days I turn to the sixties, to the summer of love and to the three days of peace and music with the aid of flares and bell bottoms, crochet, fringing and tie dye, whilst at the same time trying to avoid looking like the last thing left for me to do is carve a pumpkin ready for halloween.
This wasn’t always the case nevertheless, as in my early teens I didn’t take the route of listening to The Cure, Pulp & Leonard Cohen (a soundtrack sitting, waiting, wishing for Holden and his red hunting hat to hit the silver screen) like a stereotypical frustrated teenager. To think back, a phrase which sounds pathetic when I will only turn twenty-three this year (my memory is dreadful), I wouldn’t say I was a frustrated teen in the same way it is portrayed in film and in literature. Even before hitting my adolescence I quite often had a vendetta with myself but rarely at the world and thus, Morrissey to me wasn’t manna from heaven that frosty, winter morning in late 2002 when I woke up to the sound of the postman delivering my thirteenth birthday.
It makes sense, I get it, I can see the reason why people make this connection to the likes of The Smiths and why they are bound to J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye as if they were the book’s spine, the poetic simplicity of their existentialist sentences talk directly to them as if they alone were the writings sole subject and purpose.
For me however, I found my youth down a yellow brick road headed straight for seventies New York. Not to Bethel and not even to Manhattan but to the Bronx and to the birth of hip hop…
All areas of hip hop interested me, it’s history and culture and not solely how the music sounded; although greatly important. I am slightly embarrassed but at the same time proud when thinking back to the extent this whole new and at first, slightly hazy lifestyle took over my existence. I submerged myself in it to the degree that not only did it flood my ears, my mind and my heart but it began to saturate my wardrobe. I remember my first wage packet at the age of fourteen and how it went straight on a pair of Levi anti-fit jeans which I had had my eyes and heart set on for weeks beforehand, in anticipation. I had desired jeans that had ample room to fit myself and a whole other person in, incase; without meaning to sound crude, I ever felt the inclination. I wore Nike Dunks and Billionaire Boys Club t-shirts whilst the recent and still unfamiliar feeling of my pocket burning holes flirted with basketball jerseys on shopping trips and my baby blues eyed up my best friends pristine Air Force One’s all in order to be like the hip hop artists at the time.
I was white and I was female but it didn’t stop me. I wore G-Unit earrings to school, chose the history of hip-hop as my talking point for presentations in English classes and one day my friend and I even drew a teardrop on our faces with the closest Bic biro in sight.
Recollecting and seeing these memories compiled together on screen, it all seems a bit cringeworthy now and at times a bit too far fetched but that love affair with hip hop still remains, pumping through my veins, indomitable as ever but now more like an old friend, one who always welcomes me back with open arms.
Make no mistake however, there is a forceful impediment and restraint on it ever coming into contact with my wardrobe again.

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