TerryHowcott.com - Ravaged Cultures Spark a Cultural Revival
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ABOUT-INTRO



















Lookin' Good in Our Threads and Our Crowns


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.


Stay tuned.




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)."

Power and Politics



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.”

Player Hating



African Influences on Western Dress

"Despite the complexity, some broad patterns do emerge. The untailored wraparound garment has existed for centuries."

African Influences



Stylin': African American Expressive Culture From Its Beginnings to the Zoot Suit

Stylin'








"The Dy(e)ing" Art of African Textiles trailer

Adinkra Textiles










Men in Suits and Hats, 1910

Men in Suits and Hats



Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats

Crowns



African Hats and Caps

"In traditional Africa, helmets were used not only as protection, but also to show status or rank.

They can be carved from wood, cast in bronze or woven and embellished with horns, symbolic forms, cloth, cowries, metal strips and beads."

African Hats and Caps



Chief Mwenne Mbishi

Chief Mwenne Mbishi



Power Dressing: Men's Fashion and Prestige in Africa

Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis TN

Discover Black Heritage, Brooks Museum



Slave Clothing and African Culture in 18th and 19th Century

Slave Clothing and African Culture in 18th and 19th Century








African Fashion ~ The Fabric of Our History










Clothing as a Cultural Expression: African Fashion

"The quality and color of African textiles became an expression of wealth and knowledge in society and it became and indication of social hierarchy."

(Which from this site's perspective is unfortunate.)

Clothing as a Cultural Expression



African Cloth, Export Production and Secondhand Clothing in Kenya

(PDF)

Cloth, Export Production and Secondhand Clothing



Runaway Slaves in Antebellum Maryland

"The clothing which he took with him, as far as can be ascertained, was a black cloth body coat, and black pantaloons, not very much worn; and plain black Russian hat.

His working clothes, which he had on, are, drab pantaloons, which several patches on them, and drab coat, bull woolly; and a pair of new coarse pegged boots.

It is probably that he has a pass bearing the name of Samuel Wilson, (a deceased negro) from whose wife he endeavored to obtain said pass during the last summer."

Runaway Slaves in Antebellum Maryland








Wax Prints ~ The Fabric of Our History










African American Women's Headwrap: Unwinding the Symbols

"By contrast, a woman of African ancestry folds the fabric into a rectilinear shape rather than into a triangle."

Unwinding the Symbols



Ancient Egypt

"For makeup, they mixed color earth with oil. Men used eyeliner, as well as women . . ."

Ancient Egypt



Clothing in Africa

"Drawings of looms can be seen in the tombs of ancient Egypt, dating back to at least 2000 BC."

Clothing in Africa



Beaded Splendor

"Migration of Beadmaking and Beadwork Throughout Africa"

Beaded Splendor



Fashion and Style: Dress and Costume in Ancient Egypt

(at egyptologyonline.com)

Fashion and Style: Dress and Costume in Ancient Egypt



African Elegance

African Elegance



Kenya MP's Fight 'Colonial' Dress Code

"Three Kenyan members of parliament have entered the chamber in African clothes, in violation of rules dating back to the colonial era."

Kenya MP's Fight 'Colonial' Dress Code



Hat's Off!

Many African cultures throughout the continent have long considered the head the center of one's being . . .

Hat's Off!








Weaving Families Together










Fashioned From Reeds

"Along Madagascar's southeastern coast, 19th-century women's attire consisted of three plaited mats stitched together to form a tube, which was belted or pulled up around the chest.

Young girls reaching puberty also wore brassieres of soft and finely plaited reeds.

Men wore plaited-reed tunics or tailored jackets, which, softened with wear, provided comfortable protection from the elements while the men worked in the fields.

Both men and women wore boxy plaited-reed hats accented with colorful yarn embroidery."

Fashioned From Reeds



Dressing For the Afterlife

"Great variety exists in Malagasy burial ceremonies, but throughout the island cloth plays a major role in all burials.

In many regions, siblings, children, grandchildren and other relations are required to offer cloth to wrap or bury the body."

Dressing For the Afterlife



Funerary Room Gallery

"Supporters run with a cloth-wrapped coffin en route to the cemetary."

Funerary Room Gallery



Beads of Life: Eastern and Southern African Adornments

"For many African communities, it began with the sale of family treasures by people desperate for money in the wake of colonialism and other social and economic disruptions."

Beads of Life: Eastern and Southern African Adornments








Traditional Afrikan Cloth Making










Bag, Massai, Kenya

Cow hide, glass beads, iron, plant fibre

(at civilization.ca)

Massai Bag



Shell Beads From S. African Cave Show Modern Behavior 75,000 Years Ago

Modern Behavior 75,000 Years Ago



Slave Clothing and Africans in the 18th and 19th Centuries

Slave Clothing and Africans in the 18th and 19th Centuries



In Ghana, A Different Kind of 'Casual Friday'

In Ghana, A Different Kind of 'Casual Friday'



Where Africa's Kings Ruled, Their Finery Grew on Trees

" . . . pounding bark into cloth.

Their Finery Grew on Trees


Black Style

Black Style




The Birth of Cool: Dress Culture of the African Diaspora

The Birth of Cool: Dress Culture of the African Diaspora



Women in Islam: Hijab

Women in Islam: Hijab








The Costumes of "Labelle"

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.










Racism and Brazil Fashion Week

Brazil Fashion Week



New Raiments of Self: African American Clothing in the Antebellum South

New Raiments of Self



Bamileke Elephant Masks of Cameroon

Bamileke Elephant Masks of Cameroon



Slaves' Constructions of Masculinity and Ethnicity in French Colonial New Orleans

(Abstract)

"'Wearing three or four handkerchiefs around his collar, and elsewhere about him': Slaves' Constructions of Masculinity and Ethnicity in French Colonial New Orleans."

Constructions of Masculinity and Ethnicity



Out of Africa: The Incredible Tribal Fashion Show Inspired by Mother Nature

The Incredible Tribal Fashion Show Inspired by Mother Nature




The Cultured Body: African Arts Fashion and Body Arts

"Clothing and body adornment are a universal and highly personal form of artistic expression. They offer human beings their only opportunity to shape their presentation of self to the world."

(2002)

The Cultured Body: African Arts Fashion and Body Arts



The Global Circulation of African Fashion

The Global Circulation of African Fashion



Bemoaning Black Absence in Fashion Industry

(Which means build your own industry)

Bemoaning Black Absence in Fashion Industry



The Birth of Cool: Dress Culture of the African Diaspora (Materializing Culture)

(at africanpainters.blogspot.com)

The Birth of Cool



Goods from Brazil, Guantemala, Peru, Mexico

"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."

Goods from Brazil, Guantemala, Peru, Mexico,








Weaving traditional kente cloth in Accra, Ghana










Jewelry and Makeup in Ancient Persia

"Archaeologists have discovered various instruments of make-up and ornamental items in the Burnt City, which date back to the third millennium BCE."

Jewelry and Makeup in Ancient Persia



Global Circulation of African Fashion

"This book traces the changing meanings, aesthetics and histories of the thriving informal African fashion network through its multicultural cross-roads of Los Angeles, Kenya and Senegal."

Global Circulation of African Fashion



The Black Fashion Museum

(Which has since closed)

The Black Fashion Museum



Fashionable Daughter of the Jungle

"Notice the tattoos, pierced jewelry, and other decorations of this tribal woman photographed in the forests of Central India, 1977"

Fashionable Daughter of the Jungle



Dress in Senegal

"Obviously this is going to turn out into a big ‘project’, so I’m just going to put in this article a few photos and links from Senegal to whet your appetite."

Dress in Senegal



African Dress

(Sister with beautiful beaded garment)

African Dress








Dyeing Art - Indigo & Cola Nut Textiles










Kente Cloth: A Selected Bibliography

Compiled by Ruth A. Hodges, Reference Librarian, February 1994

Moorland-Springarn Research Center, Howard University

Kente Cloth: A Selected Bibliography



Analysis of Historic and Contemporary Dress: An African Example

(Abstract)

"The primary data were 607 photographs of members of an extended family of Yoruba people in Nigeria."

Analysis of Historic and Contemporary Dress



A Cultured Body: African Fashion and Body Arts, 2002

A Cultured Body: African Fashion and Body Arts, 2002



African Headdresses - Wigs

Southern African Tobacco Bags



Adornments of the Samburu in Northern Kenya

"The primary significance of the book is in its academic description, but it also offers good reading for becoming acquainted with the world of rich adornments of the pastoralists of East Africa."

Adornments of the Samburu in Northern Kenya



Harriet Tubman

"Few clothes were available to Harriet so she usually wore the same soiled dress. Their small home was inadequate protection from the cold.

On terribly cold nights, Tubman slept close to the fire; she sometimes covered her toes in the smoldering ashes to prevent frostbite."

Harriet Tubman








Space Is The Place

Excerpt Featuring the Dress of the Interesting, Dramatic Sun Ra and His Band, Approximately 1974










Cloth, Dress, and art Patronage

Cloth, Dress, and art Patronage



In Search of a True Igbo National Attire

"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."

In Search of a True Igbo National Attire



Kente Cloth from Ghana

Indigo Arts Gallery

Kente Cloth from Ghana








The Omo People

"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).

The Dhoti and The Dashiki



History of African Batik

"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."

(Sadly)

The Dhoti and The Dashiki



African-American Aesthetic of Dress: Current Manifestations

"This paper presents support for an African-American aesthetic of dress that has its roots in West African culture."

African-American Aesthetic of Dress



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."

Elimination of Suits and Ties a Step








Fashioning Peace In Kenya A Documentary by Joshua Bee Alafia











Dynasty and Soul

All the best to these talented, thoughtful, conscious Sisters who are also twin sisters.




Picked this up at the Kalamu blog

























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Terryhowcott.com has made every effort to ascertain the origin of all photos, and is eager to cite all work.
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