In honor of Black History Month, Macy’s has been celebrating by hosting The Soul Era event featuring fashion and style guru’s June Ambrose and Johnetta Boone. I had the pleasure of attending the DC event last night. Moderated by journalist and editor Tai Beauchamp, the event took place at the DC Metro Center Macy’s on G Street. The style panel delved into the history of Black fashion during the 60’s and 70’s and the ways Black culture has heavily inspired the world of fashion today.
To start the discussion, the moderator asked the ladies to define black style. Hearing what Ambrose had to say really stuck out me. She expressed that “…when thinking about style I don’t put a color to it…I think about personality, I think about energy…” She went onto say as a culture, we have a lot of expression, energy and flare and when it comes down to it, style is style and she doesn’t want to put that in a box.
Focusing on 60’s and 70’s style Ambrose smiled and said soul era fashion says, “I’m coming out and I’m fearless!” Boone agreed and pointed out that “…fashion is celebrating who we are…” During the soul era, we took pride in celebrating who we were by wearing our afros, platform shoes, and bright colors! Highlighting the fashion of Pam Grier, Ambrose recalled how carefree, provocative, yet classy that era of fashion was. Wearing bell bottoms and crop tops was what it was about! Fashion icons of the soul era like (Pam Grier, Diahann Carroll and Sammy Davis Jr.) made their clothes come alive and as a culture, we weren’t afraid to gravitate and accepted it.
Ambrose, a die-hard fan of big furs, sequins during the day and turbans also highlighted the importance of Black designers in today’s fashion world. While there are so many, not enough are being celebrated or given a chance to showcase their talents on a larger scale. She stressed the importance of understanding and grasping the business side of fashion first. Having the big picture in your mind is great, but having a plan to get there is vital. That’s what sets you apart and that’s what allows you to have longevity (in any) industry.
It was amazing to see so many different styles in one room. And I think costumer designer Johnetta Boone hit the nail on the head when she said, “…that’s what you get in our culture – a combination of skin tones, hair textures and body types…” Black fashion and our style is a big melting pot and it’s forever changing and evolving.
Being at the Macy’s Soul Era Event was empowering and provided a fresh perspective on soul era style. With that, I’m ready to continue making my mark on the world of fashion and style, one outfit at a time! Check here to see when this event is coming to a Macy’s near you.