As Rod Stanley of Dazed and Confused explains, the Smarteez are “too young to really remember the struggle for apartheid, they’re less politicised and claim that their ‘struggle’ is now one against blandness and conformity – to them, it’s all about partying, self-expression and challenging stereotypes.”
In a similar vein to the Sapeurs of the Congo, The Smarteez (or Smarties) is a style subculture made up of young South Africans. Dazed & Confused refers to members interviewed for this article as “young designers from a DIY fashion crew.” Just like Tamagni’s photographs of the Sapeurs, the juxtaposition between the Smarteez and their surroundings in these photographs is striking. They are practically allegorical …
What I find most compelling and relevant to my research/artistic practice is way that the Smarteez, like all style subcultures, use fashion as a tool for self-expression and to challenge stereotypes. In essence, that’s what this project is really about – challenging portrayals of the black subject in fashion-related media and documenting the progression of black style today.
I don’t have access to the full article but this video has interviews with members of the Smarteez. Check out this article written by Susie Bubble on her blog Style Bubble.
The Smarteez were recently featured on The Sartorialist.
Once AGAIN, I can’t help but think of the boys of Street Etiquette!
See more photos at Style Bubble.