Back Issue__ Leaders of the Pack: The Leading Ladies of Streetwear Unveiled

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illustrations by: Gillian Damborg

Playing poker requires finesse, restraint, foresight, and, in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, knowing when to hold em, fold em, and precisely when to walk away. Considering that, this month's cover ladies are veritable card sharks. They bet on themselves, went all in, and came out on top of the deck.

Streetwear—if that’s what you want to call it, as many in the industry are beginning to disassociate themselves from the term—has exploded in the last five years. Brands that emerged out of tiny studio apartments with a few graphic tees are now multifaceted businesses—their gear reaching bare backs around the world. The men’s game exploded quickly but the women’s side of the industry was slower to realize. Initially neglected, ladies were left with the option of buying men’s tees and sneakers in small sizes and lacked an established community to call their own. Then suddenly, women’s brands started popping up, carving a place for women in streetwear.

Granted, today there are still more men’s brands, but the female labels represent the best of the best. As Leah from Married to the Mob says, ‘The men’s brands mostly (not all, but a lot!) look the same, but the female lines have their own look and feel. Pretty dope.’ This sentiment is echoed by Hellz Bellz founder and head designer, Lanie, who points out that her line is far more than merely a complement to menswear, noting, ‘We're not just the sister counterparts to the men’s streetwear brands. We're now able to stand on our own and become forces to be reckoned with.’

The four women of our cover are most certainly forces to be reckoned with. Each has blazed a trail and filled a void in different aspects of the culture they have come to dominate. Hearty presents, queens of the street fashion pack.

First up is legendary graffiti artist Claw Money, who has been bombing the streets for decades with her iconic paw with three claws. She was around when women were a rare breed in graf, and now also owns a clothing and accessories line.

Not only does our second feature femme run Married to the Mob, one of the biggest women’s streetwear lines, Leah McSweeney, also orchestrates a forum for women to speak their mind through the MOB Blog. ‘I grew up in NYC most my life. I drank 40s at the cube, went to Wash Square Park after clubs to continue the party, shopped on Lafeyette in 1995—this is where the “streetwear” culture grew from.’

Lanie Alabanza-Barcena, is the founder and creator of the other titan of women’s street clothing--Hellz Bellz. ‘I grew up in the culture. It's not something that I was fascinated by and jumped on the "streetwear" bandwagon,’ Lanie says.

Finally, on the retail side of things, Sarah from colette, buys for and operates one of the biggest streetwear boutiques in the industry. Her Paris store is a unique combination of skate shop, gallery, bookstore, and couture house. She consistently sets the mark for innovative, exclusive collaborations.

But pimpin’ ain’t easy. Not to mention the recession sucks. On the upside, the times have forced people to be more creative and flushed out brands that were coasting. Despite this, these ladies are still beating the house. All having been successful with their own unique personalities, not caring what others thought—their attitude’s are inspiring. ‘Do you!’ So the saying goes. These ladies did them, but in turn did something for all of us.

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21 Responses to “Leaders of the Pack: The Leading Ladies of Streetwear Unveiled”

  1. […] HERE to check out the rest of the feature along w/ my one on one […]

  2. […] This post was Twitted by _christel […]

  3. […] resident blogger and one of  the  Leaders of the Pack, Lanie aka Miss Lawn, just dropped the Hellz Bellz ‘Kicks After Sicks’ Capsule […]

  4. […] you haven’t checked Hearty’s July/August issue yet, they unveil the four leading ladies of streetwear as queen playing cards. They had Lawn on the dot – haircut + glasses! Now, Hearty has joined Hellz […]

  5. female says:

    What about Dime Piece? They deserve to be a part of this.

  6. […] by cutie Teyana Taylor. Shot by Brook Nipar at the ACE hotel, hearty’s summer leading lady, Leah McSweeney, has defintiely done it again and you can expect the gear to drop in time for back to school. So […]

  7. […] Style Warriors, Delivery One shows us that Hellz Bellz–lead by this months Cover Story Lanie–is paying attention, not only to what us chicas want, but to detail, form, function and […]

  8. […] new drop from one of our Leaders of the Pack, Claw Money, draws inspiration from another leading lady, Miss Coco Chanel. Claw’s fall […]

  9. […] her two sides–Tomboy Chic and Femme–Miss Lawn of Hellz Bellz has designed two new styles for her Hellz Bellz x Vans Collaboration, The Hadley and […]

  10. […] the MOB offices and the personalities that make up the team in this great little five minute video. Leah, candidly talks about the begining of MTTM, her upcoming Lacoste collaboration, being a boss, the […]

  11. […] female graffiti artist, Claw Money loves you, and you, and you–but PMS and cramping, not so much. Claw Money releases her Spring […]

  12. […] get ready! A Claw Money, acaba de lançar a sua nova coleção de Primavera 2010, com o título sugestivo de “Claw […]

  13. […] To celebrate their 30th anniversary, Stussy did the best thing  to do when one wants to celebrate, got together with family and friends.  Collaborating on five sets of 30th Anniversary xxx tees, Stussy enlisted some heavy hitting females and brands for the women’s shirts. These tees will be released at Stussy Chapter Stores in five groups over the next five months. Group 1, includes Hyde SK and our very own hearty blogger Miss Lawn of Hellz Bellz. Group 2, features PAM and past The Cover Story feature Claw Money. […]

  14. […] come to us in the form of two kick ass chicks. Two of our favorite ladies, Kerin Rose and Claw Money, have collaborated on a set of amazing eyewear to help bring on the sun (and rhinestone) shine. […]

  15. […] origin of graffiti and street art culture. The book also includes interviews with artists like Claw Money, Zephyr and Neck Face. “Finding an unusual sticker is definitely more challenging than […]

  16. […] Doesn’t Actress Jean Seberg (Patricia) look like our Leading Lady, Sarah of […]

  17. […] past Leading Lady, Claw Money, has collaborated with one of our favorite shoe companies, Vans, on two limited edition […]

  18. […] Claw Money, simulates warmer weather in her spring/summer 2011 lookbook. Shot by the designer herself and then superimposed onto hilarious “vacation” photos, it’s all palm trees and surfboards for these brightly colored tee’s and boxer-style shorts. This is a lookbook that makes us remember those hazy lazy days of summer even though they seem so far away. […]

  19. […] Married to the Mob continues their collaborations with Parisian graffiti artist Fafi. This time on a series of new tees, which feature Fafi’s famous dolls in MOB fashion. The ctees will be available June 14 to 21 at the Fafipopupshop at gallery LJ. […]

  20. […] Two is better than one, so the saying goes. Taking this notion and creating with it, graffiti artist Claw Money has paired up with some of her favorite artists and friends (like Baron Von Fancy and UTAH) to present Duets an exhibition of collaborative works by CLAWMONEY aka Claudia Gold. […]

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