Black Culture’s Impact on the Fashion Industry

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about 5 fashion icons including Stephen Burrows, Iman, and others. To continue celebrating Black History Month, we want to highlight some of the trends Black culture provides us. 
As I’m sure you’re aware - if not, you’re about to be - the relationship between the fashion industry and Black culture is...complex. Brands may embrace Black artistry; however, they will also exploit these creators. If that isn’t enough, the industry has a tendency to white-wash Black creativity for the masses and refuses to give credit for new and classic trends. 
Being a Black owned fashion brand, we think it’s important to teach others about the contributions Black culture has given to the fashion industry over the years. When researching this article, I was surprised to learn that some of my favorite styles come from the creativity of Black designers. Although, at the same time, I was super disappointed that, as a Fashion major, I had NO idea where they originated. 
Let’s check out a few current styles gifted to us by Black culture. 

Acrylic Nails + Nail Art

It’s no secret that acrylic nails are a favorite for our femme sisters, and thanks to style icons like Olympic athlete Florence Griffith Joyner (aka Flo Jo), we can go just about anywhere to get some! Although I would definitely recommend letting the pros put them on for you, but that’s just me.
While acrylic nails were technically created in China during the Ming dynasty, modern day acrylics were created in the 50s. Along with Flo Jo, model Donyae Coles wore them on a magazine cover in 1966, and singers Donna Summers and Diana Ross were frequently seen with long, red nails, complete with sparkling rhinestones.
From Donyae Coles to Flo Jo, Black culture brought acrylic nails to the fashion world. 

Wearing Your Sunday Best 

I don’t know about you, but I’m from the south and grew up hearing this expression. Never knew how it started though! I always thought it was just a southern thing...I was wrong. 
So during the Harlem Renaissance (1900-1920s), fashion expectations changed in Black culture. When going in public - social events, weddings, church, etc - wearing nicer clothes were expected. At the time this included things like ruffles, full sleeves, brimmed hats, and formal collars. This time also saw the rise of pinstripes, wide-brimmed hats, zoot suits and wide lapels. 
Anyone else feel like traveling back in time to try on a zoot suit?? 

Sneaker Culture 

This trend is not only still current, but it has grown immensely since introduced by Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash in the 80s. Michael Jordan definitely helped continue moving the trend forward, and it’s still going strong! There are even sneaker conventions and events now!! Sneakercon...YES PLEASE! 

Patterns, Primary Colors + Color Blocking 

If you read our blog post a couple weeks ago, 5 Black Style Icons You Should Know, you’ll remember Dapper Dan and Stephen Burrows. You can thank them for fun patterns, like this one, primary colors, and of course color blocking! While these three styles may evolve over time, their foundation was created by these two amazing designers! 

Hoop Earrings 

Is there a more classic piece of jewelry? Possibly, but I’m not going to admit it here! Fun fact, these fun accessories were created way back in 4th century in Africa - more specifically present day Sudan. Hoop earrings have been powerful symbols ever since in a myriad of non-European cultures. The oh so stylish Egyptians considered hoop earrings a fashion essential, as did the Gadaba tribe in India and the Hmong women in Vietnam. 
Over the centuries, hoops have evolved. Now they aren’t just for individuals who prefer a more feminine look...we have masculine hoops. Everyone can rock this timeless classic! 
There are so many classic styles and current trends we were gifted by Black culture - including each and every piece of clothing and accessory available at HauteButch
What are your favorite styles Black culture has given us??? Leave us a comment, and let us know!