STEP FORWARD YOUTH
DOWNLOAD BLACK FASHION by Javii Vol. 1 HERE.
Photographer: Phil Knott.
Stylist: Vincent Oshin.
Written by Whitney Summer.
They’re not trying to sell you anything. Jorge and Dylon aren’t able to coherently articulate the purpose of their site, DBD, or explain why thousands of people check in on them daily. But when I asked them how they collected their three year photo montage of controversial images depicting an underground urban lifestyle of drugs, sex, fashion and parties, Jorge wanted to make one thing very clear.
“We do not reblog people we don’t know personally or know through someone,” Jorge said last week. “Our site is about us, our poppin’ friends and our daily grind.”
“I don’t know what you would call what we’re doing,” he said, “but people like it because we’re real.”
Aside from the ever present narcotics references streamlined throughout their site, a very evident theme of those highlighted is their fashion style. Major fashion labels take a back seat to a more vintage, form-fitted and rugged look. Flannel button-ups are found casually wrapped around the waist.
Jorge, 23, and Dylon, 22, are both known for their similarly styled shoulder length locks, sometimes found tucked under a tattered fitted or skully cap. Their female counterparts are equally as experimental with their fashion, sporting everything from afros, haphazard blonde dye jobs and colorful head wraps.
Whatever you want to call their fashion based lifestyle, however anomalistic, it’s their own. And they unequivocally defend it.
Jorge: Honestly we were mad reluctant, we had never wore a suit in our entire lives. We are not about that life. We like the fact that our shirts are $5.00. But once we put them on, we felt so amazing. Then we thought, we should rock the suits more often.
Dylon: Yea, it was really weird. At first I thought, we’re going to look small in these big clothes. But as the shoot went on, we just started getting into it.
Jorge: You know, I don’t really like wearing loose clothes. When I do, I feel like I am a little too Bedstuy.
Afropunk: What do you mean, too Bedstuy?
Jorge: Not that I have an issue with the area of Bedstuy, it’s just, loose fitting clothes are identified with ghetto and hood things. And we’re not hood. Do you feel like you’re hood, Dylon?
Jorge: Yea, baggy clothes just ain’t our thing.
Afropunk: What happens when you dress the way that you do and venture to areas like Bedstuy?
Jorge: Well, I think people in the hood are confused by our style. Sometimes I will get on the bus and girls will giggle because I’m wearing zebra shoes or leather. By the time it’s my stop, they’re still trying to figure me out. I like to keep people guessing. I do think, though, that black fashion has grown significantly over the years. I think now it’s growing for people to explore themselves more.
Dylon: When I’m in certain areas in my neighborhood, I’m usually the only person dressed like how I am. Yeah, people stare. But it’s cool.
Afropunk: What are some of your top places to shop?
Jorge: Well, department stores European sections are on deck. Street vendors usually guarantee you’re rocking original custom clothes. Online is the best way to get international clothes. Thrift stores; my favorite being Brooklyn Flea on the weekends. And just raiding my friend’s closets.
Afropunk: Most people feel lost and overwhelmed in thrift stores. What’s your secret to finding cool clothes?
Jorge: Whenever I go in to thrift stores, I always look at the stuff that they just brought in and are behind the counter. That’s usually the newest hottest stuff. Sometimes I try the fitting rooms. Some people try on ten things and decide not to buy them. One man’s trash is another’s treasure.
Afropunk: Tell us a little bit about your site, DBD.
Jorge: Well it started three years ago when I posted a picture of a tattoo that I got on my neck of a spliff. Now, we pride my blog for people that I know. I like that we use our blog to promote our friends. I wanted to promote my life, party life, fashion life and drug life. I’m really proud of it and I love it. My friends represent the movement that I’m about.
Afropunk: What’s the movement?
Dylon: The movement is about our friends in New York that formed together based on our shared interest in the arts and fashion. I still don’t know what this movement is called, we’re still working on it. It’s just always going.
Afropunk: So what do you think people think about your online image?
Jorge: I don’t want people thinking that we’re just popping on the internet. We want people to realize that we’re just displaying our daily lives on the internet. You know, even though we’re not going to college to become nurses or accountants, we’re taking a different approach. We are using our time to enjoy life and we document it in the process.
Afropunk: Any designers to note?
Jorge: It’s weird, I’m not into big designers, but we do like anything vintage. You can make something old new and poppin’, which makes it more fun.
Afropunk: Top websites for people to check out?
Jorge: Imtheonlyoneonmystreet.blogspot.com. Larry B is the coolest dread that I don’t know. Johnnysbird.com has some cool fashion as well.
Afropunk: What makes fashion such an integral part of your persona?
Jorge: I’m obsessed with myself and my appearance and I think clothes represent who you are. If I had the money, I know my style could be so much better. I put way more thought into it. Dylon is so much more carefree.
Dylon: I like shopping. It’s cool to go out with your friends and try on and compare clothes.
Jorge: But you know, I think if you are doing what you want to do and if you’re staying true to yourself, you are the most fashionable person in the world.
Afropunk: Outside loves?
Jorge: Honestly, I’m really young and I am throwing myself into New York lifestyle. Head first.
Dylon: I plan to get back into pencil drawing, drafting and painting. I used to draw anime and cartoons and I think it’s chill.