Fashion bloggers talk to students about "Street Etiquette"

Bloggers Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi discuss life in the New York City music and fashion business.

The creators behind the highly praised men’s fashion blog “Street Etiquette” were once attacked by two strangers while walking on the street because of the way they were dressed.

“I got my tooth knocked out and I had to get a fake one,” said co-creator Travis Gumbs, laughing. “But I still got my smile, so it’s all good.”

That resilient attitude has been developed through years of facing occasional disparagement for having a strong interest in fashion as two young black men.

“Sometimes, we think ‘Is this all worth it?’” co-creator Joshua Kissi said. “But if we won’t do it, nobody else would. We inspire a whole group of people, so if we stopped, then people would be cut off from inspiration. Not saying we’re that important, but you just have to recognize your role.”

On April 19, Kissi and Gumbs spoke in Schine Student Center about how they started blogging, life in the South Bronx with their creatively-inclined friends, and their treatment of fashion as an art form.  “Street Etiquette” has garnered a loyal readership and been featured in men’s fashion mainstays like GQ and Complex magazines. They were invited by Fashion’s Conscience, a campus organization that aims to increase awareness for underrepresented minority groups in the fashion industry.

About 30 people were in attendance, wCrehich made for an intimate and informal setting. Two students conducted a conversation with Kissi and Gumbs, who also showed a couple of videos from their website. One called “Sartorial Sounds” featured the two with their friends in a studio, reciting poetry and making music together, all while being impeccably attired.

“We started at nine o’clock and went to two in the morning. We have hours and hours of footage of us just wildin’ out,” said Kissi. “Nothing was planned. We just said, 'Let’s do this song and at the same time have fun and inspire each other.'”

Someone in the audience asked what their other sources of inspiration were.

“Everything,” said Gumbs. “A lot of people try to nitpick at what they’re inspired by, but I can see something random – like a curtain – it’s not really intentional. My mind is always open.”

Kissi agreed, while also citing his personal background from Ghana, West Africa. “All of this jewelry I’m wearing, this is all a part of my history," Kissi said. "I’m remembering that.”

Joshua Lee, a sophomore communications and rhetorical studies and sociology major, has been avidly following their blog for over a year and was thrilled with their visit.

“I look at them as leaders in the men’s game in ethnic fashion. Others can’t really compare,” said Lee. “Because of their life experiences, they dress with a lot of substance along with their flair.”

De’Marcus Woods, a junior social work major and Fashion’s Conscience member, was equally pleased with the event.

“I loved the energy and the atmosphere in the room,” Woods said. “Sometimes these talks can be so formal and stiff but everyone felt comfortable raising their hands here. [Kissi and Gumbs] are our ages too, so they were very cool and relaxed.”

Woods said that the duo’s message of positivity and embracing the freedom to dress how you want was encouraging for not only people of color, but anyone interested in the world of fashion.

“Honestly on campus, dudes just don’t have style,” Woods said. “So Street Etiquette is a really great outlet to have…they’re reaching out a hand to help us so we can get our voice out there.” 

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.