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BLACK IVY: A Revolt in Style charts a period in American history when Black men across the country adopted clothing seen by many as the preserve of a privileged elite and made it their own. From the Oxford button-down shirt, the hand- stitched loafer, the soft shoulder three-button jacket, and the perennial military repp tie—these otherwise conventional clothes are instilled with an approach so revolutionary that you’ll never be able to see them in the same way again.
It’s a story about clothes, but it’s also a story about freedom—both individual and collective. It’s a story about a generation of people challenging the status quo, struggling for racial equality and civil rights. From the most avant-garde jazz musicians, visual artists, and poets to the most influential architects, philosophers, political leaders, and writers, BLACK IVY explores, for the first time ever, the major role this particular style of clothing played during this period of aspiration and upheaval and what these clothes said about the people who wore them.
Here you’ll see some famous, infamous, and not-so-famous figures in black culture, such as Amiri Baraka, Charles White, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sidney Poitier. You’ll see how they claim and then redefine Ivy Style—the dominant look of the time.
Boasting the work of some of America’s finest photographers and imagemakers, BLACK IVY looks at how a generation of men took the Ivy Look and made it subversive, edgy, cool and unpredictable in ways that continue to impact modern menswear to this day.
Written and Edited: Jason Jules
Art Direction and Design: Graham Marsh