Thursday, 1 May 2014

Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion † Chonga/Chongo

The full Encyclopaedia of Alternative Fashion can be found here.

Country of Origin
USA

Source.

Gender Balance
Female (or identifying) - chonga; male (or identifiying) - chongo. More chonga may be found online, but there is an equal mix on the streets of Miami.

What
Chonga is another of those fashion styles which is intrinsically tied to a lifestyle: that of a particular type of Miami girl. Chonga women are generally working class, young and Hispanic and depending on the location you are in, the term can be offensive or a badge of pride (so be careful!). They even have their own particular way of speaking, a mix of heavy Spanish and bad English.

Source.

Fashion tends to be very sexualised, but also cheap, given that Chonga are often from lower socio-economic areas. Currently, this means tight jeans that accentuate curves, chunky 'gold' jewellery and loud makeup (red lips or simple black lip liner, bright eyeshadow, gaudy nails) are common features of Chonga style. They also like to use hair gel or spray.

This Chonga's shirt reads 'Hialeah', the hometown of Chonga life. Source.

In some ways, the Chonga style resembles Japanese gyaru. Both have cliques (in gyaru, 'circles') and encourage boldness and sexiness in young women. However, Chonga is very much a working class phenomenon, a response to the societal and economic factors affecting the women, whereas gyaru is often seen as a response by middle class women to a conservative society. In actual fact, Chongas derive their roots from 'Cholas', Mexican or Puerto Rican girl gang members with a similar approach to fashion.

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There is also a subset of Chonga style called 'preponga', essentially a preppy chonga who wears tight mini polo shirts. Chongo is the male equivalent of Chonga. They look is very similar to 'gangsta' styles: oversized clothing, big sneakers/hi tops and gold chains.

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Style icons
Mimi and Laura, 'The Chonga Girls' became relatively well known after creating a youtube video parodying the song 'Fergilious'. The song 'Chongalicious' makes references to the fashion style and attitude of Chongas, and the girls themselves are dressed in typical Chonga clothing. Technically, however, the girls themselves only subscribe to the Chonga lifestyle when acting in their public Chonga personas.



Fashion inspirations in popular culture
Bratz dolls are probably the closest thing in popular culture to Chongas. Their often tight, skimpy clothing, big lips and bold makeup are considered by many as an obvious homage to Chonga style.

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Further reading and resources

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