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I saw a reference to this article in Women's Wear Daily when I looked at the Ivy Style blog. I read the article and thought it interesting enough to post a link in this forum. I've been skeptical about some of Ralph Lauren's approaches and influences, but this is one that I like! I had always wondered about the clothes worn by civil rights leaders in the fifties and sixties and black college students of the time. Rather more photographs and moving images of the former than the latter, but it is clear that the trad influence was there. And musicians and entertainers (like Miles Davis, for instance) certainly adopted some trad styles in the images they wished to project.


And from the RL site:

 

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The Washington Post has a longer form article with some quotes from Ralph Lauren. He's surprisingly candid about how little he knew about the black experience in America.

You can find it here.
 

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He's surprisingly candid about how little he knew about the black experience in America.
As am I, with this post. White here in New England in the 60s was an unearned blessing that hid our ignorance, brought home, again, by my reading in February of Striver's Row, a novel set in Harlem during the 40s. Wow. What I didn't know.

*by Kevin Baker, final volume of a tremendous trilogy about NYC.
 

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Peaks, your point about how much is hidden about the black experience from predominantly white communities is commendable and very well taken. I think an awareness of the experience of a minority community is essential if the majority is to begin to work with them in effecting change. Our appearances and our physical differences often mask our basic humanity, and hide how much we share with people of different ethnicities. The images of students at Morehouse and Spelman and the background of old academic buildings, laboratories, lecture halls, and well-dressed students bring to light how much these institutions and those who work and study there actually share with traditional Ivy schools that are much referenced when we talk about Trad styles. Perhaps shared clothing traditions can be a way of bringing majority and minority groups into the same fold. We're all Americans, and even beyond that, we're all human beings with similar aspirations. In the hyper-polarized culture of 2022, it is often easy to forget that basic fact.
 

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I am impressed by the striking photographs accompanying the RL Marketing campaign. At a time when HBC in general are struggling to survive and articulate a resonating mission statement, it is gratifying to see RL embrace them. Hopefully the associated high profile attention will have a positive long term affect.

As for the photographs- convert them to B&W, then add some grain, and it would be easy to conclude that the photos are from an archival collection of c1920s era material.
 
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