About a year and a half ago I was roaming through Barnes and Noble searching for something to read, when I came across this book. "Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl's Love Letter to the Power of Fashion" by: Tanisha C. Ford, of course I was immediately drawn to the title. Dressed in Dreams is the story of a Black girl discovering her own identity and style, through fashion and her own cultural influences. In this book Ford goes through the ways in which fashion for Black girls is a representation and an expression of who we are. The way in which we style our looks are influenced by our music, our neighborhoods, and our history. My favorite chapters are 6: "Coochie Cutters" and 8: "Bamboo Earrings." Although Ford and I grew up in different areas of the country these were definitely fashion staples for the Black girls in LA.
I remember being a little girl watching my older cousins get dressed to hit Crenshaw or World on Wheels, wishing I was older so I could tag along. Talk about snatched! My older cousins set the standard for us younger ones. A fresh hair do from the salon, and a fresh full set of nails were taught to us as standard self maintenance. My sister and I spent many hours in the Compton nail salons waiting for our mom and cousins to finish getting airbrushed, or charms put on, all while we were trying to glue the leftover nails the salon owners would give us on our tiny fingers. Those were the days, My young mind was introduced to braids, waterfalls, finger waves, J's, Guess Jeans, LA Gear, and so much more before I even knew what fashion was.
Reading this book took me on my own memory lane of fashion and growing up blessed with the rich texture, style , and influence of Black women. Fashion is a key component of Black female identity yet Black women are hardly accredited or even acknowledged for their contributions in the fashion industry. I've seen too many times luxury brands being deemed innovative for featuring looks that are clearly taken from Black women and Black culture i.e... Bamboo earrings, baby hair, braids, du rags, hell even the donuts we use to make from socks to create the perfect bun in our hair. Dressed in Dreams will take you back to where some of our favorite style aesthetics originated. I've included some photos below of the people in my family who influenced my style growing up a.k.a. the first influencers:) Thank you.