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Winning article for the week ending 7 February

Streetwear and The Fight Against Crime

London has seen an ever changing culture in street fashion over the past decade. With a massive interest in street footwear, and new trends in recent years pushing new designer labels such as Corteiz (newly founded by creative director Clint), London is seeing changes in the street fashion community that are switching focus from youth influenced aesthetic appeal to political messages within the clothing.

A primary example of this is seen in the typical stab vest. London is burdened and riddled with stabbings, attacks and rise in violent crime. Symbolic and political, artists and influencers have joined the trend of boasting stab vests, such as Stormzy at his 2019 Glastonbury Festival headlining performance, and Dave during his Psychodrama shows in O2 Academy Brixton last summer.

Although these vests have now caught the eye of brands and are a part of youth streetwear in London, the message conveyed goes further than merely a physical appeal. These vests are a reflection of the problems that London and the UK faces; with stabbings occurring daily, and the numerous lives of young people lost, the vests are a cry for help and a portrayal of the lack of defence and security that many Londoners experience.

Such symbolism is not only a message to the average person that witnesses but rather a flag and indicator of the problems that modern London has, drawing in factors of austerity, crime, and lack of investment in security and ways to go about knives.

Undoubtedly, fashion statements and political symbolism can only provide a certain level of awareness, and further tangible change is required in order to truly make a difference. This is provided by larger organisations and charities such as the JAGS foundation established in 2010 after the brutal murder of James Ford in 2007. Such charities are paramount in providing the education and awareness for young people that the government lacks.

Despite the efforts made by the government, authority and cultural influence made through streetwear and art, young people continue to die needlessly, and the capital can only progress with greater change that is yet to start.

Article written by Derin Burke, click here to read it on our newspapers.

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