Documentary filmmaker Sacha Jenkins takes us through the evolution of fashion in the hip hop industry – both that or artists and fans – with the help of some famous faces, including Kanye West, Parrrell Williams, André Leon Talley and designer Dapper Dan.
Fresh Dressed sets out to examine the rose of urban street clothing from its use to identify gang members and leaders, through upcoming hip hop and rap acts dressing a certain way to appeal to their audience to the rise of designer labels being worn by those both on stage and off. The film is carefully constructed to allow the people who experienced and noticed these trends to speak for themselves, while current artists and designers are allowed their say as the film progresses.
Sacha Jenkins’ direction allows a clear line to develop from gangland fashion to today’s trends, while showing the history of the desire to look ‘fresh’ through the decades; from slaves being given good clothes for their church attendance, to white sneakers and clean clothes being associated with strong financial health. The film touches on the idea that clothing is used to cover up insecurity, but perhaps not as much as could have been expected, and the idea that clothing really is superficial is never really gone into at any great length. That said, the interviewees are knowledgeable and entertaining, and it is not always the celebrities that come out with the most insightful observations.
In all, Fresh Dressed is an interesting look at the correlation between hip hop and style, fashion and how we feel about ourselves. There are ideas brought up that are not explored as deeply as they could have been, but it’s a treat to hear high profile stars and designers talk about their inspirations and style. The fact that everything comes full circle with people now being inspired by and buying clothes from the internet, in order to express their individual style is just the icing on the cake.