Monday, May 9, 2016

Conscious people and fashion

Conscious: aware of and responding to one's surroundings; awake.
                   synonyms: aware, awake, alert, responsive, sentient, compos mentis
                 2. having knowledge of something; aware.

The above definition of conscious is the exact definition I pulled from Google. When I see memes like this, I understand the intent but not everyone who is conscious looks at designer sneakers as being clown shoes. There's a difference between personal preference and being able to afford high end sneakers/clothes. I understand in the black and Latino communities, we tend to put fashion in front of important choices; what's more important to the person?  I get the tactic, by making it a trend to not like Jordan's, Nike's, Red bottoms, Timbs, Polo and etc, it pulls away from the distraction but what are we replacing it with? The reason high end fashion is popular in low income areas is because its synonymous with success; you take that away and what are you left with? Its okay for one to own high end fashion as long as one is not depending on others to survive.

On a show I watch called States of Undress, The host Hailey Gates takes a trip to the Congo. Democratic Republic of Congo, is actually the poorest country on the continent of Africa and the third poorest in the world. On the show, you see the environment is horrid but the people are extravagant, lavish, a tad gaudy but the approach and air is regal. The people of Kinshasa have turned the streets into a run way despite western views and economic down falls. These people I speak of are called the Sapeur people. "The Sapeurs, which stands for the Societe des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes (the Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People), are a band of men who turn the art of dressing into a cultural statement, and abide by a code befitting of the gentlemanly clothes they don so resplendently each morning." These people have made the conscious decision to walk down dirt roads of their town in alligator boots and designer suits while remaining in poverty. 

Among the Sapeurs, there is a Fashion designer by the name of Khaditoza who breaks down the rules of the Sape. "The Sape has to be well dressed, have nice hair, well groomed and smell good. The Congolese, we don't care about much but we care about clothes, clothes are our friends, they come to the grave with us, we'll leave behind our phones, our watches, but we will wear our clothes; you'll lie down and they'll dress you so you can go to the grave."  Another fashion designer by the name of Fanny Mandina said that, "The Congolese women care tremendously about appearance. The Kinois women would rather starve than be badly dressed." I bring this up because that meme I posted at the top, is saying that people who own high end fashion are stupid. Part of one being conscious in coming to the conclusion that people are conscious of the decision they make even though it may not seem wise to you; its what that person finds to be important to them. 

One person may find owning a home, having money for the future is idea for them, yet another may find being well dressed is life. There are a lot of people who make enough money to live in areas that are not poverty stricken but choose to own an expensive car and be able to afford nice clothing. In America, to live in poverty but own the best of the best is asinine; some may find the Sape to be absurd. A lot of  people buying expensive shoes, are turning around and selling them online at a higher price. I can't look at Jordan's or any other high end fashion and think clown shoes especially if I know nothing about the person. I understand wanting to show others that there's more to the world besides clothing, however the person has to come to that point on their own. 

Fashion is something that has been popular for centuries. The conscious Ancient Egyptian people, our God kings adorned the fashion and garments of the time, the gold, the gems, exotic foods and metals, they lived a lavish life. Mansa Musa, the king of Mali enjoyed the same as well. The people who weren't of royalty enjoyed  fashion and trends as well; even if they didn't have much, they still sported something that was fashionable of the time; people took these things to the grave with them. All through out time, man has always cherished or adorned something because fashion is art, art is creativity, and creativity is life. It may not be seen in today's society because we chase the name instead of the product, but we purchased those shoes, jeans, or shirts because we like the cut, choice of fabric or design; its a way of respecting ones creativity. Fashion, if you look closer, goes deeper then what most people think.

I have a post I wrote called "To Replica or not to Replica: That is the real Jordan" that talks about how people who own replica Jordan's look down on those who can't afford the real Jordan's. I almost tie this in because its people telling other people what to do; however buying replica Jordan's is similar to buying a piece of art that wasn't created by the artist yet if the artist were to create a master piece and paint it 100 times after that, it won't be the same as the first by the 2nd one. When you get a chance, check it out. My point is: replicas, spending on high end fashion all of this comes down to the love of the artist and for some its a way of life and they are conscious about it. Its a culture and it makes some people happy, that's why we live life right? If you're coming to my house decked out in a$1,000 dollar outfit but asking me for food, money for your bills, I'll begin to think one is not aware of their lifestyle. Do I think how to manage money should be a course in first grade? Yes. Do I think we can improve the quality of certain neighborhoods? Yes. Where do we start? Where do we begin. Its not fashion; but a better, useful educational system is a start.


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