Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable

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The fashion industry taking from urban areas and proclaiming it as original is nothing new - cough Alessandro Michele cough - but this time they've not only taken a style, but an entire person. Fashion month recently wrapped and more than iridescent colors, menswear layers, and multicolored knit balaclavas, the most ubiquitous trend about fashion month was Cardi B

Her sheer presence at a show meant that that designer was not only plugged into the cultural zeitgeist, but that the designers themselves were like maaaaddd down son.

Or at least I think that was supposed to be the case.

Designers like Prabal Gurung, Alexander Wang, and Jeremy Scott, among almost literally everyone else, were falling over themselves to proclaim that not only is Cardi now a fashion darling, but THEIR fashion darling. As if they’ve done us all a favor by one day being on the 6 train and spotting young Bartier spitting bars for change, and it was something only they could recognize that compelled them to dress her H to T. 

Where were you 3 years ago when she was just another girl from the block on a Mona Scott production cooooooonstantly sticking her tongue out? Where were you when she was asking if people did or did not see “these big ass titties and this ass out?” on (to this day my favorite Cardi song) “Wash Poppin’”? Why weren't you jumping to provide the wardrobe for the music video for “Red Barz”? (which omg is baaarrrssss BBAAARRRRSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!11one)

Ok ok, fair that looks like it was filmed outside of Bronx River projects and I would NOT suggest anyone go there once the sun goes down. Im serious; white people Im talking to you, do not go there. 

Cardi B (on phone) in the front row at the Jeremy Scott show during New York Fashion Week  Credit: Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

Cardi B (on phone) in the front row at the Jeremy Scott show during New York Fashion Week

Credit: Dolly Faibyshev for The New York Times

What I’m not against is a girl from the Bronx getting the money and attention that is deserved for the work that she's put in, and the talent that she has. What I do however think is problematic is the way in which specifically the fashion world is embracing this woman not because of who she is, but because of what she can do for them. If you want your collection to be talked about then you're going to get the most talked about celebrities to come and promote your brand. WHY though, do you have to pretend like you're all of a sudden down with the C- AR-DI?

It’s the out and out HYPOCRISY of it all that this reeks of. 

Sweetttiiieee, when have you, since Prabal’s debut collection in 2009, ever (EVER) seen anything (ANYTHING) even remotely catering to something that looks like a girl from the Bronx?? Yet here we are in 2017 and Cardi B is the new Prabal muse? WHO ARE YOU?? WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?? WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR?? WHY AM I YELLING??…

I’m yelling because this is just another example of people who are in power taking all of the aspects they deem positive of the people not in power, and dismissing the facets of their culture that they deem undesirable.  

It’s worrisome to me because we have seen time and time again minority men and women being exalted, then exploited by an industry that likens cultural identity to an accessory that can go in and out of fashion, and just as quickly disposed. Black and brown women are not a trend and their value is not dependent on their cultural clout or popularity. 

*puts on “Superstar” - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill*

Credit: Getty Images via Elle.com

Credit: Getty Images via Elle.com

 

P.S.- Nareasha Willis (IG: @avenue_n) makes a sweatshirt with “Ghetto until proven fashionable” on it- the gospel I chose for the title of this post- and everyone should go buy one. 

 

Jonathan Bell