Several iconic fashion trends are rooted in Black culture. Many of which people know and many that are unknown due to the discredit the Black community receives for their unwavering contributions to fashion. Because it’s Black History Month and we are a Black-founded publication, we thought it’s our duty to share with you six major fashion trends established and made popular by Black individuals that still exist today.
Michael Jordan made sneakers famous, period. His effortless style of white sneakers, basketball jerseys, caps and tracksuits are still honored today but the explosion of Air Jordans birthed a generation of collectors. In the ’90s, the obsession turned into swap parties, events and gatherings in search of rare, vintage or limited edition collectable items. Consumers, men specifically, saw kicks as a relatively affordable item to possess while still showing off individuality and style. Today, sneakers are just as important to any wardrobe — especially in sports and fashion.
Popular Black-owned brand, Cross Colors, changed the game with their “clothing without prejudice” collections that was marketed to Black youth. We first became aware of Cross Colors movement T-shirts and color blocking when Will Smith paraded around in them on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The innovation with patterns, color blocking and mixing was seen as a refreshing new way to styling and influenced future television shows.
Admittedly bucket hats were not founded by Black designers but instead, gained popularity through Black people. Originally used for farmers and fishermen as protection from the rain, bucket hats went mainstream when ’80s Black rapper, Big Bank Hank wore one on a TV show and then again when LL Cool J sported his signature red Kangol bucket hat multiple times to the Grammys. Now you see teenagers and “Gen Z” brands capitalizing on the nostalgia of bucket hats, without knowing their history and claim to fame.
Logomania, or the act of reproducing a repetitive pattern or branded monogram logos was made popular by the founding father of streetwear, Dapper Dan. Truly you don’t have Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or Burberry logomania without Dapper Dan. He revolutionized this movement with his small shop in Harlem that catered to the culture. Dan would take old luxury items and recreate them into one-of-a-kind pieces for friends, rappers, and the residents of Harlem. Essentially, he was knocking off high fashion by putting his own flare on it.
Originally seen on off-duty baseball players but made famous by Black icons like Tupac, Will Smith and Ice Cube.
Fat Laced Shoes
Undoubtedly a very strange trend, fat laces were inspired by skateboarders and made popular by New York City’s youth in the early ’80s. They would stretch laces, spray them with starch and iron to make sure they were big enough before weaving laces in the opposite direction. If done correctly, it was a signal to the outside world that you were hip and down with the movement. Nike, UMA and adidas soon followed suit.
Photo via Nike