Style – Fashion – Dress: From Black to Post-Black

Carol Tulloch
Fashion Theory, Vol14, No3, (21 Apr 2015) pp 273-303


This article examines terms that are central to critical thinking on dress associated with the African diaspora. Through a series of case studies produced and/or used in the UK, the USA, and South Africa, notably London, New York, and Soweto, the terms style, fashion, dress, black, and post-black are considered with regard to specific use, contemporary relevance, or past–present connections. Such multi-faceted links projected from the clothed black body are to be expected in diasporic practices. A key aim of this article is to expand on this and to think about these terms in relation to garments 274 Carol Tulloch and black bodies of the African diaspora as networks of ideas and concerns.

KEYWORDS: style, fashion, dress, African diaspora, black, post-black, networks

The title of this article is an amalgam of terms that are in need of reconsideration to progress critical thinking on dress associated with the African diaspora. Style, fashion, and dress, as we know, reference the breadth of dress studies, whilst the concepts of “black” and “postblack,” that include “blackness,” denote positioning around “race” and ethnicity at different moments in time. The combined presentation here of these sociocultural and political terms reflects the interlocked character of these entities that has emerged through the study of dress and the African diaspora.