My childhood home, only 20 minutes outside of Miami, was a manifestation of the America that my Haitian-born parents envisioned. In the realms of the evenly cut, lush green hedges, we were safe. It was their American dream—a clear departure from their tough upbringing in Port-au-Prince. When I look back on my childhood, I remember that to be called Haitian was an insult; to be called Haitian was to be ugly and dirty. It was a facet of my identity I felt I needed to tuck away.
My experience in high school paled in comparison to my mother’s. For her, fashion was an escape: from silk blouses to shoulder-padded blazers, these pieces were her way to boldly affirm her place in America, even when she was told to shrink herself. She kept many of these looks and passed them down to my sister and me. Each piece is interwoven with the story of a young girl who immigrated from Haiti and flourished. Wearing my mother’s clothes is a way that I to connect both her and my roots.
This photo series explores the multiplicity of the Haitian-American experience, especially within my generation—Gen Z. It showcases my little sister, Tabitha, wearing my mother’s clothes from when she was our age combined with some pieces of our own. These looks are put together as a reclamation of self and our identity.
I now understand the power that being Haitian holds. I am a daughter of the Haitian diaspora—the land that birthed freedom and where resilience runs through our veins. I hope that other young Haitian girls remember that fact as well.
Photos by @abicherub
Modeled by @tabithacherubin