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Black Designs that Inspired Mainstream Fashion
11. 03. 2021

Black Designs that Inspired Mainstream Fashion

Since last month was Black History Month we would like to take some time to look back on styles and trends that were created and influenced by black culture. It is clearly evident that fashion as we know it today would not be where it is without black creatives and innovators. So let's get started and take a look at some selects from our Costa Mesa store that were either inspired or made by black designers.
The first style trend we will cover is Monogram print or otherwise known as Logomania. This trend was popularized in the early 80’s when designers, most notably Dapper Dan, started subverting bourgeoisie haute fashion by creating new innovative designs using high fashion brands logos. These ironic “knock-offs” were often incorporated into new areas that the original designers had never considered such as home decor, lifestyle pieces, and whatever else the supply demanded.

Because high fashion logos were suddenly being applied to a variety of good from curtains to surfboards, it pushed the actual brands to incorporating their logos on their pieces. This brings us to today where you can find logos incorporated into the design of the item as you see above. The MCM luggage carrier is a perfect example of designers including their logos on atypical items not normally associated with fashion. Same goes for this Gucci purse, which uses the logo repeated as a pattern/print.
The next trend we will be covering is lettuce hem. This trend has really made a comeback from the 90’s within the last two years. Seen in so many small and big brands alike, this trend is definitely making a resurgence. Although the original design and trend of Lettuces Hem was created by prominent African American designer Stephen Burrows. Lettuce Hem is defined as a narrow zig zag stitching, formed by combining form and color.

When Diana Vreeland requested a “lettuce colored” dress, Burrows took it upon himself to create a hem style that would be replicated for decades. This tank top by Madewell features a Lettuce Hem cut on the straps, invoking a 70’s style with the color scheme and the use of knit. Same goes for this vintage lavender cropped cover. Both of these tops have a groovy aspect you can’t quite put your finger on, maybe it’s the Lettuce Hem, maybe it’s the color choices, who knows- but these shirts are a win.
The next trend on our list is oversized fashion. “Baggy” clothes have come and gone back in style throughout the years. The trend gained popularity in the 80’s due to hip hop culture where rappers and disc jockeys wore lose fitting pants and oversized shirts. This style was sometimes attributed to inner city kids who cold not afford new clothing, wearing their siblings hand-me-downs.

Whether this style was delivered out of pure tenacity of the black and low income community or was a preferred and desired aesthetic created by black culture, we solute our fellow black innovators who paved the way for styles to come. The beauty of oversized clothes is that you can find cool pieces at any thrift shop or second hand clothing store- just go up a few sizes and you’ve succeeded.
At the Costa Mesa location we found this 3XL Billie Eilish tour shirt. Not only is it oversized but, someone already got creative and made it into something fashionable and fun. The shirt is cut up to hang off the shoulders and cropped and knotted in the front to give this plain t-shirt some definition. Next these 3X over-alls maybe the color of the Ireland flag, but I couldn’t help but see some potential in them. Wear a tight fishnet shirt or mesh turtle neck to add some edge to these baggy over-alls to complete the look, and people will forget the over-alls could be worn during a Saint Patrick’s day celebration.
Certainly not the last trend black culture has inspired, but the last we will be covering is sneaker culture! Let’s face it sneaker culture is everywhere, and everyone should have a pair they love going out in. They are the best of both worlds they are comfortable and fashionable. Once again we will find hip -hop culture to be the culprit of this infamous fashion trend.
Sneaker culture gained in popularity with the advent of Jordan’s and all the glory that came after. Although not directly designed by Michael Jordan his influence and inspiration is what made the shoe what it is today. We would not be where we are today without he or Tinker Hatfield. Above we have a classic Nike Air Max which now has many color variations and has become a common Nike style seen around the world. We also have some sneakers from black designer and rapper Tyler the Creators Golf line. The shoes are a collaboration with Converse and each season brings a new inspiring color wave.
Next time you are shopping it is important to remember where trends and styles originated from. Recognizing a lot of style and fashion was brought to the mainstream by Black fashion creatives is the first step in honoring those who have given us these iconic fashions we have today.


Written by: Kahley Hickman