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The Disenfranchised Youth, Circa 1966

  • Najib Benouar

In 1966, Life magazine checked in on the street youth of Watts in the wake of riots and another dubious police shooting, and what they found was a surprisingly dapper lot. On first mention, South Central Los Angeles might not immediately conjure images of preppy shawl-cardigans, Wayfarers, rolled jeans and Thom Browne–esque pant hems—but as it turns out, these kids were pioneering the Black Ivy look well before Street Etiquette was on the scene (and doing it in the most unexpected place). A few snaps have been kicking around the blogosphere since appearing on a Brazilian blog, but in the event you don’t read Portuguese, we’ve compiled the entire spread of well-dressed rebels going about their day: admiring the Watts Towers, listening to tunes and preparing a few Molotov cocktails (just in case). One street tough in particular arrives on the scene in Clubmasters, a corduroy shacket and a pinky ring, and it’s got us looking forward to an unseasonably cool day.

More on the unlikely style of Watts in the ’60s.