‘South LA Was Much More Than A Struggle For Me…’

Story submitted by Ernesto Villasenor
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‘Having been born and raised in a low-income, inner city community in South LA was much more than a struggle for me, a struggle that I continue to battle even with the privileges that I fought to acquire over the years. I knew ever since I was a kid that baggie pants and shirts were not going to open the doors that I aspired to walk, and at times, become the architect of, so I began to shape the style that best fitted my perseverance, accomplishments, persona, and grit.

It all began in my pre-teens, when I became a part of the Distinguished Gentlemen at my middle school in Compton, California. What shirt and tie seemed to the other kids as an obligation, I saw it as a way of using these “garments of war” as a means of overcoming the stigma that plagues my community and youth. It grew from there, and rather than to follow trends in fashion, I’ve developed my own to reflect the simplicity it had on the eyes as well as the complexity behind the articulation of who I am and who I am destined to be.

My attire not only reflects my taste in fashion: it is also a reflection that regardless of who we are, where we come from, and what we aspire to be, we are capable of overcoming that which comes through our destiny.’

Daily Fashion Illustration Ernesto Villasenor