September 18 , 2019

The Boogie Down Brigade: Celebrating Bronx Fashion Superheroes

By Mikaila Brown

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 1.17.14 PM.png

New York Fashion Week officially wrapped up on Sept. 14. But on the streets of the Big Apple, the fashion show never really stops. In that spirit, the Common Thread Project, the creation of fashion anthropologist Mikaila Brown, has published a comic book-style celebration of what she calls The Boogie Down Brigade. In panel after panel, she spotlights the latest generation of fashionista superheroes shaped by, and shaping, the look and vibe of the borough that brought the world hip-hop: The Bronx. Here’s a sample of that work.


Local heroes like Amaurys the Ambassador have a plan to win the support of the people. His weapon of choice is his fashion line, The Bronx Native. His bullets are iconic Bronx-specific-imagery, like Cardi B’s sassiness and bodacious bodegas.


Jessica the Influencer is using Instagram to embolden women in the Bronx and around the world. She wields her significant social media influence to slayyyyyyyy insecurity and self-doubt.


For the Bronx, it is a period of rebuilding (which is not code for gentrifying). Locals are tapping into the ingenuity that spawned hip-hop and using the arts and fashion to reclaim the street cred that the Bronx is due. They are celebrating a new era when people will finally realize the dopeness that is the Bronx.


No challenge is too great for the Boogie Down Brigade. They’re here to put the Bx on the map. They’re here to show that the innovativeness that spawned the greatest music movement the world has ever seen is still alive and ready to take over.

Illustrations By: Mikaila Brown

Mikaila Brown is a fashion anthropologist and frequent lecturer at Cornell University and the City University of New York Graduate Center who has worked with non-profit organizations locally and internationally, and also with fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta, Pamela Roland, and Betsey Johnson. Her investigation of style trends in underrepresented fashion communities led to the creation of the Common Thread Project, which looks at how communities use style choices to communicate who they are and what they value.