Black Women’s Fashion Influence Throughout History

African American history has influenced style for centuries. For many generations, Black culture has shaped hair, fashion, and music trends. It continues to serve as prime inspiration for popular culture globally to this day. Fashion allowed African Americans to express themselves and live their truth during that specific period. Read how Blacks boldly influenced style during these four eras in history!

Harlem Renaissance

During the 1920s to 1930s, at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, black culture in art and fashion was on the rise. Blacks were able to express their unique style in many different ways. Women’s fashion conveyed elegance and extravagance. Women sewed their own dresses adding rhinestones and other flamboyant decorations. Their outfits were complemented by silk gloves and classic hairstyles such as pixie cuts, bob, or updos.

Civil Rights Era

The Civil Rights Movement merged politics and fashion. African American showcased their pride in culture by wearing their natural hair and embracing their ethnic features. In the black community, fashion rejected white beauty standards and represented a change for society. Fashion allowed blacks to become more confident in themselves while continuously fighting for their rights. The all-black uniform created by the Blank Panther Party symbolized strength and embraced blackness from top to bottom.

Motown Era

Music and Fashion have always been a perfect harmony and that is what the Motown era has shown us. Showcasing spectacular custom-made wardrobes, Motown fashion was sharp, bold and loud. Artist like Diana Ross and the Supremes sported sleek and sparkling attire. Headbands, heavy eye make-up, and bright colors were the talk of the town!

80s-90s Hip-Hop Era

Whether you were rocking Adidas like RUN DMC, or an asymmetrical cut similar to Salt-N-Peppa -- you had to be fly! Style during the 80s was all about chunky chains, bright colors, and even shoulder pads! The 80s included neon shorts, leg warmers, and windbreakers. Transcending into the 90s, artists like Aaliyah and girl group, TLC, mixed men and women styles while rocking major labels Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Kani.