The Best Street Style of Afro Punk 2016
The VMAs might have dominated pop culture last night, but one of the year’s most important events in real music and style happened during the day at the Afro Punk festival in Brooklyn.
Photographer Remi Riordan was on hand to capture the most stylish young things at Afro Punk. Here are the X style icons in the making she discovered at the festival.
Sumayah Ansari, 19, full-time student for now
Style icon: Solange
How would you describe your personal style? I would describe my personal style as different and fun.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? The Afro Punk movement means a lot to me because it allows people to express themselves with having so much support behind them. It’s such an amazing experience! Each year brings a different feel.
What sticks out to you about this year? My favorite thing about Afro Punk 2016 is the company of so many wonderful people with such great vibes. I love seeing the outfits people put together.
Connie Chen, 23, digital marketing at Red Bull
Style icon: Isabella Blow
How would you describe your personal style? I would describe my personal style as erratic, unpredictable, and irreverent.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? Afro Punk to me means positivity, inclusion, and strength in numbers.
Brittany Allen, 21, works at Urban Outfitters
Style icon: No style icon really. I definitely draw inspiration from all over, usually people/places/things I see in passing.
Describe your style. I think my whole vibe is about balance. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. I try to define femininity for myself.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? Afro Punk for me is all about individuality, but also unity! I guess I’m obsessed with balance. Celebrating our differences, but also celebrating each other. It’s about loving your blackness even though it might be different than mine.
Akua Shabaka, 18, entrepreneur/designer
Style icon: Solange
Describe your personal style. This was a word I came up with when I was 14/15 (way before I knew of Afro Punk) called “Afro grunge.” My style consist of cultural adornment and aesthetic with an edge.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? I think AfroPunk movement is important because of how it caters to the black diaspora and everything that encompasses, whether it’s fashion, cultural, way of thought, music, attitude. We need something like this that embraces us.
Imani Shannelle, 17
Style icon: Pharrell
Describe your personal style. My style is really what style entails. My personal style is a style I was simply born with.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? The Afro Punk movement is honestly one of the biggest “who’s got the better outfit on” fest. I love it because black people such as myself get dressed due to our natural style.
Stephanie, 28, freelancer
Style icon: Kate Moss
How would you define your style? Minimalist, contemporary, relaxed, effortless.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? It means a platform and movement that continuously pushes the boundaries of music and fashion as art. A movement comparable to early hip hop.
Manisha Mai-Lee Wong, 20, student of the universe
Style icon: Sade (and Audrey Hepburn)
How do you define your personal style? This is always a hard question, honestly I don’t even have a description. I just feel like my style is dressing however I feel depending on what’s inspiring me at the moment.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? As cliche as it sounds, AfroPunk truly means freedom, coming as you are unashamed and unafraid. It’s just positive vibes, and we need more of that amidst everything transpiring in the world.
CJ, 19, singer, dancer, actor, DJ
Style icon: Solange, Destinys Child circa early 2000s
Describe your personal style. My personal style is 90s back up dancer/Lil Kim hypegirl.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? Afro Punk is a special place for people of all colors, shapes, and sizes to collaborate and generally fuck with each other.
Ashley Sanchez, 22, sociology student/marketing intern
Style icon: Eccentric old ladies and vibrant skaters.
Describe your personal style. A mixture of loud vintage DIY pieces and cliche pieces (a lot of t-shirts) designed by the youth.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? I believe this movement is a stream of consciousness empowered and supported by so many artists. Where your political identification is no longer belittled but instead celebrated.
Effy Kawira, 22, model
Style icon: Solange Knowles, she’s amazing.
Describe your personal style. I would describe my personal style as a compliment of extenuating and exaggeration, if need be.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? It’s my first year here. I’ve never been in an environment with so much soul. Its beautiful!
Eka Eyoh, 23, model
Style icon: Solange Knowles
Describe your personal style. Cozy, but street.
What’s Afro Punk mean to you? An open space where individuals can collectively embrace and express their true selves.
Esther Ukwigize, 19, intern/student
Style icon: Lady Gaga
Describe your personal style. My personal style is very grunge, chic, sexy, and sometimes tomboyish all combined in one. It’s very expressive with all different kinds of cultures and artistic.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? The Afro Punk movement means expression to me. This movement gives individual the chance to come out in there most creative way without any judgment and vibe. It gives a safe space to all individuals to enjoy music, art, and other people who are just like them.
Tenzin, 15, student
Style icons: Prince or A$AP Rocky. I idolize Prince’s style although I could never pull it off. Whereas A$AP Rocky’s style seems a little bit easier to pull off, while still ahead of the game.
Describe your personal style.I think that I have a style that sort of combines other people’s styles and kind of makes it my own somehow.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? Afro Punk to me is a movement meant to help people believe that that are much stronger than people putting them down because of certain differences such as the color of their skin, how they look, or their sexual preference. It’s a movement of empowerment to make people feel great about themselves.
Cree B. McClellan, 17, student/editorial intern for Afro Punk
Style icons: Princess Nokia and Rihanna
Describe your personal style. I’d describe my personal style as just like me — basically doing whatever the fuck it wants. It’s definitely a unique mixture of era and culture. Like I’ll wear a full on kimono one day and a graffitied track suit the next.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? To me Afro Punk means being unapologetically heard. It’s a movement that accepts all walks of life, but aims to highlight those cultures both ostracized and misunderstood.
Kaira, 16, student
Style icons: Paloma Elsesser and Emily Oberg.
Describe your style. My style is very laid back, comfy, relaxed, sometimes I can be a little tomboy but I keep it fresh and simple.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? When I come to this festival I see so much culture and free spirited people. This movement is so open minded with no judgement which is why I love it. There’s not a care in the world of what you do, who you are or where you come from. The only thing that matter is that you’re here and supporting. My favorite thing about Afro Punk is spending time with all of these people around me enjoying what we all love and what we do.
Siddisse, 20, student
Style icons: Aino Jawo, Bootychaaain, Sarah Nicole Francois, Rian Phin
Describe your personal style. Simplistic, and statement oriented? I like to mix basic and simple pieces to create a certain a look. So if I’m wearing a statement piece I like to let it shine and let everything else complement it.
What does Afro Punk mean to you? Afro Punk means so much to me. It means celebrating being black, creative, proud and carefree. It means safety in your body, identity, presentation, and existence. It represents black creativity and richness of our many diverse cultures. What I’ve seen is that it means not only is black beautiful, but we the essence of culture, creativity, and creation. My favorite thing this year was definitely seeing Angel Haze play live. She’s so talented and she means the world to me. Also, moshing at Tyler The Creator and seeing Kelela kill it!