“Streetwear” is dead Round Two sign closed
CULTURE Published: June 2, 2020 Updated: June 8, 2020  |  WORDS: Eshwaran Subramaniam

Streetwear stores not spared in the looting all around the US

Streetwear stores like The Hundreds, Supreme, Flight Club, and Round Two were looted as protests broke out around cities in the US.

“Streetwear” is dead Virgil Abloh Instagram Story left shoe

The looted streetwear stores took to social media to react to the devastation of their businesses, and to speak about the situation in the US at large.

Social action to various degrees have come into full force since the death of African-American George Floyd – the result of a police officer placing his knee against the back of Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes as he was being detained face-down. As detailed in an independent autopsy, Floyd died of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” on his neck and back. The incident in Minnesota swiftly set in motion a wave of Black Lives Matter protests in cities around the US.

 

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Let’s all be part of the change. ⠀ ⠀ #UntilWeAllWin

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While the protests were underway, looters took the opportunity to break into stores. Many of them are streetwear stores we know and love, including the likes of Supreme, The Hundreds, Round Two, Nike, Undefeated.

 

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Round Two, one of the hardest hit, took to Instagram to show photos of the abysmal state looters left its store in. Most of the shelves had been emptied and stocks from the backroom had been stolen. Nonetheless, the store also shared a post affirming its support for the Black Lives Matter protests.

 

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Virgil Abloh took to Instagram to express rage at the destruction of Round Two store, reaffirming his belief that “streetwear” is dead. He made it a point to distinguish between “streetwear” and streetwear culture, claiming that in “streetwear” people don’t value the stories, bonds, and respect that exist between brands and consumers – it’s made of individuals who see streetwear as a commodity and to get what they want at all costs.

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Later, he published a follow-up post to apologize that it seemed he was more concerned about the stores than the protesters and lives lost. In a seven-paged Instagram post, he explained that he has been on the receiving end of racism – that “39 years of my life can be reduced in a 1 second radio call to the police” – and also detailed how he was intending to contribute to the cause both monetarily and in other ways.

 

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The Hundreds creator Bobby Hundreds openly declared that – in all-caps – “even if you bring the fire to my doorstep, I will stand in it with you.” In that same Instagram post, he reaffirmed the need for protests, but made it a point to differentiate between that and rioting and looting. He poignantly acknowledged that it’s no surprise the first places to get looted were stores, where people made off with Bearbricks and sneakers, considering “these kids” are fed “bullshit all day”.

 

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I grew up here. We found our community here. We established our brand here. So, this is emotionally very difficult to watch and process. But, I am not angry about the devastation. When commenters ask how I can condone rioting and looting, I categorically do not. Yet, I am not surprised. When people ask why I’m not upset that my business is impacted or my neighborhood pillaged, I tell them that my disgust over injustices in this country eclipses any other temporary feeling. Don’t ever stop protesting (I never said “rioting” or “looting”). Dissent is a bona fide American act. Use your voice – people died for that right. Stand up for yourself and others. EVEN IF YOU BRING THE FIRE TO MY DOORSTEP, I WILL STAND IN IT WITH YOU // And this: is anyone truly surprised that 2020 looters would not set fires or rob banks, instead opting to steal Bearbricks and sneakers? We feed these kids this bullshit all day. Convince them they need things they don’t, that they are not enough without a brand on their back. We TAUGHT THEM to value hoodies above their relationships, their financial education, their careers. So, where will they run first in the night? It’s not the bookstores. // (Disclaimer: First, I don’t speak for all shop owners. This is my personal opinion and perspective. Second, I am aware that my shop is not my entire livelihood. Third, I have turned off Comments, not because I’m unwilling to debate, but because I’m tired of cowards who log into alias accounts to jab. You guys are fucking annoying) // ? @chateau.moses

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All in all, it has been a grim couple of days. But through this chaos, the voices of the unheard are finally surfacing. Black lives do matter and the world needs to do better.

 Feature image: Instagram/ @sean_wotherspoon
Article image: Instagram/ @virgilabloh

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