Dallas Penn Sheds Light on NYC’s Gritty School System In The 80s

This New York City native is currently known in the streets as a die-hard sneakerhead, hip-hop fanatic, and Polo Ralph Lauren connoisseur. And all of Dallas Penn’s interests derived from his upbringing in the streets of the Rotten Apple.

On this episode of Free Lunch, Dallas spoke about his involvement in a “youth collective” known as the Decpticons forced him to leave Brooklyn Technical high school. Dallas then went on to City-As high school in Manhattan to finish out his high school degree 25 years ago.

Even though he only attended the school for six months, the different curriculum which included a working internship helped shape the passions he has today. He worked as an interior designer during the week, which was given to him through the Manhattan high school.

Read: Kanye West On Ralph Lauren: ‘I Knew Ralph Was My Daddy!’

“The entire city becomes our students’ classrooms with a wealth of opportunities for learning by doing”. That is the City-As high school motto, which Penn credits his experiences to. Real life learning through the city outside the classroom was really important to him, as well as being regarded to as an adult.

The Lo-Life gang Dallas was a member of is responsible for bringing high fashion to hip-hop in the 80’s. Their love for Polo Ralph Lauren became who they were. They used to be a shoplifting gang, but they now channeled that into positive energy. Founding member, Thirstin Howl III, released a Polo Ralph Lauren inspired clothing line last year Check it out here and just released a book “Bury Me With My Lo On” on July 7th, which culminates a five year project that documents how kids in Brooklyn influenced an entire subculture of Polo collectors.

Read: “Bury With Me Lo On” To Examine The Subculture Inspired By Ralph Lauren’s Polo

Watch the entire Free Lunch episode below.