Upon release in 1989, Do The Right Thing shook the film world. Though director Spike Lee had earned indie acclaim with earlier efforts She’s Gotta Have It and School Daze, Do the Right Thing announced Lee to mainstream America. The film netted two Oscar nominations and took in nearly $40 million on a budget of $6 million.

Do the Right Thing is routinely praised for giving voice to issues black communities deal with every day. The film also gave voice to style trends that were emerging in Brooklyn at the time. Lee introduced Bed-Stuy’s burgeoning street style of the era to a wide audience, helping shape trends in men’s fashion that would resonate throughout the next decade and beyond. Men from Atlanta to Los Angeles recall the film as a formative moment in their style education.

While some of the trends Spike incorporated in the film had come and gone by the mid-’90s, others endure to this day. Almost every aspect of the film’s costume design (by visionary costumer Ruth E. Carter) speaks to the very particular cultural moment that produced a street style that was colorful, expressive, passionate and very Brooklyn.

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