Brand Partner: Tommy Hilfiger

EP3: Statement Piece

All white, top hat, Sunday best, black beret, denim – these have been tools of protest and catalysts for change throughout history. Now we’re unpacking the relationship between what we wear and what we believe.

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Cotton

Cotton is a widely accessible and cheap material with complex histories and global implications. Although several continents have grown and used the material for millennia in the development of their dress, its placement in the American South is particularly fraught with trauma.

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Styling the Quad: Fashioning the Legacy of HBCU Culture

There are many access points to discussing HBCU style and its impact, which continues to persist into the future. The evolution of its spirit from respectability politics to individuality, to a mixture of both today, highlights that the Black experience is extraordinarily vast and only aims to build a community that empowers its members into levels of success that were not historically afforded to them.

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Sporting Kente Cloth

Kente cloth is associated with the Asante ethnic group in present-day Ghana. Though the fabric was historically worn by royalty, it had become widely accessible by the late nineteenth century. Though kente cloth has long been associated with regality, it has also had an important influence on the global sportswear movement, starting with the 1964 Olympics and Muhammad Ali’s visit to Ghana and now utilized by the likes of Virgil Abloh and Nike.

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Fashioning the Protest

The relationship between protest and fashion is both a negotiation and a rejection of mainstream norms, which has been a major influence on the development of Black adornment and style over the course of the twentieth century.

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Willi Smith

American born designer Willi Smith was an incredible designer but an equally incredible multidisciplinary artist, collaborator, and entrepreneur, whose trailblazing efforts helped permit fashion to be free of conventional forms and allow everyone from the wealthiest to the masses a chance to partake in its future.

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Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke was, arguably, the first soul singer and an enormously influential figure in the genre, not the least for his innovative musical contributions. Cooke’s styling choices showed an acute awareness of image creation and marketing, but also an evolving identity:

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Eartha Kitt

“On August 4, 1952, Life Magazine published a feature on Eartha Kitt, then 24 years old, who had returned from performing abroad to stake her claim on Broadway in a production titled New Faces of 1952.” A profile of legendary American born entertainer and activist, Eartha Kitt.

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