Street fashion has taught me how to sew, paint, dye fabrics, and embroider. But the toughest lesson was negotiating between money and friendship.
In ninth grade, I was introduced to street fashion and sneakerhead culture. After watching two Youtube tutorials on sneaker customization, I started painting some old shoes. I got so good at this that I’m headed to art school–with a merit scholarship– in hopes of turning this into a career.
Within the first year, my sneakers were attracting attention and customers. I had a business! The only problem was all my customers were my classmates–kids who were mostly from the same low-income neighborhoods.
I really wanted to see my art in my community. And I was torn between making money and making my work affordable for my friends. Sometimes, I undersold my work. Other times, I lost a few friends.
My art teacher taught me that in order to set standards for my work, I needed to put my foot down when it comes to prices. This means fewer of my friends can afford to wear my fashions. But I’m honoring my friendships, and my art, as they deserve.