Fresh Dressed was released in 2015 and directed by Sacha Jenkins. This documentary embodies the story of how hip hop has affected the fashion world. Fashion means individuality. Clothing was a way for people to show their distinct and unique sense of style. From times of slavery to modern day, fashion was an influential aspect in African American culture. In order for slave masters to be considered “good Christians,” they would make sure that their slaves had at least one “good” outfit when going to church. From this, the term “Sunday’s Best” was born. Generally, people would attend church wearing their best attire. This trend has naturally followed us through the generations from Africa and seeped into our everyday lives, culturally inspiring our style.
Hip Hop has been a major influence on the fashion community. Fresh Dressed starts with Gino and Rosa describing their outfits enthusiastically during an interview. They sported Kangol hats and Adidas with fat laces. This trend was called “B-boy/B-girl”. A B-boy or B-girl was a person who is known for dancing to the drum break section of a song. The fad began in the Bronx in 1973. The majority of rappers dressed in “B-boy style”. According to Run DMC, they decided to dress this way in order to connect to their fan base. The fans would be able to relate to them and say “he looks just like me.” During this time, “Dress for Success” was popular in schools. Also, gangs or street families began to emerge during the seventies in the south Bronx. Men in gangs would wear Lee’s jeans and denim vests with motorcycle jackets underneath. In 1971, a member of the Ghetto Brothers, Cornell “Black Benjy” Benjamin was murdered for attempting to prevent an altercation between two rival gangs. On December 7, 1971, the Ghetto Brothers organized a peace meeting and a truce was formed.
The street was considered a runway for different clothing brands. People who grew up in the projects that wanted to make a statement would wear loud colors. For example, guys from Brooklyn or “Brooklyn Cats” would war Clarks shark skins and Cazal glasses with no lenses. The colors of hip hop originated from graffiti. Jean jackets were the first canvas for hip hop. At the time, customizing one’s jeans was popular. Fashion designers such as Dapper Dan and Shirt King Phade were at large. Dapper Dan owned a boutique in the city and would remix designer brands on pieces of clothing. Unfortunately, Dapper Dan’s boutique was shut down for copyright infringement and Yo MTV Raps blurred out his designs. There were other fads that came and went during the 80s and 90s like fat laces, baggy jeans, Cross Colours, and Karl Kani.
This documentary gave me more insight into how fashion was impacted by hip hop. I was intrigued by how people made their outfits distinct. Fashion is a way to communicate one’s personality in a new light. There is so much history crammed into this documentary and I would definitely recommend it to people who want to learn more about how hip hop coincides with fashion.
Catch it on Netflix or purchase it by clicking on the Rent or Buy now links below!