I wasn’t going to write about anything negative today but I do find the recent article ELLE France published regarding Black style, and it’s disappearance, interesting. My friend Timmhotep tweeted the original head-scratcher piece to me, written about over at Black Voices and after I wrote up Big Freedia, I went back to the original ELLE link to read it via Google translate, then suddenly, I couldn’t. The link to the questionable piece is now an error. Mmhm.
In the original piece, ELLE France’s writer Nathalie Dolivo tried to write a piece on black style, citing the dashing Obama couple as an influence on Afro-European fashion but ended up fumbling with racist undertones.“For the first time, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged [only] to its streetwear codes.” “But if in 2012 the “black-geoisie” has integrated all the white codes [of fashion], they [do so not] literally. [There] is always a classic twist, with a bourgeois ethnic reference (a batik-printed turban/robe, a shell necklace, a ‘creole de rappeur’) reminiscent [of] the roots. It [has] shifted, [it is] new, desirable, powerful.” via AOL Black Voices
She also referenced last year’s “should I be offended?” black fashion piece written by Jon Caramanica in the New York Times.
Wait, so when I dress in my favorite Madewell gear, I’m dressing like a white girl? Suddenly, I’m in high school and using proper english according to some color struck classmates means that somehow I want to be white. Neither assumptions are true. It’s unfortunate that style is boiled down to white and black codifiers, the former being “chic” and the latter ultimately, “ethnic.” Fashion writers are confusing a pattern trend for a unilateral cultural staple. And here I am watching U.S. President Obama’s State of the Union, thinking things were different.