Beg, Borrow and Steal
Eminent London graffiti writer, Petro, has turned his hand to fashion for his latest exhibition ‘Beg, Borrow and Steal.’ Claiming to have worn strictly Polo Ralph Lauren since 1996/1997, Petro has played tribute to his favourite brand by creating his own Ralph Lauren collection. Some of London’s biggest graffiti writers and crews, many donning their own Ralph Lauren items, turned out at the Goodhood Workshop in Shorditch yesterday for the opening.
Petro is not the first to be enamoured with the label, Brooklyn gang Lo-Lifes began sporting and collecting Polo in the 80s. Pre-dating Lo-Lifes were other Brooklyn crews, Ralphies Kids and POLO U.S.A (United Shoplifters Association). When the gangs all merged in 1988, Lo-Lifes became prolific on the streets of New York. By shop lifting/robbing Ralph Lauren, Lo-Lifes were subverting the brand’s preppy, upper-class image, giving it gangster status and reappropriating the luxury label. Petro claims that discovering Lo-Lifes ‘validated’ his obsession with Ralph Lauren.
Petro’s interpretations of the classic Ralph Lauren rugby shirts and jumpers, made with felt emblems and spray-painted finishes, are all for sale in the gallery. But that didn’t prevent one graffiti writer, in true Lo-Life fashion, from helping himself to an item last night. Petro’s response to the theft of one of his precious art pieces; “I was just hoping someone would do it.” After all, it wouldn’t be a proper Ralph Lauren inspired exhibition by a renowned London writer, if such a misdemeanour didn’t take place.
Words by Anya Paul
Petro ‘Beg, Borrow and Steal’ runs from March 1st- March 10th at Goodshop Workshop, 20 Coronet Street, N1 6HD