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Black Harlem/NewOrleans/Jazz/Blues Style: History, Trends, Status, Availability?


Senior Member
May 1, 2008
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CAN I FEEL YOUR DIFFRUNT-LOOKIN HAIR ? Everytime I see photos or documentaries or movies exhibiting the menswear styles and sensibilities produced by Black American culture up until about 30 years ago, my mind is blown. The cuts, the colors, the patterns - it just strikes me as so much more vivacious than conservative American and British styles; only the daring French and Italians really seem to come close, and even then Black Americans had a lead of decades on them. Harlem, New Orleans, Memphis: in various times and places, there were just so many brilliant ideas happening, completely original and individualized looks abounding. So where is the whole scene at now and how'd it get there? I was born in the mid-80's so I don't have a clue about anything before the mid-90's, and all of the black people in my family are my age or younger so they're no better prepared to know than I am. I can't find out anything about how it progressed since the 1970's; that's when lines start to really blur in the midst of wholesale and universal wild-and-crazy experimentation in fashion. Then when things quiet down again, "urban" styles without relation to classic menswear seem to come to the fore on the popular scene, and it seems like black professionals and artists overwhelmingly prefer to enlist the services of tailors and designers who produce in the European styles. Then hip hop trends hold sway amongst the main of the youth as well as the most active and popular musical artists, leaving no room left for classic menswear as interpreted by and expressed through black culture - except, apparently to me, for a few designers/brands who I think represent a colossal degeneration of black style into the realm of cheapness, laziness, ignorance and vulgarity; just as stores/brands like Mens Wearhouse represent all of those degenerations in relation to conservative European style. So did that sartorial heritage die or devolve, like so many others have? Did it, like upper-class black society, come to merge with upper-class white society, representing a corresponding fusion of menswear style - but with tame "white" style dominant, and black style relegated to details, accessories and intangible attitude? Did hip-hop consume utterly and alter irrevocably every expression of popular/mainstream black style? What happened to all the tailors and designers who were making such distinctive articles for decades? Please tell me that there is a whole world of such tailors and designers alive and well, of which I've been ignorant, and that the best of them isn't (the modern) Stacy Adams. Please tell me that there is a more qualified keeper of the flame than Andre 3000. Please tell me that you find this guy ridiculous too. And, assuming that you can respond affirmatively to those pleas, then please give me some links where I can see just what the new stuff is looking like.

mr monty

Distinguished Member
Apr 12, 2002
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You can start with some Japanese men's fashion magazines. Checkout Last, Leon, and Men's Ex.
Those magazines are loaded with urban styling that not hip hop centered. You should be creating your own flame?


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