Bamboo earrings, spray painted tees, fancy braiding styles, and even our bodies. Each and every one of the items I’ve listed is frowned upon and considered “ghetto” by the very society that profits from it. We have seen this a thousand times, a good sis of ours would make a hot new trend and the Kardashians/Jenners would snatch it right up… Voila, it’s the ‘new wave!’
In 2013, Nareasha Willis said she has had enough! If you haven’t scrolled pass her work by now, she is the creator of the “Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable” and “Black Vogue” apparel. A pivotal moment for this designer was when fashionista Melody Trend was spotted at fashion week with the infamous “Ghetto Until Proven Fashionable” hoodie in black that had everyone going crazy (I been up on the game though)!
“I just told my friend that I didn’t believe Black Vogue would ever be featured in Vogue magazine because it was too controversial”–Nareasha Willis
She. Thought. Wrong. Fashion thrives off of controversy and breaking boundaries. What’s a better way to turn heads than to call out the HEADS of the industry themselves? Let’s be honest.
It all started with representation. Not seeing enough black women whether it’s in fashion magazines or the fashion industry overall. Women want to feel beautiful, period. If the media outlets and society aren’t generating an empowering message to women (of all ages, body types, ethnicities, and walks of life) then we can’t relate to what is being advertised due to unbalanced scales.
“I constantly mention the projects or the ghetto… I’m not using it as a crutch or a sympathy story, this is where I’m from… If it wasn’t for me living in the projects, I wouldn’t be as comfortable as I am with myself.” – Nareasha Willis
I can definitely relate to her on that one. Being from the south side of Chicago has created an environment not just me, but for girls all over the city who aren’t afraid to try new things and be expressive through personal style. When we say ‘black girls rock’ it’s because we know that we are at the forefront of trendsetting, and being “ghetto” really means being creative (according to the Avenue N owner).
“With three defining principles in mind — encouraging diversity in fashion, promoting black accomplishments and ideas, and supporting other black fashion hopefuls — she set out to create a brand that stylishly and courageously addressed major social issues.” – Teen Vogue
Personally, I think its dope to see a black fashion designer make such a strong statement! The way we look, the way we act, the way we dress, are all things that we are taught to be ashamed of; but somehow it always shows up on the runway. Too often black designers get caught up in making clothing for the culture, but never really call anyone out for stealing it, which can be very transparent in times like this.
“Even if it makes them uncomfortable because more importantly, it can create a conversation, which is needed today.” –Nareasha Willis
If you’d like to get to know this black diva, follow her on Instagram @avenue_n