My light bulb blared rays of imagination when Mikel informed me of something I hadn't known all these years. Ebony Fashion Fair does not - I repeat does not - focus on Black clothiers and designers. I almost blew my top before I remembered who we were talkin' about.
That brought me to there is no space at terryhowcott.com dedicated to African dress - that is, ancient to contemporary Black dress.
So as I return to these few beginning culture gallery panels - that were filled at the launch of this site long before I understood the depth of the work I might do here - it occurs to me how perfect this space is for presentation of our outer wear.
Here is still another measure by which we as a people exhibit our cultural grace, non conformity and our resistance - and of course sometimes our assimilation (that many of us either effectuate with a cringe or at least are mindful of the old traditions).
Our sister at the thumbnail is slammin' if you like polka dots and a little conflict (for me one out of two ain't bad), and she is gorgeous if you relish particularly dark skinned Black people as I do (as evidenced throughout this site). Finally, she and this beautiful person to the left are majestic if you can imagine in their features their presence pointing at the first sunrise as I can.
We'll see what we can come up with here to make this a worthy tribute to our ancient and contemporary elegance. After all, noone on the planet has been so sharp - looked so good in our clothes - for so long.
The Power and Politics of Dress in Africa
"Formerly, Allman says, studies of African clothing were more narrowly ethnographic and did not recognize the political and historical importance of clothing in Africa, a shortcoming Allman sees as a manifestation of a "failure of scholars to take African history seriously" (p. 2)."
Player Hating and Setting Rigid Controls for Nothing But Africans
"They need to know that, according to Shane and Graham White, in Slave clothing and African-American culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Oxford Journals, 1995), “newly arrived Africans were quickly clothed in European garb and made to conform” to White “concepts of decency.”
The Group Labelle, took the Diaspora by storm with their revolutionary, flamboyant, theatrical, colorful, provocative - "futuristic" costumes that, married with their incredible voices - catapulted them as central figures in the history of Black garb and costumes.
"The collection contains Guatemalan textiles from Central America, and feather work and household implements from South America. Collected in the 1960s, the South American collection focuses on the people of the Amazon Basin, notably the Tapirape, Caraja, Bororo, and Urubu.
The feather work masks from these eastern Brazilian peoples are particularly noteworthy."
"Culture they say is the sum total of a people’s way of life, in this regard the culture of a people could be evidenced in the people’s language, native customs, food, music, dance, occupation and skills set, dress etc."
"These images arrived in a PDF from someone in Belgium. These are probably Mursi and Suri. The Omo River empties into Lake Turkana. Lately, it's been spoiled by too many tourists, probably lured there by images like these."
(And from Hawaii to the Omo river, we see that ruination all around us. Here see our beautiful Ethiopian Brothers and Sisters as they transform their bodies to artistic masterpieces).
(This video briefly shows men's genitalia, and women's breasts).
The Dhoti and The Dashiki
(Note Dashiki's are wonderful when worn by women, just as well).
"Local populations like the Yoruba in Nigeria incorporated aspects of the wax printing into their tradition textiles, and little by little the trend caught on.
When the Dutch and English began trolling the coast of West Africa in the seventeenth century, they brought their wax (wax batiks) and non-wax (roller prints) fabrics, targeting a local population already poised for their consumption.
With time, they began tailoring their European-produced prints to refined African tastes, tweaking designs down to each region and port."
Elimination of Suits and Ties is a Step in the Right Direction
"Finally, and thankfully, the ugliest men's fashion in history is disappearing. This elimination is not only important for beauty, but also has deep implications in terms of conformism and conservatism, both of which are thankfully disappearing as well."
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