As another September rolls around, designers are showcasing the latest fashion trends.
For men, trends this year bring the spotlight of the runway back to the retro look of men in the early 20s and 30s with a modern kick that is popping up in fashion shows and retail stores everywhere.
For black men, that means taking a look at the fashion of the Harlem Renaissance and bringing classic conservative style into the 21st century.
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Len Burnett, Co-CEO and Publisher of Uptown Magazine, says it’s good to see men taking pride in wanting to look good and taking pride in the image of the black man once again.
“September is sort of the fashion marker on the calendar but [black men] dress well all year round,” Burnett said.
Burnett, who is also Co-CEO of the Vibe Lifestyle Network, added that it’s also great to see young people in their teens and twenties taking an interest in their own personal style.
With trendsetters and icons in the black community embracing blazers and bowties instead of saggy jeans and fitted ball caps, the modern renaissance man look is spreading rapidly.
“I think something else to be said, you know with President Obama, look there’s a stylish cat,” Burnett said. “Our president has swag…and I think a lot of the kids look up to that as well.”
A DEFINING MOMENT
This isn’t a trend that has resurfaced overnight. In the last two decades prominent black celebrities have been slowly but surely transitioning their fashion sense from double XL t-shirts and baggy pants to tailored and sophisticated suits.
Will Welch, senior editor of GQ magazine, says that the change really kicked in when David Stern, NBA Commissioner, instituted a mandatory dress code requiring players to wear suits. A decision that was considered controversial, Stern’s dress code has stayed in place, and Welch says it’s for the better.
“We all grow up idolizing NBA stars and that hasn’t changed, but what has changed is these guys are wearing suits and really figuring out ways to make them their own,” Welch said. “In a way that’s been super inspiring. Young people are like ‘I wanna look like LeBron when he’s at the post-game press conference. I want to look like that, I want to wear a suit and know what a tie bar is or what a lapel pin is.”
SPREADING THE MOVEMENT
Stylist and designer Marc Clark is just one of numerous young black designers who are emerging as prominent voices in the world of black fashion. Clarc says that in fashion, everything circles back around after a few trend cycles. Now that the retro look is cool again, he says it’s making this generation more fashion conscious.
Clark also says the renaissance look is popular again largely because of the impact technology and access has on the younger generation.
“It just, it all goes back to social media in my opinion. Everything is on Tumblr, Twitter. You can see pictures from the renaissance movement on Tumblr and Twitter, on Facebook pages,” Clark said.
MAKING IT PERSONAL
With styles constantly changing, there are no hard and fast rules on staying stylish Clark says. It’s all about the way individuals make looks their own.
“This generation is more so personal style. More so how you as an individual can pull off this look, opposed to you as an individual pulling of that look, or what someone else did,” Clark said. “If you look good you feel good, and if you feel good you look good.”