Thursday, January 18, 2007

Urban Girl Where Art Thou?

As I sat in Recon, an uber-trendy sneaker store on Lafayette Street, waiting for my boyfriend to pick out a new pair of kicks, I noticed I wasn’t the only forlorn girlfriend abandoned for Air Force Ones. I was in fact surrounded by a handful of chic chicks waiting for their male counterparts as they scrolled through their blackberries, reapplied lip-gloss and looked idly out the window. None seemed to notice the shelf of girls’ baby tees or feminine footwear screaming to be seen but woefully ignored.

I wondered, who buys that stuff? Indeed, beyond this boutique, there seems to be an entire industry marketing to a streetwise urban girl who knows the difference between Billionaire Boys Club and Bathing Ape- but I have yet to meet her. And the handful of ladies who do know the aforementioned subtleties aren’t wearing sweats. Like the girls around me, these PYTs are an eclectic mix of cool and couture. One part vintage, one part designer and all part fashion forward, they appreciate the smell of fresh Air Max 97s but opt for their Louboutins. And do you blame them?

For some reason the cult status of a sneaker or T-shirt loses its covetable charm when it crosses the gender line. Perhaps we just have expensive taste? Perhaps we love our brothers and boyfriends but don’t necessarily want to dress like them? Or perhaps we’re just slow on the take.

Kid Robot will launch a women’s clothing line in Barneys this spring and apparently skater thug-chic is all the rage in Tokyo. No doubt the Japanese are always the first for anything. But the trend still feels a long way off. Perhaps we need a muse, a true icon that will pave the way to make these chic sweats au courant. Kelis anyone?

The truth is, history has shown men’s street trends have always begot a similar feminine likeness, but one entirely different than the original. Run DMC had TLC, Nirvana had Hole and Pharell has … The running theme is the girls made it their own. Perhaps the execs that are churning out hoodie after hoodie should realize a key point. Girls will always be girls, and will want to dress like it too. Pre-shrinking, cropping or pinkifying is just not going to cut it.

Final Word: I guess the rest of us will have to wait until Nas' missus reveals her own namesake line of frilly fancies with street cred- until then, I’ll stick to my lip-gloss and Louboutins.

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