#BLACKLIVESMATTER VERSUS STREETWEAR

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Why many streetwear brands became the target of many protests that followed the murder of George Floyd? Everything started on May 25th, in Minneapolis (Minnesota) when the police office Derek Chauvin arrested and killed George Floyd, that was accused of using a fake 20$ bill. Everything was filmed: the agent handcuff and throw on the floor Floyd, pressing his knee on his neck for almost 9 minutes, even if he kept repeating “I can’t breathe”. Floyd didn’t survive, he died for asphyxia on a normal day just because he wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes. What happened to Floyd became a symbol for a bigger problem that still exists to this day: racism and police brutality towards black people. The protests that are still taking place in the United States and all over the world not only are targeting police stations but also anything that represents the corrupted system. The looting extended to restaurants and stores, including streetwear brands that became the target of vandalism, but why?

The urban culture found its roots in the black community, and streetwear started in the 80s in New York thanks to the sneakers culture, that then was integrated into the hip-hop scene. Rap, graffiti, break dance, were born in the south-east of the big apple.

During the 80s, some hip-hop icons like Cherelle and Andre used to wear colourful tracksuits, sheepskin jackets and military-inspired bombers, Clarks, Dr.Martens and sneakers. Since then, a lot has changed and streetwear went from being worn by subcultures to a luxury phenomenon reserved to a strict elite. Today streetwear became a game: with limited editions collections, with people queuing since the first hours in the morning just to get their hands on a pair of sneakers, for then re-selling them for prices 20x times higher. 

The anger of the protestors went towards the ones “who took the black culture” and transformed into a product for white rich kids, with multimillionaires bank accounts that would pay 900 dollars just for a pair of sneakers. It didn’t help the silence of people from the industry such as Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White and new entry of the luxury giant Louis Vuitton, that attacked the people who took part into the lootings accusing them to attack the same community that always defended them. A behaviour that people found very hypocrite from a man accused of using black culture to sell more.


During the 80s, some hip-hop icons like Cherelle and Andre used to wear colourful tracksuits, sheepskin jackets and military-inspired bombers, Clarks, Dr.Martens and sneakers. Since then, a lot has changed and streetwear went from being worn by subcultures to a luxury phenomenon reserved to a strict elite. Today streetwear became a game: with limited editions collections, with people queuing since the first hours in the morning just to get their hands on a pair of sneakers, for then re-selling them for prices 20x times higher. 

The anger of the protestors went towards the ones “who took the black culture” and transformed into a product for white rich kids, with multimillionaires bank accounts that would pay 900 dollars just for a pair of sneakers. It didn’t help the silence of people from the industry such as Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White and new entry of the luxury giant Louis Vuitton, that attacked the people who took part into the lootings accusing them to attack the same community that always defended them. A behaviour that people found very hypocrite from a man accused of using black culture to sell more.


Similar accusations were made towards Anne Wintour after she published an open letter in which she asked justice for George Floyd, but people soon reminded her of the difficulties that still to this day POC have to appear on the cover of Vogue America. While Kanye West, that in the past was criticized for his support for Trump, created a fund for Gianna, George Floyd’s daughter, that will finance her academic career.

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