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Today is:
Does Your Label Define You?
By Courtney Williams

When it comes to our favorite attire, many of us can describe our style, the brands of clothing we prefer and why.

Given this I dare to venture down a path to better understand why we chose the brands we do.

Undoubtedly hip-hop heavily influences the urban dress attire and has been doing so since its birth in the late 1970’s.

Back in the day when everything was “All so simple,” people wore suede pumas with the matching tracksuit and a furry Kangol. Respectively it was the same with Adidas. Now things have gotten a little bit more complicated and interesting.

As the 1990’s came under way several hip-hop icons began to introduce their own clothing lines. Such icons were Russell Simmons, who introduced Phat Farm in 1995. Following his precedence was Jay-Z with Rocawear, and Sean Combs with Sean John.

Other persons who have influenced hip-hop culture have introduced clothing lines, however these are the individuals who somewhat revolutionized the clothing industry due to the impact that their designs and ingenuity had on the public.

In 2004 we can expect to see much more from these fashion lords. Over the years designers “came and went” out of the urban arena. In the mid 1990’s you could find somebody on every street corner, in every classroom, or on public transportation sporting a plaid or solid button down.

The professional look seems to have been abandoned, and hoodies have replaced the button downs, the polos, and the rugby’s. Sometimes I feel that my outfit is incomplete without a hoodie of some kind that is accompanied by a matching hat.

One thing I have learned to do is to dress for the occasion. We all know what this means; therefore it does not need further explanation.

Everybody has their reasons for wearing the labels they do, for instance I wear the labels of hip-hop icons because it’s fashionable, at times affordable, and to prove false the misconceptions of the people who do wear the clothes.

Moreover, subconsciously I assume that my money is going back into the community by making my purchase. Although there may or may not be truth to that theory, I seem to think there is. One label that I cannot seem to associate myself with is that of State Property, manufactured by Rocawear.

When I think about State Property I think of prison inmates, people that will never see the streets again because they belong to the state.

State Property is fashionably loud, however the name sticks out and that is why people are attracted to it. In addition the concealed pockets are persuasive.

A few generations ago as African Americans were born we became State Property. The irony of it all is that people are naïve about wearing the label. If they only knew the seriousness of the matter they may look at their actions from new perspective.

Regardless of my thoughts on the clothing line it has been successful. Beanie Siegal, head of the State Property clique, which is composed of himself the Young Guns, Oschino& Sparks, and Peedi Crakk, introduced the line.

Since “Beans” is so well known and respected in both Philly and the international hip hop community it is evitable that his clothing line would have been successful based on his credibility alone.

With that in mind, why would anybody want their people to bear the label of being State Property?

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Does Your Label Define You?

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