TikTok Creator Kristina Avakyan Slammed For Saying That Harlem And Queens Do Not “Understand” Fashion

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Kristina Avakyan (@subwaysessions) continues to rapidly blow up on TikTok for her unique sense of style that she documents daily on the New York City subway. Her overnight viral status connected her to New York Magazine’s The Cut for an interview about her personal style.

Towards the end of the interview, when asked about her offbeat outfits, Avakyan told reporter Danya Issawi that she always feels confident recording her videos in the Manhattan subways near her Lower East Side neighborhood, as people do not “understand” in the neighborhood of Harlem and the borough of Queens.

Issawi questioned Avakyan’s response further. The TikTok creator went on to claim that Harlem and Queens are home to “family-oriented places, like houses or older people” and that they “wouldn’t understand the vision.” Avakyan’s comments are sparking backlash due to the historically high populations of Black and Latine residents in the neighborhoods she referenced, likely due to the fact that these communities started the trends she is profiting from. Others remind non-New Yorkers of the mass gentrification of the Lower East Side, which has pushed out immigrant families by the droves in recent decades.

The Snap Backs @SubwaySessions

TikTok creators who are both from New York City or simply work in or follow the fashion industry are all collectively criticizing Avakyan’s comments in different ways. One creator named Caroline Nycek delivered a detailed read on the situation, discussing Avakyan’s privilege and lack of awareness surrounding New York culture.


#fashion #fashiontok #fashiontiktok #fashioncritic #subwaysessions #subwaygirl #nycfashion #thecut

♬ original sound – carolinenycek

The creator was met with an outpouring of support in the comments, with many criticizing Avakyan for jumping to conclusions about two of New York’s most diverse and creative areas. One New York based commenter named Karen Celeste wrote “I just need the Harlem girlies to show her some real fits.” Another commenter wrote “Queens the most diverse borough. And Harlem is the fashion hub of the city. That’s willlldd. Just say what you meannnnn.”

Elsewhere, another creator named Femi Redwood took viewers on a fashionable walk down memory lane. She directed viewers of Avakyan’s content to similar styles pioneered by Black and Latina women from Queens and Harlem who went on to have successful careers in fashion and music. Some celebrities referenced in the video include Mary J. Blige and Lil Kim.



Its not that we do t understand it. We’ve seen better versions of it already. #subwaygirl #subwaysession #subwaystyles #gentrification #fyp #foryourpage #fubu #lilkim #aaliyah #streetwear #urbanwear #blacktiktok #fashion #harlem

♬ original sound – FemiRedwood

On Twitter, some criticized her style before the Cut interviewgate.

Some questioned where she could possibly be on the way to in such outrageous combinations of outfits.

Before the controversy, some fans felt that she could have a Vogue partnership in her future.


Others joked that supermodels have peculiar street style similar to hers.

Avakyan’s Response

Robinson claimed that she used to live in Harlem before moving to the Lower East Side. She claimed that she had “no problem with Harlem” and that she simply enjoys nightlife and lives and works elsewhere now. She did not apologize for her statements, and only said that she “could have worded” her responses better.


Avakyan continues to post daily outfits, and is yet to apologize for her comments.

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