I’ll start this article with my recollection of buying a mercerized cotton rain jacket from the Gucci store on 5th Ave over twenty five years ago (summer 1987). I worked as a messenger/mailroom clerk in an office overlooking the old New York Colosseum at Columbus Circle. The jacket costs me three weeks worth of pay but I HAD TO HAVE IT. The jacket was a simple red shell with the interlocked G on a patch sewn onto the left arm. The inner lining was a cotton print of arrayed Italian flags. I first spotted the jacket on a young thug bopping hard at the Latin Quarters. Dude was so fresh to def with the jacket, a Gucci sweatshirt, Gucci sweatpants, Gucci baseball cap the classic Gucci trainers. Suffice to say he was sporting a thousand dollar outfit when a rack back then would be equal to ten stacks in 2013.
I could tell he was from Brooklyn too because his whole crew had that aura as they were dressed in Polo Ralph Lauren and velour Fila suits from head to toe. But my man who was Gucci down had on THE emotional outfit. He was a bonafied ‘hood star. In a city like New York where you have to actually be rich JUST to be poor this dude was obviously sick and tired of looking poor. This is the predicament of people who live in and around poverty on the daily. You change your look to alter your outlook on what your chances might be for escaping the impoverished conditions you live in. It won’t always be an Italian sweatsuit from head to toe however. Sometimes it might just be an expensive leather belt and brass buckle.
We learned a few weeks ago about the disenfranchisement by the NYPD of a young Black male with the same aspirations of not looking impoverished who was arrested after the purchase of an expensive Italian leather belt at famed NYC high end retailer Barneys. The young male was accused of fraudin the purchase even after proffering identification to the officers.