Ever since I could remember I was obsessed with luxury. As a kid, I idolized rappers draped in their custom Gucci Dapper Dan suits. Like most I found out what was dope by checking the streets and watching music videos, and that's how I wanted to dress. But I was too young and NY was too hot. I couldn't even wear my shearling without a personal escort (a.k.a my mom), so it was Osh Kosh, Levi, and Lotto’s for me.
Growing up in Harlem my shopping radius was limited to say the least. If it wasn't on 125th street or downtown on 34th street then it wasn't in my closet. This was cool though because everything I needed I could get on "Two-Fifth", including my first knock-off gear. What did I know about real versus faux? All I knew was that "Louis Vuitton" bag and that "Gucci" watch looked just like the ones I'd seen on my favorite rappers and for a measly $25 bucks could be all mines.
My love of luxury returned with a vengeance in my senior year of high school, with me scouring stores like Century 21 for deeply discounted designer wares. This was also around the time when I first discovered Canal Street. Hidden in between the jewelry stores and t-shirt shops were vendors selling piles and piles of "Gucci, Fendi, Louis, Coach" goods. Who would know that my bag was faux? And I wasn't alone; people came from all over for fashion at a fraction of the cost. Of course maybe that G was a bit askew, or that Prada plate would fall off after a few wears but who cared, right? Even when I started adding actual designer pieces to my collection I would still venture downtown for a bag here and there.