DIRTY $OUTH is a young collective, founded by Nikolina Tomic. Finding their inspiration on the streets of South London, the aptly named brand creates streetwear that hopes to inspire the youth, no matter what ends you come from, to create art and magic, follow their hearts and chase their dreams. DIRTY $OUTH aspires to bring communities together and to open the minds of people to different styles, cultures and music.
Fresh from their first presentation at Paris Fashion week DIRTY $OUTH’s latest collection takes a socio-political stance against gentrification and cultural appropriation. In recent years, due to Grime making its way into the mainstream, many big brands have begun to appropriate South London style; from Nike and Adidas to stores like Topshop the all black attire born out of the streets of Peckham are being sold on Oxford St and beyond. DIRTY $OUTH is a brand that is reclaiming South London culture.
Their small but perfectly formed capsule collection includes modern wardrobe necessities including shirts, jackets, side bags and bullet proof vests?
In an intelligent twist on a current staple of South London garb, the brand has designed a black puffer jacket with the phrase ‘Privileged kids need to stop fetishizing working class culture’. The incendiary statement means they have done what many brands cannot and have created a piece of clothing that literally cannot be appropriated. Wearing something like this would even be a step too far for gold hoop wearing Araminta from W1 to wear to Notting Hill Carnival. They have also created dress shirts embossed with the infamous mugshots of Lil Kim and Tupac. The juxtaposition between $outh’s the slightly smarter aesthetic of the shirt and the candidness of the mugshot makes for a compelling piece that could be worn in an array of situations. Also included in the collection is a bullet proof vest. Arguably less wearable than the rest of the collection it reflects some fashions houses' recent interest in waerable armour. This is another overtly politicized garment given the current rhetoric surrounding gun violence and gun control.
What's great about Dirty $outh is that they practice what they preach. As mentioned, their clothes speak of appropriation and places themselves in opposition to gentrification and importantly their price point reflects this. It is relatively low considering. It's also encouraging to see independent designers who draw inspiration from their own communities start to profit from their creativity, rather than larger corporations. It is living testament to the need for us as consumers to support young British designers and support the cultures, communities and individuals that inspire mainstream creativity.
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