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In Retrospect: Styles of the 70s

 Written By: Rebecca Alexis

 The 1970‘s was the peace movement gateway fostering the era of individual style. In America, the longing for self expression was a shifting trend that made waves after a feeling of mistrust in government post Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement pervaded the masses. People felt the need to convey themselves beyond the confinement of society’s structure. As African Americans were making strides to equal rights and dispelling prejudices that kept them from opportunities, they expressed immense pride in their culture. This strong vocalism united Blacks in many ways as they chose to embrace their features that were once denounced as inferior.

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In Retrospect: Styles of the 70s

The movement also encouraged men and women to cease damaging process of hair straightening and skin lightening products while embodying traditional garbs and lifestyles.  African American influence on fashion, style and beauty was virtually unparalleled during the 1970’s.

 The “Black is Beautiful” movement transcended fashion and music as individuals expanded their revolution to multiple fads.

    

Men and women dressed alike to show their equality. African-Americans proclaimed their pride in music such as James Brown “I’m Black and I’m Proud”. Fashion demonstrated freedom as people didn’t feel inhibited by mixing patterns and colors and blending afrocentric textiles with their American denim. This movement was evident in hit boy band Jackson Five, they were soulful and unrepressed by a previous generation that felt limited. The first black woman, Beverly Johnson to grace the cover of American Vogue, happened in the 70’s. The message was accessibility for all people. 

 Soul Train was introduced to America in the 1970s, the widely influential African American television show depicted the latest fashions and dance crazes. The movement was political and commercial.

 American designers dominated the disco 70‘s. Their reign paved the way for retailers to supply options to build personal style. From Geoffrey Beene’s clean lines, Halston’s flowing seamless dresses and Ralph Lauren’s successful menswear clothing, American fashions were synonymous with the times. Al Green showcased suits with wide lapels and fancy suits in polyester and Marvin Gaye expressed his bluesy politic with safari jackets and knitted caps. Music’s synergy with fashion was flagrant and bold as it drummed in the beat of the disco movement. Black fashion exhibited a sense of entitlement to style and owning fashion on their own terms. Men wore plush velvet tuxedos in powder blue like The Spinners in their live 1977 performance

Women were fearless with explosive afros portraying a sense of pride and cultivating a sense of black beauty that was increasingly becoming marketable such as soulful Roberta Flack. 

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