ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

So Hot It's Cool: Street Style with an African-American Flava

Updated on April 27, 2014

Victoria Moore in Cool Street Style

Victoria Moore in a vintage leopard coat, pinstriped fedora, vintage shades and peach 1970s style roller skating tee.
Victoria Moore in a vintage leopard coat, pinstriped fedora, vintage shades and peach 1970s style roller skating tee. | Source
Victoria Moore in a vintage chubby, pinstriped fedora and vintage shades.
Victoria Moore in a vintage chubby, pinstriped fedora and vintage shades. | Source
Victoria Moore in a vintage chubby, retro t-shirt and vintage shades.
Victoria Moore in a vintage chubby, retro t-shirt and vintage shades. | Source

My Obsession With Kuro Gyaru Started With African-American Style

With the release of the movies "Lincoln" and "Django Unchained" and the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday on January 21 I've been thinking about what it means to dress as an African-American now. Does it mean following conservative guidelines exemplified by Michelle and Barack Obama, or does it mean being a free spirit and copying the Japanese Gothic Lolita style in frilly little girl dresses and matching parasoles? Fortunately we have a choice, so one day we can sport a preppy look and play golf and another, wild club gear, and dance at a club to electronic grooves. I, for one, am overjoyed that this new latitude has resulted in a wider definition of African-American style.

Influenced By My New Surroundings:

Since my recent re-awakening I can't help noticing the changes in my life that led me to my current mind set. It started with a major culture shock when I moved from one area where, within walking distance, I could go to my favorite thrift stores, art galleries, and restaurants in a multicultural neighborhood to one where I have to catch a bus or tram to wherever I need to go in town. In my new place I've become exposed to a predominately African-American and Hispanic population who wear different uniforms: for girls and women it consists of skinny jeans with layered tees under hoodies and boots, pajamas and house shoes in the winter and short shorts and mini skirts in the spring and summer and for the boys and men it consists of slouchy skinny pants with underwear showing and baggy pants with oversized t-shirts.

The other day, when I read my January 2013 "Vogue" and "Harper's Bazaar", I noted that it said that instead of short skirts longer hemlines would be "in" and instead of skinny jeans and pants only, wider-legged ones would be acceptable too. Replacing black would be black-and-white, pastel colors, green and red and lace detailing would join ruffles as part of the feminine accents added to separates. That's great, but how would the people I see in this area react to these sudden shifts in fashion? I don't know the answer to that question but I can't wait to find out.

Exploring the Neighborhood:

In addition to being exposed to people who dress apart from the fashion industry's standards I also started exploring the retail stores in the area to see what's available. Surprisingly I found some good stuff after shopping at the local Goodwill thrift store, Fallas, and Forever 21. I can't say that I'm a total convert, and will ever give up my own unique style for a uniform, but if I hadn't moved here I wouldn't have found different forms of inspiration based on African-American signatures. My favorite is the Japanese kuro gyaru ("dark skinned gals") gal unit called "Black Diamonds". Created in 2012, the style goes back to the 1990s, and is inspired by African-American r'n'b artists. I think it looks like blaxploitation stars Pam Grier ("Foxy Brown")and Tamara Dobson ("Cleopatra Jones"), with a little '70s "Soul Train" thrown in. Whereveer it came from it's 100% hot and 200% cool.

Black Diamonds:

So how did I find out about kuro gyaru since I live so far off the fashion grid? To make a long story short I was hipped to a website, www.tokyofashion.com, when I went to an exhibit called "Sweet Street" at the "WWA Gallery" in Culver City, California about a year ago. Funky and colorful it centered on art influenced by the U.S. in the '80s. After liking "tokyo fashion" on facebook I became a daily viewer. When I saw the "Black Diamonds" I became obsessed. I couldn't believe it, a style that actually celebrated dark skin and sexy African-American street wear!

Through my internet research I've discovered the "Black Diamonds" have created "an overseas branch named black diamonds international" to accomodate their growing numbers worldwide. Described as "girly glam style" , in Wikipedia, their look is a departure from the classical rules of beauty and instead of celebration of the artificial with "man-made wigs, fake eyelashes, fake nails" and outfits that consist of hot pants, graphically ornate tees, big belts, over-the-knee boots, animal print faux fur coats, leg warmers, bellbottoms and jumpsuits. Although most of the Japanese "Black Diamonds" wear the brand "D.I.A." and they just started a mail-order business, you can also put together your own kuro gyaru style from the Gap, H&M, Forever 21 and your local thrift store. To get the hair and makeup, you can visit a wig shop and go to a drug store for Revlon or Rimmel makeup.

In October, I'll be celebrating my two year anniversary in my "new place", and while I can't say it's been easy, it has been illuminating and educational. As for the future of African-American style I don't know where it'll go or what'll influence it, but I hope kuro gyaru demonstrates its positive attributes and it goes far.

Influential African-Americans and Blacks in Fashion Now:

1) Arise Magazine (African Fashion Magazine)

2) Model: Adwoa Aboah

3) Designer: Stella Jean (Haitian/Italian)

4) Actress: Lupita Nyongo (Featured as "It Girl" in the January 2014 issue of "Vogue" magazine)

5) Project Runway Winner: Philadelphia designer Dom Streater

6) Model: Joan Smalls (Featured on the cover of the January 2014 issue of "Elle" magazine)

Global and Ethnic Styles Are All The Rage

Do you think African-American style is a positive representation of the race?

See results

Style Doesn't Have To Be Expensive

5 stars for Fallas

Looking Good In The Neighborhood

A
Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.:
3860 Crenshaw Boulevard, Crenshaw Square Shopping Center, Los Angeles, CA 90008, USA

get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)