We wanted to see where stylish New York teenagers were gravitating. We found that just as music and fashion brought young people together in the past, streetwear and skater brands are bringing them together today.
Jeffrey Henson Scales, who is from California, has been photographing American youth culture for decades. I grew up in New York, and as a teenager I would gather with my peers at influential SoHo shops like Antique Boutique and Unique Clothing Warehouse, and wait in line for the latest release at Tower Records.
Long the home to trendy high-end stores, SoHo is now dotted with skate shops and sneaker stores like Supreme, Palace and Stadium Goods. Other shops like Billionaire Boys Club, VFiles and NikeLab 21M NYC, all on Mercer Street, are nearby. The product drops at many of these shops, complete with elaborate security details and police barricades, draw hundreds of regular fans and resellers who come from all over the country. It is here that we found tribes of young people hanging out, showing off their gear.
One might call their style “the new geek.” They have fully embraced “normcore” fashion, but with branded limited releases and collaborations. It is not price but exclusivity, the scarcity model, that drives the new geeks. And those limited editions go to those who know about the releases first and get there first.
Avery was visiting from Texas. Standing in line with her father, she was one of the few teenage girls at a Palace drop. Her tomboy style reminded me of 2000-era hip-hop, but with a subtle skater influence.
Christoph was one of the elder statesmen of our shoot. I noticed him because he moved so fluidly through the Mercer Street crowd. A big fan of Raf Simons, he represented the ultimate evolution of the new geek style. His look was more sophisticated than most of the kids who stood on line, but it was still influenced by skateboard, sport and sneaker culture.
The collective confidence and curation skills of these two boys showed in every piece of…