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3 Black Fashion Historians on Black Culture’s Most Influential Fashion Moments

by Sha Ravine Spencer

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The intricacies of Black culture in every aspect is deeply woven into the fabric of the fashion industry, from vernacular and hairstyling to aesthetics and trends. Yet, fashion’s biggest inspirations are constantly erased from its history: Bantu knots have become space buns, durags are now edgy and high fashion, bamboo earrings are runway-worthy jewelry, all in the name of cultural appropriation. Black culture has served as the muse behind fashion’s biggest movements and designer collections without so much as a credit or acknowledgement.The unsung heroes and hidden figures that are the Black designers, stylists, and creatives have given more to the fashion industry than they’ll ever receive in return. Now, Black fashion historians are documenting and making Black fashion history visible, readily accessible, and easily shareable through social media, literature, galleries, and more. Below, we spoke to three Black fashion historians about the complexities of Black culture’s influence on the fashion industry and the impact Black women, men, and members of the LGBTQ+ community have undoubtedly made not only in fashion, but within pop culture, as well.

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