The Influence of Black Culture on Modern Fashion Trends
Frequently when buying clothing and accessories we often do not stop to think where the trend or style originated from. Chances are, some of your favorite pieces are influenced by or were created due to black culture and designers. In honor of black history month, we want to spread more awareness about the history of particular fashion movements and trends and help give more recognition to those who created it.
If you look down at your shoes and you are wearing any kind of trainers or sneakers, surprise! This trend you are participating in is due to the influence of black culture, whether you were aware or not. The prominence of sneaker collecting and hype around it can be tied primarily to the influences of basketball and hip-hop music. Basketball, made up predominantly by black players, began tying fashion to sport beginning with Chuck Taylors, later evolving to Air Jordans in the 80’s and beyond. Popular hip-hop group Run DMC can be accredited with the rise of Adidas hype due to their song about the brand as well as their lasting personal love of the shoe.
Although shoes may be a more obvious fashion contribution from black culture, something as seemingly small as the patterning of high end clothes with the brand’s monogram is attributed to black designer Dapper Dan. Working at his own small boutique in Harlem, he saw the reaction a customer with a small bag displaying the Louis Vouitton logo got, and thought about the hype a full wearable garment would make. He began by adding a Gucci trim to a jacket, and eventually worked up to the clothes decorated in the monogram pattern you see today. He continued his thriving business until these brands raided his store and inventory for trademark infringement. Dan was forced to close his boutique and resorted to dressing private clients, but the irony came when brands like Gucci began copying his original designs without credit. Gucci later sought out Dan for a collaboration and released limited editions of his line. When looking at the creations of luxury brands today, we can see the huge impact Dan had on high end fashion and logomania as a whole.
As we curate our wardrobes and participate in trends, it’s important to consider the roots of our tastes, and give proper acknowledgement to those who created it.