Black fashion of the 1990s was groundbreaking.
November 16, 2019 6:50 AM   Subscribe

There's so much I still don't know about 90s black fashion but I remember being so mystified and intrigued by it then. All the black-led TV shows (not just Fresh Prince) had such amazing clothes.
posted by emjaybee at 7:42 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

I sheepishly admit I loved Cross Colors garb enough to go and buy an awesome long oversized t-shirt thing that I was never ever ever going to be able to wear in public.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:51 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Blast from the past!

This exhibit looks awesome and the article was a good read, providing context for both the line itself as well as the broader role of fashion as a means of visual communication. For example, I'm familiar with the concept of reclaiming slurs or other disparaging words as a means of empowerment, but I haven't heard as much about reclaiming negative perceptions and associations through the medium of clothing, so this portion of the article was illuminating:
CAAM’s retrospective illustrates the cord that tethers clothing and culture; through Cross Colours, we see how political black fashion is. For the marginalized, controlling one’s identity through personal style is a visual statement when voice is not enough.

“We have realized that everything happens in cycles . . . so what was relevant 20 to 30 years ago, because of the shelf life of these eras, will make a resurgence,” Boyd-Pates says. “If ’90s clothing was dope in 1989, 30 years later it’s right around the time [for it to be relevant again], because the social climates that created the things 30 years ago are actually nearly identical.”

Case in point: The cyclical struggle of black men trapped in the carceral system persists today, just as it did when the war on drugs began in the ’70s. Prison uniforms, ill-fitting and saggy, became associated with black culture, and Cross Colours designed fashionable clothes with that prevailing aesthetic in mind.

“They were actually making baggy clothes intentionally because they were reclaiming the narrative that you may racially profile us, but we don’t care about your gaze, we care about our own. That’s why they designed men’s trousers to debunk the racial profiling that was happening in urban areas,” Boyd-Pates says. These sentiments are eerily familiar today, a time when the criminal justice system continues to operate lopsidedly on bias, and when police forces make examples out of civilians of color.
Thanks for posting!
posted by rather be jorting at 10:50 AM on November 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Fresh Dressed is a documentary on similar themes. I still primarily wear Pumas and Adidas because of their socio-cultural history.
posted by loriginedumonde at 11:08 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

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