In Los Angeles’s infamous “Zoot Suit riots” of 1943, young Chicanos in zoot suits (or “Pachucos” as they were called) were targeted by thousands of white sailors who asserted their racial supremacy by beating and stripping wearers of the fashion. As the days passed historical records show that thousands of servicemen joined the attacks. After several days the military intervened.
During the riots many females who were “Pachucas” (we would probably say “Chola” today) or were in the presence of a zoot suiter were arrested as well (via)
The zoot suit was first seen in the 1930s in New York at the height of the Harlem Jazz culture. Many referred to them as “drapes.” During that time, the suit was worn by and popularized by African-Americans. A Fedora hat was also often worn to complement the zoot suit.