In one of the most riveting profiles I've read in a while, New York magazine tells the story of a kid from Long Island City whose fashion obsession is sending him to prison. A 17-year-old serial shoplifter with an obsession for labels, Kevahn Thorpe walks into Barney's and Bergdorf-Goodman's and walks out with Gucci, Dior and Prada. He's been arrested dozens of times and wandered in and out of Riker's Island until his luck and the judges' patience ran out. Now he's at a maximum security prison.

The startling part is contrasting his obsession with his background living in the projects. He may have spent his 18th birthday at Sing-Sing, but

his gilded fantasy was still on MySpace, where Kevahn posted photos of his trophies like a big-game hunter posing with his kills, shot after shot of him modeling freshly stolen clothes, some with tags still attached, against a background of chaotic household squalor—laundry spilling out of a basket, Gucci sneakers posed on grimy linoleum against the fridge. JUST CALL ME A DIOR DENIM MODEL, reads one caption. THERE’S MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM (SERIOUSLY) under a close-up of a Gucci shirt. I TOLD U I HAD MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM. But the illusion was cracking. Under one photo with a caption that read like a list of fashion credits, a classmate had posted a comment: YOU WHOLE OUTFIT WAS STOLEN SO IT DON’T EVEN MATTER.

Jezebel makes the point of how heartbreaking it is:

It seems like here's a young man who could easily turn his talents and passion to a career with far less effort than it takes to survive a long stint up the river. Reading it, you want him so badly to get himself together, maybe get an internship with a fashion P.R. house. But it's obvious that he's in the grip of something so much bigger than himself, where the only concrete thing is – well, things. And who can wonder at someone wanting to forcibly grasp stability?

 

 
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Alisa Harris

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