Popular Fashion Trends With Black Origins

11 Popular Fashion Trends With Black Origins

Some major trends in the world of fashion can trace their roots back to Black women and men. Let’s take a look at 11 different fashion trends that we have, thanks to the influences of Black individuals, even if they don’t always get the credit they deserve.

  1. Nameplate Jewelry. Long before “Sex in the City” made “Carrie” necklaces popular, or Kylie Jenner appropriated the look, kids on the streets in New York City were rocking nameplate necklaces. Getting a nameplate was a rite of passage for these Black and Hispanic youth. In a world where many Black women have been shamed by hiring managers or recruitment offices in job interviews or educational pursuits simply because of their names, nameplate jewelry gives them a chance to show pride in their identity and culture.
  2. Nail Art. So many women go get a full set of manicured nails these days, but Black women were the first to use their nails as canvases of expression. In 1966, Donyale Luna, who would go on to be the first Black woman to grace the cover of Vogue, wore them on the cover of the Twen magazine. Acrylic nail art was also made famous by Diana Ross and Donna Summer in the ’70s. Florence Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo Jo, rocked incredible acrylics during her record-breaking Olympic runs. Black manicurist Bernadette Thompson was the mastermind behind Lil Kim’s money manicure, later featured in the MoMa in 2017 because of its artistry.
  3. Logomania. While the rest of the world was trying to be more subtle with their brand choices, Daniel Day, also known on the streets as Dapper Dan, started emblazoning the logos of high-end brands on everything from curtains and furniture to clothing. This led to a maximalist style of being loud and proud of the brands you are sporting. We see this today as women sport Nike hoodies, Gucci bags, or even their Delta Sigma Theta apparel. Dapper Dan was a pioneer of streetwear.
  4. Baggy Clothes. Black men started the trend of baggy clothing, but Black women brought a new feminine twist to it. They made it acceptable to wear things that didn’t sexualize women’s bodies. As a plus, the fashion statement gives place to nonbinary individuals as well. Musicians like TLC and Aaliyah brought this style to the forefront in the ‘90s, and it is resurfacing today with oversized wide-leg pants paired with crop tops.
  5. Sneaker Culture. This trend started with youth of color who began wearing sneakers as everyday footwear and became a strong component of hip-hop culture. The emergence of basketball sneakers named after the best players in the game in the 1980s helped propel the popularity of sneakers forward.
  6. Afros. During the Civil Rights movement, Black women began to wear their hair in afros as a statement of solidarity against systemic racism. The early 2000s brought the style back as a natural hair movement swept the country. Black women stopped damaging their hair through chemical straighteners to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards and started embracing their curls. Black women embraced their haircare as a form of self-care and luxury instead of a chore.
  7. Protective Braids. Another hairstyle that Black women originated is protective or box braids. Women of color have used this style since 3500 BC. Women used designs and styles to convey status and individuality, and today use them as a form of self-expression and self-care.
  8. Lettuce Hem. Black clothing designer Stephen Burrows invented the beautiful and popular rippling edging on clothes in the ‘70s. Burrows used bright and bold design choices that led to the vibrant and colorful disco scene of the time. He was instrumental in opening the door for the “Black is beautiful” mindset, where people started celebrating differences and diversity. Many women still wear clothing with a lettuce hem today.
  9. Hoop Earrings. A form of femininity and resistance, hoop earrings have been popular among Black women for decades. During the ‘70s, they started as thin metallic hoops, but the style morphed to include thicker bands, which paved the way for bamboo earrings to make their entrance.
  10. Bamboo Earrings. Also known as “door knocker” earrings, this style has become a staple in the wardrobes of women of color. Some of the earliest celebrities to rock this style were the Salt-N-Pepa members. These earrings have become a symbol of resistance.
  11. Bucket Hats. Although farmers and fishermen used these in the early 1900s, the hats didn’t gain popularity as fashion statements until hip-hop culture emerged. Lisa Lopes and Jada Pinkett-Smith brought femininity to the style with their hoop earrings and bold lips. The trend has recirculated today, with bucket hats making a comeback among Gen Z.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too extra, too bold, or too different. The world needs you and your unique style. Who knows? Your fashion choices could be the next big thing.

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