Exclusive Feature: King Scooter Is Re-Imagining the Boundaries of Fashion for Black Men

SCOOTER is one of Kansas City's most prolific & emerging fashion icons. In our exclusive feature he discusses the intricate ways identity changes his style, and what it means to style while Black. The post Exclusive Feature: King Scooter Is Re-Imagining the Boundaries of Fashion for Black Men appeared first on Kansas City Defender.

Exclusive Feature: King Scooter Is Re-Imagining the Boundaries of Fashion for Black Men

Fashion and style are two different things. Fashion is the expression of clothes and the body when looking at a specific time.

Style? Style is what you do when life gives you fashion.

Personhood is, for many people, the fabric of their style. It is the inspiration they get from their day-to-day life that influences how they piece together a look. We wanted the people’s opinion on this topic, and a bit more when it comes to styling while Black.

This week’s feature is Kansas City’s fashion model, artist, and prolific creative; Scooter, a flourishing artist, and inspiration to those around him. Scooter met with The Defender, giving us a glimpse into his style and where it comes from. 

Outside of it being me so out loud, I would just describe it as life experience,” Scooter started. “As I learn more and I grow more, my style just evolves”.

The culture is slowly moving into what many might call a fashion renaissance. Explosions of self-expression, honoring past and present trends and spiraling into much more. Many people credited quarantine, and the confidence others had, for the boost in inspiration. Scooter found his start in thrift stores, between the stitches of the clothes he would take apart and put back together. 

I would say I really started kinda experimenting with my style like middle school, like straight out the thrift store,” He said. The love for creating something new, or altering it speaks loudly.

There is metaphor in being able to take an old thing and make it yours. Having the skill to look at what something is, turn it into what it could be, and make it a part of you is bold.

That character trait and having a good friend carried Scooter through middle school. We both commented on how having friends who dressed like us was so important. It was about a community, no matter how small. 

I had one friend in middle school, who lived on my block and we would go to the thrift store and the morning of the next day we would check in with each other.”

Checking in, and reminding each other that it’s about them feeling good about what they chose. For years there has been a call from Black youth to foster acceptance in the homes of Black families. How we dress is a big part of ourselves, and feeling safe in who we are starts with where we are. The voices of those around us forever shape how we think of ourselves, however, Scooter thinks the most important voice is our own.

Always have that internal best friend. Like we have to be our own best supporter,” he said. People often underestimate the art of not caring about other people’s opinions. A mentality made to cater to the wants of other people won’t get you far in the journey to happiness.

If style is self-expression, clothing yourself in the opinions of others isn’t style, it’s fashion. Fashion is the trend, style is the person. Sometimes they co-exist, and sometimes you have to make it what you need it to be. 

Making what you need is a key part of his creative process, from experimenting with silhouettes to crafting different patterns. For Scooter, the men’s section just isn’t it. There is no space for creativity in the average department store, and to him, men’s fashion remains static.

Black men aren’t allowed the space to explore fashion without being subject to questioned masculinity, as if the color pink robs them of their manhood. Thinking about cover stories like Jonathan Major’s Valentine’s day shoot, we can’t help but agree that the box around Black men’s fashion grows smaller every day. 

In a call to action, Scooter said this: 

Give black men permission to be vulnerable in fashion. Make it normal for black men to be people. Be out loud.

As far as being secure in himself and his Black identity, Scooter seems to have it on lock. “I don’t put on my white persona. This is what Black looks like. I never wanna shy away from that,” He says. Critique from non-Black people on the clothes we create is not a new phenomenon. However, support from the people, for the people, seems to be in high demand. To meet consumer needs, Black people around the world have been working to curate spaces for Black people to exist. Out loud. 

When a steady rise in public demonstrations placed the Black community at the forefront of the world’s state, the spotlight couldn’t have come at a better time. In the fashion world, light is always used to accentuate the details. For the Black fashion community, this looked like taking a page from the Panther’s book. From assisting in protest clothes do’s and don’t, to a surge in appreciation for Black style’s that were usually derogatorily used to describe our style. 

As we talked about the protests and politicians, appreciation for the arts, and inclusion, Scooter touched on the progress we’ve made. We’ve created opportunities for Black Americans in fashion, and upheld the styles left by trailblazers before us. 

There’s so much beauty within the voice we have right now,” He began. “There always has to be a conversation at the end. It’s become easy to avoid spaces that mock because there are now spaces for that.”

When Black styles are allowed to breathe and take up space on the bodies they inhabit, we acknowledge the intersectionality between the works of all Black people.

Thank you to our feature for having this conversation with us, and for continuing to push for the right to personhood in the Black community, and the fashion world at large.

The post Exclusive Feature: King Scooter Is Re-Imagining the Boundaries of Fashion for Black Men appeared first on Kansas City Defender.