Subculture in LA: Zoot Suits

Los Angeles, in the 1940's, was just a growing community of Chicano's and Chicana's looking to get their voice heard, and to find an identity for themselves.  However, with voices being heard, conflicts always arise. Young Chicano men would be harassed, beaten, and disrespected during the 40's in Los Angeles.

Zoot suits were worn to express the rebellious side of the young chicano men during the 40's. Started by African Americans in the Jazz culture, the zoot suits consisted of a lot of fabric due to the suits being oversized, wide legged, with an oversized draped coat to go along with it. During the time of war, this fashion was found to be very disrespectful and unpatriotic for the amount of fabric it contained. Among, with others viewing their fashion as unpatriotic, police brutality towards the Chicanos in Los Angeles was gruesome. Police harassed and arrested many because of their race, and monitored predominantly Chicano areas. Media portrayed Chicanos at this time to be only gang affiliated and dangerous, leaving the world to have this false image.

However, this was just the beginning, over 200 marines and sailors went to East Los Angeles, and whenever they spotted a young ethnic chicano in a zoot suit, they would strip them down from their clothing, and burn it. On June 8th, it was said that sailors and marines were not allowed in the city of Los Angeles to harm anymore Chicanos. Regardless, hundreds were victimized, because they found their voice through fashion, and for once did not feel submerged to a Caucasian society.