A LIFE OF ASPIRATION ON THE STREETS OF 1980s NEW YORK CITY
LO LIFE: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC takes the reader on a trip to New York City in the early 80s - a time when crime and violence ran the streets. The famed street gang, The Lo-Lifes, emerged from this tumultuous time.
Formed by crews of teenagers from the Brownsville and Crown Heights neighbourhoods of Brooklyn, they made a name for themselves by dressing head-to-toe in highly coveted Ralph Lauren clothing or 'Lo.' Polo apparel - and other preppy 80s fashion brands like Guess, Nautica and Benetton - presented an aspirational lifestyle for these kids from rough neighbourhoods just struggling to get by. Fighting for style and survival, the Lo-Lifes targeted these brands, and would acquire them by any means necessary - including stick-ups, shoplifting and hustling. A reign of terror ensued, when your new winter coat could make you the target for a robbery or worse.
What started as an informal gang uniform, organised around clean designs and bright colours, became a devotion to a lifestyle brand, and eventually created an association between the streets and luxury that would fundamentally change the foundation of the fashion industry.
LO-LIFE: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC documents the personal collections of archival Polo apparel and never-before-seen vintage photographs amassed by the crew. And through countless interviews with original members, as well as individuals from the worlds of fashion, hip-hop and art, presents the first comprehensive oral history of this notorious New York collective. It tells the remarkable story of how a small group of teenagers fighting to make a name for themselves eventually made themselves seen, heard and emulated globally.