Date and Time
Feb 26, 2024 6:00 pm
14th & V
Set in the sartorial scenes of New York, Paris, and beyond, music journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy’s reporting on the intersecting histories of hip-hop and contemporary fashion focuses on the risk takers and rebels—the artists, designers, stylists, models, and tastemakers—who challenged a systemic power structure and historically reinvented the worlds of prêt-à-porter and haute couture.
Fashion Killa is a classic tale of a modern renaissance; of an exclusionary industry gate-crashed by innovators; of impresarios—Sean “Diddy” Combs, Dapper Dan, Virgil Abloh—hoisting hip-hop from the streets to the stratosphere; of supernovas—Lil’ Kim, Cardi B, and Kimora Lee Simmons—allying with kingmakers—Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren; of traditionalist fashion houses—Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Saint Laurent—transformed into temples of rap gods.
Krishnamurthy explores the connections between the DIY hip-hop scene and the exclusive upper-echelons of high fashion. She discusses the sociopolitical forces that defined fashion and tracks the influence of music and streetwear on the most exclusive (and exclusionary) luxury brands. At the intersection of cultural commentary and oral history, Fashion Killa commemorates the contributions of hip-hop to music, fashion, and our culture at large.
Sowmya Krishnamurthy and Wesley Lowery are joining us on the Busboys stage to share how hip-hop revolutionized high fashion. Copies of the FASHION KILLA and AMERICAN WHITELASH will be available for purchase during and after the event, and both authors will be signing following the program.
This event is free and open to all. Our program begins at 6:00 pm, and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Copies of FASHION KILLA and AMERICAN WHITELASH will be available for purchase before and after the event. Please note that this event is IN PERSON and will NOT be livestreamed.
We ask that guests RSVP in order to receive direct updates about the event from Busboys and Poets Books
Sowmya Krishnamurthy is a music journalist, on-air host and author of the critically acclaimed book Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion (Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster). Sowmya has 15 years of experience in the music and entertainment industry working at William Morris Endeavor, CNN and Bad Boy Records. She covers hip-hop and pop culture for Time, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Vibe, Essence and XXL and has appeared as an on-air expert on NPR, BBC, CNN, The Breakfast Club and other outlets around the world.
Fashion Killa is her first book and features extensive reporting, research and interviews with notables from Dapper Dan and Tommy Hilfiger to Pharrell and A$AP Rocky. The New York Times has called the book one of “the most stylish” of the season.
Wesley Lowery is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and on-air correspondent. He is the executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop, a non-profit newsroom based at American University. He is also a contributing editor at The Marshall Project and a Journalist in Residence at the CUNY Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. In nearly a decade as a national correspondent, Lowery has specialized in issues of race, justice and law enforcement. He led the Washington Post team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2016 for the creation and analysis of a real-time database to track fatal police shootings in the United States. His project, “Murder with Impunity,” an unprecedented look at unsolved homicides in major American cities, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2019. His first book, They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement, was a New York Times bestseller and awarded the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose by the LA Times Book Prizes. His second book, American Whitelash, was released in June 2023 and was an instant New York Times bestseller.