Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"
Back2Life Style Journey
Hello Everyone and welcome back! This weeks Back2LifeStyle Journey we will be look at style trends that originated from our communities past and present. TRUST there are many so I’ll be breaking it up between the next 2 weeks post. Check it out….
I know everyone has seen Cardi B’s nails but did y’all know that dating back to 3000 BC Egyptian women wore extensions made of ivory, gold, and bone. Royals such as Cleopatra and Queen Neferti were also believed to have painted their finger and toenails red as a symbol of status. Acrylic nails came about in the US in the 1950s and were popular amongst Hollywood stars. The first black woman to be on the cover of Vogue was model Donyale Luna and she wore them on the cover of Twen Magazine in 1966. In the 1970s they became popular in salons and associated with the black 70s Disco stars Diana Ross and Donna Summers whom sported colorful square tipped nail designs. In the 80s American track star Florence Griffith Joyner (AKA Flo Jo) sported her iconic nails throughout her career and on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1988. Artist like LaToya Jackson, Coko and SWV were also notable artist that rocked fancy nail designs. In the 90s they became synonamous with the hip-hop and R&B culture. Today acrylics and nail art are considered an art form and are seen everywhere including runways, fashion magazines, and nail salons.
Monogram print or AKA logomania has been a symbol of wealth and status. It became mainstream fashion as an ironic comment on knockoff culture, luxury goods and fashion as a commodity during the US economic boom of the 90s. Logos in high fashion were originally considered to denote affluence, they became a visual trope in themselves as big designers began to mimic the very knockoffs that were inspired by them.
One potential historical explanation has been traced back to 1896 when Lous Vuitton’s son George Vuitton designed the interlocked 'L' and 'V' logo with floral symbols and launched the signature Monogram Canvas with worldwide patent brand bags, boxes, and luggage items. Another explanation for logomania is the 60s with Gucci’s symmetrical mirrored 'G' logo on bags and accessories. No matter the real founder and King of logomania was none other than Dapper Dan, the pioneer of streetwear. During the 1980s Dapper Dan ran his own clothing boutique and began screen printing big designer brands (illegally ehemm) like Gucci, Fendi, and Louis Vuitton over leather and utilizing them in new ways. Not only did he print them on clothes but also furniture, curtains, and car interiors. He was shut down by police in 1989 after the demand for logomania products blue up and big names like Jay-Z, P-Diddy, and LL Cool J became regular clientele.
Today it’s all over catwalks and has resurged with big names. In 2018, Gucci sought a collaboration with Dapper Dan with his collection inspired by the streets of Harlem.
The history of the hoop earrings dates back as far as the Bronze age and 4th Century Africa, Sudan in particular (Nubia at the time). Hoops were an essential accessory for Egyptians as well as the Gadaba tribe in India and the Hmong women of Vietnam.
During the Jazz age they were most notably worn by American-born black French Jazz performer and Civil Rights activist Josephine Baker. Josephine Baker is an iconic figure who symbolized beauty and vibrancy of black culture in the 1920s America. Baker wore hoop earrings regularly. In the 1960s hoops were a day-to-day accessory for women of color during the Black Power Movement and were worn with Afrocentric dress. They were also populazrized by Diana Ross and Cher. During this time women in the black community also embraced a more African-inspired look with natural hairstyles and hoop earrings.
During the rise of the rap and hip-hop culture of the 80s hoops got thicker and bigger giving rise to the term door knocker and bamboo style of hoops. In the 90s they evolved into gemstones and nameplates or phrases that were worn by artists such as Missy Elliot, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and Aaliyah.
Today they are still sported due to it’s deep rooted history in communities of color and streetwear culture.
The now iconic lettuce hem was invented by designer Stephen Burrows in the 70s. As a designer Burrows loved to celebrate and exaggerate stitching and colorful threads instead of traditionally hiding them and early in his career the zig-zag stitch became his signature style. He was an instrumental figure in establishing the ‘black is beauty’ philosophy of the 1970s and his designs encapsulated the vibrant energy of the disco scene. His colorful knits, leather pieces with studded nails, midi skirts, form-fitting jumpers, rainbow jersey dresses and suede fringing showcased on black women and diverse models were celebrated by both the press and consumers. His influence is still seen on runways today.
In the 1970s America saw the trainsition of sneakers from sportswear to a form of cultural expression. It was an established trend by the 1980s due to the rise of hip-hop culture and it’s increasing popularity of basketball and Michael Jordan’s Air Jordans released in 1985. This birthed a generation of trainer collectors. By the end of the 90s the trend reached global status with collectors in Britain and all across Europe and the US. People swapped sneakers, held sneaker parties, special outlets were created and people would line up to obtain a limited edition set. It also became popular in the skateboarding community. Popular brands for collectors are Nike, Converse, Air Jordan, Adidas, New Balance, Reebok, Puma, and Vans.
Today’s culture links trainers to streetwear. The 2015 documentary Fresh Dressed documents it’s continued relevance and importance for black youth.
It’s amazing to think of how all of these trends have been around for centuries and because of our connection to our ancestors came back. I love our culture y’all we are forever doing it sparking a movement in some form or fashion (like what I did there). Alright folks next week I’ll have more to add but get in on these recommendations and I’ll see you back here for It’s A Vibe Friday! Much love go and…
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