It's Fashion Week on campus this week initiated by the UWL's Gender Studies
program. And it is the intentional fashion messages speaker Dr. Tanisha C. Ford would kick off the week with Fashioning to Movement: Resistance and Appropriation From Black Power to #Black Lives Matter. Dr. Ford is the author of Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style and the Global Politics of Soul.
Dr. Brown's lecture began with a recap of the Black Lives Matter movement and social media's role with images of hoodies, jeans, people dressed casually, not in church going clothes and video clip commentaries of activist participants associating their memories to what they were wearing. ie Standing 4 hours in pink wedge tennis shoes in memoriam of Michael Brown's 4 hours lying on a Ferguson street unattended... Or
Hair was also part of the 'look'. The straight hairstyle of the white majority being replaced with more natural hairstyles of being close cropped/ afros. Black hairstyle wigs became part of the 60's wardrobe.
The images of Black Panthers are engrained with their sleek black leather coats and the beret, a global tie to Fidel's Cuban uniform. The uniformity of black dresses/ pants. Yes, a role identity attire of women wearing pants, not just men.
In the 70's African prints became part of the fashion scene as African Americans proudly wore traditional head dresses and caftans . And the dashiki became en vogue. But the question arises is it so cool for whites to be embracing this black fashion statement?
And then t-shirts started being worn with political messages.
The big question remains as to who is appropriated to wear these messages...
One thing we can agree on is the truth of these words on a t-shirt: "This Ain't yo mama's Civil Rights Movement."