Join 3,438 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Black Ivy
September 19, 2010 10:13 PM   Subscribe

Inspired by photographer T. Hayashida's book Take Ivy, a collection of images of (largely white) Ivy-league students of the 1960s, style bloggers Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs of Street Etiquette reimagine the book as The Black Ivy, where the race lines are flipped and the dapper dial is cranked up to 11.
posted by emilyd22222 (21 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are so stage-managed and styled. Too obviously the work of style people. Take Ivy is all found style, most of it truly casual, lots of shorts and plastic raincoats. This is so mannered. These guys are dressing up, even if they always dress like this.
posted by grobstein at 10:20 PM on September 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Not to mention how profoundly uncomfortable they appear to be playing football.
posted by dersins at 10:23 PM on September 19, 2010


grobstein: Take Ivy is all found style, most of it truly casual, lots of shorts and plastic raincoats. This is so mannered. These guys are dressing up, even if they always dress like this.

Because when white Ivy-leaguers put on clothes, their style is effortless and natural!
posted by vitia at 11:13 PM on September 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Great post, BTW, and I love that the photos are set at CCNY. There's something to be investigated there about histories, access, public education, metropolitanism, and HBCUs.
posted by vitia at 11:21 PM on September 19, 2010


I don't quite get what the folks of Street Etiquette are doing here.

Take Ivy is a bunch of candid shots of Ivy League students.
The Black Ivy appears to be a bunch of models posing at City College.

Last time I was at an Ivy, it was clearly looked nothing like the homogenous world of the original. So, there is a discussion to be had about race, elite education, and fashion. But here we just have a Banana Republic catalogue with all Black models. The only thing that makes it related to Take Ivy is that the artists insist it is related. But the very premise is radically different: models instead of candid shots. Selected cloths (I imagine) instead of found fashion. The use of a pretty-location as a backdrop.

I don't get what this means when it is so fundamentally different from the original. Help me out here.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:38 PM on September 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Because when white Ivy-leaguers put on clothes, their style is effortless and natural!

No. Because Hayashida's book contained unposed shots of non-models.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:02 AM on September 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Of course it's staged. This piece of art is a reaction to a previous work. The idea here is black people 'doing' white people in the way we are supposed to imagine they would: better, and with more flair. It's making fun of Take Ivy, and also of the people in it. To an extent it's making fun of itself as well.
posted by seagull.apollo at 12:23 AM on September 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't get what this means when it is so fundamentally different from the original. Help me out here.

Inspired by doesn't mean in replacement of, or identical to. And while Take Ivy was found style, it was highly influential found style. I think this is just an example of that influence traveling to a place that some might find surprising or interesting.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:41 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


seagull.apollo: "Of course it's staged. This piece of art is a reaction to a previous work. The idea here is black people 'doing' white people in the way we are supposed to imagine they would: better, and with more flair. It's making fun of Take Ivy, and also of the people in it. To an extent it's making fun of itself as well."

Quoted for truth.
posted by The Michael The at 3:58 AM on September 20, 2010


I teach at a historically black university, and while none of these models would be out of place there, the homogeneity of the styles would be. That was the thing about the original Take Ivy: it demonstrated that prep was a highly regimented dress code, and that students at Ivy schools were strictly observant of the rules even when relaxing. That's why prep became a fashion in the first place: it was easily copied, once you knew the code.

In contrast, my students demonstrate more... diversity.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:31 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The black people I know aren't better or worse dressers. One guy has a "T.O." style square-cut diamond earring and a gold chain bracelet, but he wears it with short-sleeve plaid shirts and chinos, and that's about as "snazzy" as it gets. (His hipster co-worker wears buddy-holly glasses with plaid shirts and chinos.)

African Americans aren't natural athletes, born musicians, better dancers or snappy dressers.

They're people.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:47 AM on September 20, 2010


Although there is the strangeness of all these pictures being of men. To me it casts the whole effort ironically.
posted by OmieWise at 4:52 AM on September 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I could look like that, too, if I had style and was handsome (and fit). As it is, putting a sweater on me just makes me look like a lighter-skinned, late-model Cosbot. An itchy one.
posted by Eideteker at 6:07 AM on September 20, 2010


Of course it's staged.

Exactly. That's the point, at least as I see it. The original project was "unstaged" pictures of a highly artificial environment, an incredibly homogeneous and conformist place. This turns that around, staging the pictures; our knowledge that it is of a non-homogeneous and conformist place adds to that tension.
posted by Forktine at 6:22 AM on September 20, 2010


This is awesome and these guys look sharp as shit.

☑ ironic replacement of white men with black men
☑ Attractive people
☑ Probable lack of real football skills
Ads for rope belts
☑ Things metafilter doesnt do well
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:09 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Internet Archive is loaded with old yearbooks that are a joy to look through the photographs and watch the styles and attitudes change over time, you can learn a lot about generational shifts, it's more than just "look at that lanky uniform" though plenty of that.
posted by stbalbach at 7:11 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yea, I'm confused why people are so annoyed that this is staged. It wasn't meant as a strict and direct sociological answer to Ishida's work, it's fashion people taking editorial inspiration from a previous work in a self-aware, tongue-in-cheek way. I mean, it'd be cool if someone out there decided to do a direct found-art response, but that's obviously not the case here.

In particular interesting because so many times people have one idea of what "urban" (a.k.a. black) fashion is, and unfortunately fashion is color-coded to some people. But black people aren't all the same. There have been plenty of black young men out there who favor tailored, preppy or vintage style of dress (even in mainstream pop culture with people like John Legend, Neyo, Common, Andre 3000 and even Kanye West), which unfortunately is usually coded and shown as white.
posted by kkokkodalk at 7:21 AM on September 20, 2010


That's why prep became a fashion in the first place: it was easily copied, once you knew the code.

This brings to mind how some people considered Lisa Birnbaum's 'The Official Preppy Handbook' as a true style 'guide,' and not as facetious satire on the fashion.

Her new book 'True Prep: It's a Whole New Old World' updates a satirical look at contemporary 'preps.' Video and podcast of Birnbaum( and designer Chip Kidd) on the book.
posted by ericb at 7:47 AM on September 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The idea here is black people 'doing' white people in the way we are supposed to imagine they would: better, and with more flair.

So, are you saying they are doing white people because black people don't normally dress like this? Because that's what it seems the piece is saying as well, and I think it is a poor premise- that black men in button downs and loafers are dressing "white". (Have these people never seen a Rude Boy?) Howabout we replace "white" with "preppy", because that's really what is going on.

As an aside" white socks with black drainpipes and loafers? NOOOOOOO. Unless you want your ankles to look like the thickest part of your body.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:30 AM on September 20, 2010


Gorgeous, but insufferably precious. What made the original so appealing (and so masculine?) was its I-didn't-spend-30-minutes-in-front-of-a-full-length-mirror giveashitlessness.
posted by applemeat at 11:12 AM on September 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yea, I'm confused why people are so annoyed that this is staged.

kkokkodalk, I obviously can't speak for anyone else, but I'm not annoyed. It's just so... artificed and obvious. Lacking in shock value, devoid of insight, and (because it's staged) not revealing of a slice of real life or culture.

It's just meh.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:07 PM on September 20, 2010


« Older In Utah, the Deseret News -- which is owned by the...  |  Similar in concept to the ICU6... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments