New York City’s streetwear boom in late the 80s-early 90s was a reaction from graffiti dying out as the predominant form of self-expression. In 1992, PNB was one of the pioneering streetwear companies that saw a t-shirt making it across New York as the same aesthetic that bombing a subway car with spray paint that travels from The Bronx to Manhattan every day. PNB or ‘Post No Bills,’ which is common phrase written on any New York City block, that forbids the posting of handbills or any signs on public property.
Earlier this March, PNB celebrated 25 years of the brand’s history by hosting Streetwear: Then and Now; a roundtable discussion featuring Pete Rock, Alan Ket, Zulu Williams, Diego Moscoso, Elena Romero, and Kwasi Kessie. The panel discussed the state of streetwear, hip hop, and how youth culture influences contemporary lifestyle.
Zulu Williams, Co-Founder of PNB Nation spoke about the creation PNB “What motivated PNB’s inception 25 years ago, and what is remembered by those who witnessed and wore it, was simply youth culture, dreaming out loud, and trying to carve a place against the grain. At the core, PNB was anti-establishment, evident in our earliest logo of the upside-down pig. Officially killing the system/”Man”, by marking an X in the pig’s eye, we chose to be playful and cryptic with our messages. The motivation was to provoke thought, layer in concept and shine a light on the culture in a way that wasn’t superficial, simplistic or popular.”
By linking 25 years of different perspectives in streetwear and fashion, conversation brought forth the cultural impact of where street culture comes from, how it impacts contemporary fashion, and where the culture is heading. Listen to the full discussion here.
Part 2 of the Streetwear: Then + Now roundtable discussion has been planned for Tuesday, May 2.