Inspiration for fashion trends come from a variety of sources and arguably one of the main sources is black culture. Over the years I have witnessed styles worn primarily by black people transformed into major fashion trends. Although aspects of this can be problematic, I have decided to discuss some big trends that originated from black culture.
Trainers were not always a fashionable shoe. Because of how cheap and long-lasting they were, poorer communities tended to wear them. As black people tended to populate such communities (due to socio-economic factors), trainers soon became a hall mark of black culture. Brands such as Nike, adidas, puma and fila were worn widely. Over time this style gained traction outside of the black community and people started wearing trainers for more than just sporting activities. Thus, the trend of fashion trainers began and grew widely.
Bucket hats, snapbacks and baseball caps
Caps and hats of these styles were also big in the black community. In the UK, people used to refer to these as ‘roadman caps’ (which has negative connotations) to signify that black people often wore them. As urban styles and streetwear started to gain more popularity, it is no surprise that these caps also became very popular.
Jewellery, especially gold and diamonds, are often a symbol of wealth. As hip-hop gained more popularity and rappers were making more money, many of them invested in expensive jewellery as a means to display their wealth. Gold chains and customised diamonds became a signature look for a successful rapper. This look now takes the form of layering of jewellery and wearing several rings at once.
A tracksuit was often a black man’s outfit of choice as it is comfortable, durable and easy to style. Fashion is not something that society allows black men to explore, and tracksuits are an easy way to look fashionable whilst conforming with society’s expectations. The same brands that produced fashion trainers also produced bottoms and jumpers in matching styles. For these same reasons other people started to wear tracksuits and they soon became a trend. Tracksuits are now the perfect lazy day outfit.
Long acrylic nails
When it came to nails, the clean natural look was always preferred by the middle class. Anything longer than a natural length, or any colour or design was regarded as tacky and cheap. Hip-hop starlets such as Lil Kim and Missy Elliott showed off their intricately designed claws resulting in this trend taking off in the black community. Now, long acrylic nails are worn by all women and regarded as part of a put together look.