Neon Mamacita

Zoot Suit Riot

September 25, 2013 by annie

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Malcom X once described  Zoot Suits as  “a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats and shoulders padded like a lunatic’s cell.” With a description like that, it is no surprise that on May 30, 1943 Los Angeles exploded with riots.  It is a rare thing for an item of clothing to spawn so much vitriol but an even rarer thing to imagine a suit as a “badge of hoodlinism,” particularly when sleeve tattoos and shredded t-shirts are a mainstream style.

But the Zoot suit riots wasn’t really about clothes, it was about race. It was about the chicanos and pachucos battling the boys who looked like Frank Sinatra; who looked like these boys with their close shaven jaws and pinstripe ties in their streamlined suits by Uncle Sam.

Shaun Hartas for Details Magazine

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