Black people have always been extremely influential in widespread media - when one thinks about many of the major players of the music, art, modeling and fashion scene, there are many Black creatives who have helped build the complex media scope of the United States and the world. With that being said, the influence and ideas from these trendsetters actually tend to be overlooked or taken without due credit.
For example, specifically in fashion, big corporations have been caught multiple times “stealing” styles originally designed by smaller, Black-owned boutiques and shops. Another example is the way that many white celebrities in the past have originally bashed Black styles as “ghetto” or “ratchet,” but then later use these same Black fashion trends without doing much to actually support or assist the Black community and creatives.
While I am a white person, I have always enjoyed and appreciated creative ideas originating from within the Black community. I fully recognize that many people don’t give these originators who contribute massively to our media the credit they deserve. This is exactly why I want to help bring awareness to the major contributions of Black style trends in the fashion world, and discuss some of the iconic trends from the recent years that got their start within the Black community.
1. Hoop earrings
Now a staple in many people’s jewelry boxes, these statement earrings (that go with anything) originated from Black people’s wardrobes and culture.
2. Sneaker culture
Sneaker culture has been a large player on the scene for a while, with many people using their sneaker collection as the “home base” of their style.
3. Acrylic statement nails
Popularized by Black women, in the past couple of years acrylic nails have taken off and taken over the mainstream. They’re a good way to look fashionable 24/7 in any style.
4. Nameplate jewelry
Nameplate jewelry was popularized in the Black community and then blew up when Carrie Bradshaw, the main character of "Sex and the City," made it her signature style piece.
Think of streetwear as the mother of today’s athleisure, one of the most widespread styles across all demographics.
6. Bucket hats
Bucket hats, while usually a more alternative piece, have recently become very stylish, especially when it comes to streetwear.
Tracksuits also fall under the Streetwear/athleisure category and are a perfect way to stay comfortable and still look put together. They were extremely popular in the ’90s and early 2000s.
8. Statement sunglasses
Statement sunglasses have been a player in style for a while now in many different ways. Black people originally popularized neon statement sunglasses that can upgrade any look.
Black communities popularized the obsession with name brand logo-filled clothing pieces, such as items covered with Louis Vuitton, Gucci, or even Champion.
The reality of all of this is that we need to acknowledge and celebrate the influence of the Black community’s style more openly. One way to do that is to support Black creatives directly: shop at Black-owned boutiques for one-of-a-kind pieces that will help make you a trendsetter. Additionally, it is vital to support the Black community in general by donating to organizations and signing petitions that help Black people and their fight towards equality.