Thee Teen-Aged! founder Alyasha Owerka-Moore partnered with Union‘s Chris Gibbs on “Trust the Process,” a limited-edition collection that examines Black youth culture of the ’60s while reimagining traditional notions of Americana. The pair goes way back, having met in the early ’90s while Gibbs was working on the launch of Phat Farm.
Tony Bang, who produced the campaign visuals, says, “As black men born in the ’70s in the wake of race riots across Watts and Detroit and who entered the workforce as corporations and culture grappled over the idea of ‘urban’ in the ’90s, Gibbs and Owerka-Moore brought their respective journeys full circle.”
The name is a play on the lye-induced “conk” hairstyles worn by Black blues singers back in the day. Shot in Los Angeles, the black and white images capture the angst of inner city youth, both past and present. Pieces range from casual sportswear and classic denim to lightweight tees. Here, Bang sheds light on creating the artwork for this labor of love.
The Collection Name:
“Trust The Process- The Angry Voices of Watts.”
“‘Greaser Style’ of Black youth in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.”
“To create a collection that reclaims visual languages and style choices that were stripped from the Black American narrative. To reexamine what mainstream culture has long referred to as ‘rock n roll’ (originally, a blues euphemism for sex) or ‘greaser style,’ concepts invented by black youth in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.”
The Creative Process:
“‘Trust the Process’ was initially the title of a zine featuring poetry by The Teen-Aged! founder Alyasha Owerka-Moore’s father juxtaposed with images of iconic black musicians who had processed (or conked) hair. This was Owerka-Moore’s response to accusations about his own hair that conflated him with legendary blues artist Muddy Waters as examples of black men whose work and identity were rendered less culturally significant – and, ultimately, ‘less black’- because of their grooming choices.”
Creative Director : Alyasha Owerka-Moore
Director, DP and Videographer: Connor Wyse
Producer: Tony Bang
Photographer: Dennis McGrath
Wardrobe Stylist: Van Van Alonso
Hair Stylist: Nikki Fox
“Americana is a loaded idea. For many of us, it is impossible to dissociate cuffed jeans, tapered khakis, flannels and slicked hair with this country’s heritage of racism, erasure, and co-opting of black culture. ‘Trust The Process’ confronts this legacy head on.”
Visit thee-teen-aged.com to shop the collection.