Streetwear has certainly gone places since its acceptance into mainstream fashion. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that things have veered far from the origins of the subculture and its looks. Baggy has gone skin tight, then back to baggy (sort of) boxy to elongated, adoptions of other subcultural notes, and in some cases, straight up bizarre. To help us find our grip on where American streetwear once was, designer Jackson Blount, a Brooklyn native, has published an archive of visuals that highlights New York City’s Lo-Life crew, a collection of kids that would rock designer gear as a means of flexing on the street during the city’s turmoil ’80s.
While predominantly Ralph Lauren and its synonymous Polo, the Lo-Life kids would often bring on other labels like Guess, Nautica and Benneton. As the books publisher powerHouse books puts it, “Formed by crews of teenagers from the Brownsville and Crown Heights neighborhoods of Brooklyn, they made a name for themselves by dressing head-to-toe in highly coveted Ralph Lauren clothing or “Lo.” Polo apparel.” The publication serves as a serious blast from the past for anyone familiar with that time and place in streetwear history, and for those who unfamiliar, it’s the perfect eye opener to how and why you’re rocking high-end brands together with your Air Force 1s and sweats.
Jackson Blount’s Lo Life: An American Classic “documents the personal collections of archival Polo apparel and never-before-seen vintage photographs amassed by the crew,” and as mentioned, will give an unpresidented glimpse at niche that paved the way for what can be considered near mainstream fashion. The book is currently available, and can be found for only $35 USD on powerHouse book’s online shop.