My Innovator project is about my passion for fashion and how it is presented throughout people’s everyday lives including mine. To many fashion is seen as a way of life. It’s a creative way of expressing one’s personality through appearance. I found a way to incorporate different and exotic types of styles. My goal was to sketch out apparel and then create them on illustrator. This was a challenge for me because I'm not fimiliar with Adobe Illustrator and it gave me the chance to explore and learn new tools that will help me when I pursue Graphic Design in college. At first I did not know about the history of fashion and how it was developed through the years but I admire clothes and I wanted to take a risk by exploring the back strory.
I choose this idea because I have always admired clothing. Everyday I wake up, grab my phone and check the weather. I ask myself how can I make my outfit look good to fit this forecast. It’s simple, I love to look good. My innovator project was to design clothing. Sketching out pieces of apparels based of fashion icons such as Kanye West and Asap Rocky was something I looked forward into doing. Some like Kanye, demands respect. The term Yeezus sounds like jesus and he wants everyone to worship him for everything he does. He has a song in the Album Yeezus called “I am God.” This is how he reveals himself as and it has boosted up his clothing line as well. This then developed my research paper on African American fashion. This topic was very interesting to me because I am a young black man that appreciates nice clothing. Black people are willing to take power by any means.
Now fashion is being reclaimed as black. What is better than learning about how Black fashion began and developed throughout the years. When it started off with the Black Panthers wearing all black, created a political statement within power. My research paper had so much influence on my creating my designs. I don’t really know about the history of fashion and how it has developed through the years but I admire clothes and I wanted to take a risk by experiencing and learning about the past. Trying new things is something we all feel uncomfortable but I wanted to take a step out of the box and incorporate different types of styles into my artwork.
I research how black males used identity, ownership, power, and community in order to project their image throughout the society. I wanted my clothing to influence the icons I look up to but at the same time include my own flare. Since there was not much research on African American fashion on the internet, I thought to myself that my classmates wouldn’t know much more about the topic as well. My collaboration with people were unsuccessful. I didn’t really work with anyone on my innovator project. My clothings were all based off on what I liked and my own styled garments. The most I did was ask random classmates where I should place certain details throughout my designs. If I could do this project differently I would have used my time more wisely and use all my resources such as more feedback from students and teachers. I wanted to make this a challenge and try to learn everything on my own but I really should have asked for more help all of the teachers. Without very much experience and my first year in freestyle as a senior, I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator. I got a lot done with the pen tool. I used to be horrible with the tools but I learned how to use different types of strokes and fills. Most of all I realized that organizing your layers is very important! If not you may confuse yourself and delete things on accident and it’s just way more difficult to manage. With this unit I learned that you must manage your time wisely and stay on schedule because you can fall behind very easily and everything will just become very stressful. Once you fall behind you will try to rush to get back to where you want to but it’s not good to rush your work.
I valued this project a lot! This is not my strong suit but i’m willing to express my art within fashion and try something new that has always caught my attention. With freestyle I finally have been given the opportunity to try new things. I really enjoyed how we got to choose what we were truly passionate about. It gave me the urge to actually work on something I was heartfelt about. If it wasn’t for this project I don’t think I would have been able to try new things that I have always appreciated. Freestyle is a great opportunity to do what you want. Getting “free” time to create something in your own “style”. For next year students I recommend to take advantage of this project because it truly benefits you in the long run. Being able to explore a project you have always been energetic about is something a lot of students don’t get. So cherish every single moment you have.
This is my slideshow of my artwork that I processed through Adobe Illustrator.
Baggy stitched camouflage long sleeves with holes and rips. Slate tan joggers with athletic shoes. These are the kind of precise details I notice when I encounter the likes of modern, African-American fashion icons. Whether it’s the expensive, baggy apparel of Yeezus or the sharp, slim-fitted, ghetto approach of Rakim Mayers, the clothes they wear make an impact on how we perceive them. Whether or not you realize it consciously, the clothes that we wear have been an important form of expression and culture throughout history. Identity is one of the most riveting concepts in the humanity of African Americans. Using fashion has built and reconstructed how we identify ourselves in our everyday lives. Appearance style gives an individual the ability to promote the person they are and who they intend to be. Ownership played a major role within the black community. Being able to have the power was something we all wanted. Fashion gave the strength to overcome racism. For example, The Black Panther Movement and how they stood up for their rights. They wore all black clothing for justice. Black leather trench coats, black slacks, black boots, and black hats. This was the daily attire during the civil rights era and it gave them the superiority they always wanted in order to feel powerful. Fashion speaks for itself, whether it’s positive or not, the black community has the media and people talking. Till this day this gave the black community the foreground to present themselves with identity, ownership and power.
The rarity of black designers in the fashion industry are uncommon, but there are many who made their way through adversity. “Not only in their designs, but in creating opportunities for other designers of color.” (Complex) Today there are many male influential fashion artist in the African American society such as Sean Comb aka P. Diddy, Russell Simmon and Kanye West.
If you were to travel around the world, the clothing that people wear not only give you an insight into their culture now, but also the people that came before them. You can go to Mexico and find an extensive amount of people rocking ponchos on any given day, a garment that is still relevant despite being designed in 500 B.C. Fashion is a distinguishing and persistent tendency within style in which a person dresses. It is a influential form of demeanor and can represent one’s costume and culture. Fashion reflects individual lifestyle and there has always been a constant change and evolution within this artform. Designers produce seasonal trends and unique styles that are typically created using different material, fabrics, and garments In modern society, these trends have helped to dictate what we wear and more importantly, people’s perception of what those clothes mean. Fashion is apart of our everyday lives and can be one of the most identifiable aspects of one’s culture. Fashion, throughout history, has created a explanatory identity within many racial backgrounds. It is a statement and speaks for itself with no words needed. In the 19th Century, the first designer to have his own label sewn into the garments of his own apparel was Charles Frederick Worth, paving the way for individuals to show their own personalities through clothing brands. Today when people wear the brand Nike, we are inclined to assume that person is somewhat athletic. And when you encounter individuals wearing brands like Prada, Gucci, and or Rick Owens it’s natural to think they have the money to spend these types of apparels. Because fashion is so influential in shaping people’s perception and stereotypes of each other, it is imperative that we are conscious of what we wear and how we present ourselves to the world. There is no doubt that fashion has reached all races and cultures around the world. Growing up in the United States as a black man, I have watched as my culture and fashion has been defined by stereotypes and misconceptions, a far cry to what my ancestors had in mind. The cultural appropriation of black culture is at its peak in the Unites States mostly by the media, celebrities and a social trends. The history of black fashion influenced everything from business to churches to the political movements of the Black Panther Party, this has been seen throughout the black community. Growing up in the United states as a black teenager, I have had a lot of experience seeing my culture and fashion be given a new definition than what my ancestors had in mind. We tend to notice the more prominent results of civil rights and serious political activism in the 1960’s, primarily the for altering the country’s political and cultural relationships, but it has also strongly impacted the way we, as African Americans, dress now.
The values of community identity and ownership are rooted in the 1800s, fashion was seen to reveal complexity. People dressed in attire appropriate for manual labor or whatever task they had for the day. Despite this lack of diversity and expression throughout the week, fashion still managed to play a role on one special day. Professor Josef Sorett, an expert of religion and African-American culture at Columbia University pointed out that, “Sunday was the morning where the slave or the sharecropper was transformed into a saint. They went from being a servant to a deacon. By naming each other as brother and sister, and by putting on their finest attire, black folks both affirmed their own humanity, and imparted respect to one another. They did all of this, with style.” During the times of slavery and post slavery, black men and women looked forward to wearing their Sunday best for church. It was the only day out of the week that was appropriate for them to pay attention to style, without the restrictions of their work attire and tiresome lives. This gave them sense of freedom, self worth and individuality within their own community. They were no longer seen as a mass of people to be exploited for their work, but on this day they were seen as humans who could do the simplest thing, in today’s mindset, as wearing the clothes that they wanted to.
The influence of fashion in the black community has stirred up controversy between what should and should not be worn. People that stand out are seen as a threat. It is seem to be rude and arrogant. The
The media plays a huge role in the way that people view and set social norms, mostly at the expense of others where they use certain people as an example of what not to wear or do, while at the same time others are praised for doing another thing. The fear of being ridiculed and pushed away from the group motivate most individuals in society to go with the flow and do what others say are “in style” or “cool.” Stepping out of our comfort zone and rising above what the media has portrayed us to be is true freedom of style and self expression. The black men are often depicted in a negative light, including roles like “the black sidekick of a white protagonist, for example, the token black person, the comedic relief, the athlete, the over-sexed ladies’ man, the absentee father or, most damaging, the violent black man as drug-dealing criminal and gangster thug.”. To be anything other than this is a lack of conformity towards the real “gangsters” that act tough and hard. One is going against the preconceived ideas of what you should look like so others think that you are trying to become more “white” or you are “whitewashed”. As defined by Urban dictionary, a site used by young people to find out what slang words mean, whitewashed is [a]n absurd, patronizing term used for non-white (usually black) people who don't fulfill their negative racial stereotypes. This term insultingly implies that one's ethnic identity is mutually exclusive to the lifestyle and respect that a white person can expect in his or her lifetime. Celebrities like Asap Rocky are exposed and criticised for wearing the clothing that they choose because it seems too feminine for the kind of music they write. Being in the spotlight everyday is a part of their careers and it’s no surprise that they have been faced with a lot of judgment because of their music and the way that they present themselves when they go out. When A$AP Rocky was faced with one of the many accusations that rappers face[different word] about getting money from their careers and then changing into a whitewashed individuals who party with A-listers and buy high end clothing, he had an amazing response. Rocky stated that “When I see dudes wearing high-end designers that they weren’t wearing a year ago and rips in their jeans and gold teeth and these nappy braids and stuff I just look at it like we’re doing something right,” he said. “I really like the fact that the urban community has accepted high-end fashion’”. The media is known for creating tension and questioning society's views on individuals. When it comes to black males we continuously face the judgement of nothing being able to be ourselves without
I wondered how deeply the media’s portrayal of black males have affected my classmates and even my friends. I asked them what the stereotypical attire for African American males were, the first comments I received were, “baggy pants, oversized shirts, and some J’s (sneakers).” Even though I have known them for several years and I don’t wear the “average black attire” the style said the attire that they see in the media. In our society the perception of being black is projected towards those physical traits. Nowadays, for the ones that are trying to make a change to do what’s best for them, the media aggravates and opens a discussion whether or not things such as clothing is acceptable.
Today, black American men are responding to pessimistic stereotypes by dressing up as a method of survival. Fashion is changing the way we live. To some, it may just be apparel but to others clothes have a meaningful role in one’s individuality. When dealing with visual judgement, fashion and apparel have the potential to cover up the bad impressions and stereotypes which a “typical” black person can be associated with. As African American teenagers males try to present themselves as respectable citizens and cover up as many flaws as possible they are not seen as men anymore. It tends to take away the true meaning of a “thug” or gangster”. Fashion has influenced many icons such as artists like Kanye West and Trinidad James.