These Are Some of the Most Incredible Looks From Afropunk 2018

Afropunk LEAD
Photo: Mamadi Doumbouya

There is no such thing as “too much” when it comes to Afropunk — whether it's attitudes, identities, or appearances, anything goes. On August 25 and 26, people from all over the country found their way to Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn to show off their impeccable style, from the biggest sunflower crowns to the hottest-hot pink fingernails.

Founded in 2005 by James Spooner, Afropunk was born as a result of its eponymous documentary about African-Americans that participated in the mostly-white punk subculture, but were largely ignored. The film started plenty of conversations, and many who saw themselves represented asked Spooner to organize a meetup. That small meetup has grown into an annual tradition that’s held all over the world in cities like Paris, London, and Johannesburg.

In 2018, Afropunk’s main draw is the artists it brings to its stages — this year, Erykah Badu, Miguel, Daniel Ceaser, and H.E.R. performed at the Brooklyn festival. There is also public art, the opportunity to support black-owned businesses, and plenty of amazing food.

It was my first time attending, and after spending the day wandering the park, two realizations about Afropunk came into focus. The first was that, while Afropunk is a place for black people to converge and connect, it’s also a space for the other parts of your identity to feel included and safe. On the festival grounds, you are respected no matter your gender, sexual identity, skin color, or religion. Breastfeeding in public isn’t a crime. Misogynoir, homophobia, islamophobia, ageism, sexism, fatphobia, transphobia and ableism are explicitly forbidden. The environment that this kind of mentality creates is truly inspired — as a black, Muslim woman, all parts of me felt a sense of belonging.

Of course, there’s also the fashion — but it’s more than just aesthetics. The clothing choices are as much about making a statement as they are about claiming the right to creative expression.

As I walked around the park for the day, I asked people: How does their style represent them? What inspired their looks? And, most importantly, why does having a space for self-expression like this so important?

Check out some of their answers — and their incredible looks — below.

01 of 12

All-White Everything

All-White Everything
Mamadi Doumbouya

"I felt like a lot of people were gonna wear dark colors so I wanted to stand out so I chose to wear all white" — @chola_girl

02 of 12

Taking You To Church

Taking You To Church
Mamadi Doumbouya

"My style today was inspired by Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu. I decided I wanted to dress like how a queer person would go to church." — Basit, @basitshittu

03 of 12

Two Different Approaches

Two Different Approaches
Mamadi Doumbouya

Right: "My look for the day was super edgy not too girly, and I still got into the culture with a head wrap and a red lip."
— Hannay, @Nay2xs

Left: "I am embodying everything that is woman." — Dashanae, @envyme_imdasha

04 of 12

Everything All At Once

Everything All At Once 
Mamadi Doumbouya

"Nothing from the outside inspired me. I just look in the closet and I just pile things on. My style is like this on an everyday basis, so this to me isnt getting dressed up. I dress like this everyday. This is me." — @thegoddessisin

05 of 12

Inspired by a True Thug

Inspired by a True Thug
Mamadi Doumbouya

"I've actually had this look for a while in my closet. I was thinking of vintage styles, stuff that Harriet Tubman would wear. I feel like she was a true thug. I wanted to make an outfit that would resemble that time... so I put a bunch of durags together. I think it is very important to express yourself through the arts because without art, the world would be boring. With style you get to differentiate who is who, and what is what, including what their interests are. It just puts that person together." — @pauleoue

06 of 12

Pink Aura

Pink Aura
Mamadi Doumbouya

"I just like being free and being able to express myself. I was told that my aura is pink so I just embraced it. My style is very eclectic; I can be classy, I can be girly, I can be flashy. Its just whatever I am feeling that day."
— Samantha, @thequeenofvacations

07 of 12

Inspired by Duality

Inspired by Duality
Mamadi Doumbouya

"I am first generation Ghanaian and I got this piece made in Ghana. It's part of my fashion line, Royal Label. It's an expression of my duality; the part of me that's very American, and the part of me that's also very African" — @yahzarah

08 of 12

All Yellow

All Yellow
Mamadi Doumbouya

"Im wearing a custom outfit, head to toe. Its very comfortable and cute. It's so important to get inspiration from each other, we`re bouncing off each other's colors and the places we have been." — Masie, @masieblu

09 of 12

The Three E's

The Three E's
Mamadi Doumbouya

"My style is eclectic, ethereal and empowering. I feel like that's the best way to describe it." — @calli.carpa

10 of 12

Mother Nature Meets Fantasy

Mother Nature Meets Fantasy
Mamadi Doumbouya

"Afropunk is like a modern day promised land. My hair came from [the idea] of when Mother nature gave birth to a unicorn."
@organicroyalty

11 of 12

The Blues

The Blues
Mamadi Doumbouya

"My inspiration was the color blue. I just wanted to be empowered as a woman and not be afraid to show who I am. Self- love and self-empowerment [are] big ones for me." —@milakoren

12 of 12

A New Kind of Individuality

A New Kind of Individuality
Mamadi Doumbouya

"My style represents empowerment and indivisuality." — Naya, @blu_vix

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