One of the highlights of ComplexCon weekend each year is the vast number of panels that take place involving some of the biggest names in the culture. This past November, at ComplexCon 2018, a handful of the most important women in streetwear took the stage to discuss the integral roles they have played in the male-dominated space.
Hosted by Miss Info and Complex's own Karizza Sanchez, the panel featured some the most recognizable women designers and personalities: Teyana Taylor; Melody Ehsani; Kristen Noel Crawley, co-owner of RSVP Gallery; Lanie Alabanza-Barcena of HLZBLZ; and Beth Gibbs, who co-owns Union and runs her women's line Bephie. Each woman discussed the evolution of streetwear into the massive entity that it has become today, their roles in the constantly growing community, their contributions being overlooked in many cases, and how they believe women can take more ownership of it moving forward.
"I never wanted to be seen, but I feel like if people don't see you, they almost don't know it exists. I think it's really important, especially being a black woman behind the scenes in streetwear. I think people need to see us or they don't know that it's possible to have your own brand and be a black woman, or a woman," said Gibbs. "And it has opened up to where we can show ourselves and don't have to wait for a big brand or a company to acknowledge our power."
Ehsani, who owns her eponymous line, discussed the impact she feels social media has had on women in the streetwear scene as well. "One of the troubles with social media is because you see so much information so fast that you don't get to cherish things as much. It's created this phenomena where everything has become a prototype. Sometimes I sit out in Fairfax and everybody looks exactly the same. When I was growing up, we made shit. We customized stuff. The whole point was to be different."
Make sure to check out the full Complex Con(versation) above.