Often when we look to define the word rebellion, or perceive what someone who is thought of as a ‘rebel’ may look like or carry themselves, it is usually paired with a negative trait. A thief, perhaps? Or maybe a vandal? Say, a delinquent? Yet the word rebel in this setting is merely an adjective, carrying negative, but also positive stigma. One can be rebellious through their ideals, speech, style, interests, etc.
The Dapper Rebels project is a modern rebellion through creativity. Inspired by a 1960′s editorial depicting riots driven by a push for equality in the neighboring region of Watts in Los Angeles, a group of young ‘rebels’ were documented by LIFE Magazine in a photo story titled . Exploring their life in a tumultuous city on fire both metaphorically and physically, photographer Bill Ray captured these gentleman throughout their day. What was quite unique about them from an outward appearance was their unmistakably dapper 60′s style. Something one might not have associated with a “street gang”.
Though not a street gang, still inspired to share a dapper style I was privileged to invite a few friends I would call rebels through their respective creative crafts, to participate in a project to acknowledge the past but also exploring the present and undeniable shift in culture. Where aspirations for young men in L.A. during that time may have peaked at either joining a local gang, working at the general corner store, or caged behind cold bars, we explore various vintage-inspired past times as well as express ourselves as modern day rebels of a different kind, encouraging others to pursue their craft against the pushes and pulls of their environment.
Video: “A behind the scenes look at the making of vintage-inspired photo story, “The Dapper Rebels”. The concept lends a nostalgic feeling, after wondering what it would have been like for a group of friends decades ago to use their vintage camera, capturing various spontaneous moments of their day. A film for life, camaraderie, and retro style.”