Everyone once in a long while I run into someone, on some long-gentrified block of the city, wearing DDTP World gear. I’m reminded on these occasions that this is not the city I knew growing up, but also of some of the brighter moments of a childhood in Anacostia.
DDTP (which stood officially for ‘Designer Discount Trading Post’ and unofficially for ‘Dis Dat and all That People’ before its owner rebranded it ‘Zoe’s World’) was one of few black owned businesses - and one of fewer non liquor store businesses - around.
The store, and the family that ran it, was no less than an institution in the hood, providing fashions to a generation of SE DC’s flyest. My brothers were good friends with the proprietor, Zoe’s, sons and would take me with them on frequent visits to check the latest styles and shoot the shit.
Even my parents - who considered fashion frivolous and completely incidental to education, home ownership and a host of other virtuous things - could get down with spending a few of their very-hard-earned dollars at this black and Muslim owned establishment.
This Urban Dictionary entry for ‘Drop Socks' (one popular accessory to 90s DC style sold by DDTP) speaks to this iconic store's place is the culture of old DC:
girl from uptown dc circa early 1990’s:”Imma wear my lil Madness tee wit my parasuco strech jeans, some drop socks and some chucks”
girl from southeast:” Oh, Imma wear this lil dress i bought from ddtp wit my susie wong MCM”
girl from trinidad:”I wanna wear my joan & david tennis shoes but i dont know if i should where some slouch socks”
As one DC blogger recalls of the briefly great urban brand:
This line was hot hot hot in the early 90′s then poof – like a blunt around Lil Wayne -they were gone. A lot of people believe DDTP “jumped the shark” going nationwide and appearing in Up Against the Wall losing its credibility as a “DC” fasion. But DLR cant hate on any body going out there and getting that Scrilla……