Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Original Tribal Trend

I've been really thinking about our motivations behind wearing certain styles recently. I know tribal has become a huge trend in the past few years, but for the life of me I don't know why it became so hugely popular. The trend seems to be a watered down regurgitation of the social and artistic movements of the 80's and 90's. These movements inspired fashion trends at the time, but those trends seemingly came from a much more meaningful place than the tribal thing going on now.  

We already discussed Paul Simon's Graceland this week which was not only his opus, but a political statement on the apartheid happening with South Africa at the time. Then you had the popularization of hip hop with Afrika Bambaataa and groups like A Tribe Called Quest. The graffiti movement a la Basquiat and Keith Haring (both heavily influenced by African culture, tribal colors and patterns). There were shows like "A Different World" and artists like Queen Latifah. All of these artists popularized the tribal/african style and trends in the 80's and 90's. 

Although the trend now seems to be tribal ANYTHING whether it be Native American or African, I don't see the motivation behind it. No social or artistic movement, and I can't help but wonder why? After examining it for a bit I've realized it's actually sadly ironic. Patterns mimicking art created by tribes of people historically oppressed by white Europeans now being reinterpreted by Ralph Lauren and worn by white people everywhere! Vogue Netherlands recently featured white models painted in black face sporting trends influenced by African culture

This isn't so much me hating on the newer tribal trend as it is me trying to re-examine our motivations in trends in which we choose to partake. Do we wear things intentionally or are the pieces we wear strictly aesthetic and meaningful in no other way?

What do you think is the motivation of the new tribal trend? Is there one? 
Are there any socio-political fashion trends you've noticed happening recently?
Do you find the models in Black face offensive, or do you think it's drawing attention to the very thing I mentioned in the previous paragraph?

So many questions! Too heavy for a Wednesday?
{T-Shirt: Vintage (Similar Available here)}
{Shorts: Vintage (Similar)}
{Shoes: c/o Charlotte Russe}
{Glasses: Similar}
{Blazer and Earrings: Thrifted}


  1. that nappy-ass braid on yo head<33333 Personally, part of the fun of fashion is knowing the inspiration and movement behind what I wear. Though I agree, much of that seems to be completely lost today- everything today is a "trend" when they used to be considered "movements" fueled by social issues. Movements don't equal $$$ for big biz...but trends do. Trends are all about keeping up with the Joneses, and the more pressure we can put on people to do that the more money they spend and as the saying goes, the world goes round. (That faux movement shit like Toms and Pink Ribbons does seem to rake in the dough though...god even the movements themselves are a trend!!)

    So heavy for a Wednesday ;) Love ya chica. You are officially out of any "funk" you may have thought you were stuck in<3

    xoxo Britt

  2. Love it, the blazer looks amazing in this look! :D

    xx MJ

  3. Several things to say here, first you look gorgeous as always. Second not too heavy for a Wednesday. And last, I don't know what started the tribal trend. I also don't know what started the tie a shirt around your waist trend... which i think is useless. But I have to say I love love love Native American turquoise jewelry. I'm not sure if that can be included in the tribal trend per-se but I like wearing it and feeling like it's part of something much bigger, that it actually means something to a people and a culture. When I went to Santa Fe it was so cool to browse through all the antique turquoise jewelry and blanket coats made with those somewhat tribal prints (like pendelton). Again I just love that stuff because it really feels like perpetuating a really special culture.... if any of this makes sense. :)

  4. simple but so vibrant! i especially love those earrings... amazing find!

  5. awesome look, loving the blazer !


  6. I wouldn't do it better myself.

  7. What a gorgeous look! Love the bold colours.

    And I also love how thought-provoking this post is. I can't speak for African-inspired fashion, but as a Native American, I love seeing Native American images and prints in current fashion! It makes me proud to see my heritage pop up in today's trends, and I love wearing things like that. It is really interesting to wonder how tribal prints started becoming a "thing", though - I like to think it's just because us Native Americans are so fabulous, everyone wants in on our style. :P

  8. I think your ideas are interesting, the tribal trend comes and goes, and i think it often depends on local in Vietnam, their ethnic minorities have the most amazing clothes ( google search Sapa clothing images and you'll see what i'm on about), I am scared to go to Sapa cos I will spend all my hard earned money on some of these AMAZING colorful patterns. The weird thing is that Vietnamese think these clothes are tacky, cheap and no one wears them except tourists and the tribes themselves... BUT I LOVE THEM. So, I guess the tribal trend comes down to personal choice, and a bit of cultural choice too.

  9. Hmmmmmm, you gave me food for thought. It is ironic actually, I never thought of it that way...I'm really not sure where the tribal trend came from...or Bart Simpson trend for that matter. What is it about all those Bart clothes, people are going hysteric over them. And Bart Simpsons is not even the most interesting character on the show, not like Moe, or Skinner, or Homer...
    And I'm pretty sure most people who wear Bart shirts haven't even watched the show -_-
    But anyway..I think trends these days are just there to make money, not to make political or environmental statements.

    You look extraordinary as always my dear. Adore the vidid colors ^_^

  10. cute casual look! check out my blog and join my Oasap giveaway! xoxo

  11. The jacket looks like linen, isn't it not? I love linen, crazy over it especially for warmer weather. Red linen is a stunner and getting it thrifted is even sweeter! Loving this look and the hairdo.. so romantic!

    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES (a fashion and life-style blog)

  12. WOW this IS heavy for a wednesday! But I like it :) Um,, I dont really like the trend so much. Im not sure what the motivation is behind it... I just dont like it so much.

  13. I always like when trends come from music, and for me when wearing trends, and I tend not to, the inspiration comes always sweet tunes. I think nowadays everything is a trend, they come all at once, it can be very confusing and impossible to keep up to. Anyway, love Paul Simon, do you know his old Greatest hits album, with Still Crazy and Slip sliding away? Love that one.
    But nothing is new, or not much so things will be rehashed till they have no meaning anymore. Btw you look great, dig that blazer!

  14. i'm down with the tribal trend to a point. i love the idea of bringing the cultures of tribes from different corners of the globe into the mainstream. i mean i'm trying to start a company based on that very idea. however, i'm all for giving credit where credit is due and what gets me is exactly the watering down that happens when this trickle effect takes place. what starts with good intentions when someone brings say some ikat fabric from indonesia to make a small clothing line ends when urban outfitters coopts that very fabric and has it mass produced in china. if you're not supporting/can't even name the tribe maybe don't rock the tribal trend.


  15. Great post on examining the tribal print. I mean seeing tribal print is nothing new to me. As a whole we don't have movements really anymore. Everything is just taken from the past in some form. As for the models doing black face, I'm so over companies using shock value to keep their name relevant. They've done it so much at this point it's ridiculous.

  16. I'm not sure what is the motivation of the tribal trend...but one thing's for sure: you are my motivation to wear more red garments this spring/summer! :-)

  17. I don't know why tribal is popular right now either. Honestly, I don't really know how anything becomes a trend. I guess a bunch of fashionable people wear something kind of new and then everyone else wants to wear it. lol Love your red blazer!
    Sincerely, Sara

  18. great shoes! love them!

  19. what the EF girl you are so rad!! Like this post is perfect, all your posts are perfect, your writing is perfect, your photography is perfect. I'm now going to be obsessed with your blog, ok? So many emotions right now.

  20. Never thought about it that way.. You really put things into perspective!
    I do love the colors you used here, especially the red blazer.
    Naomi, x

  21. Awesome outfit!
    I was researching festival fashion over the weekend and saw that the tribal trend is heavily featured in this type of outfit. I wonder why that is? I agree that it's always interesting to research the background of a trend and I like that you went a little more into the details of the subject in this post.

    xoxo Iris

  22. Models in Black face is really offensive. Why they don't just hire black models? You look totally amazing btw.

  23. Looking hot in this chica...your hair, earrings and shorts! LOVE! :)



  24. I think about our motivation behind trends every single day.

    Tough to figure out what's aesthetically pleasing vs. what's being motivated by some subconcious desire for mimicry or what not.

    I read this really interesting article on tribal print last year, and immediately thought of it when I read your post!
    maybe you'll find it interesting too:


  25. I stumbled upon your name on a post in Cupcake's glad I came here for a visit!!! Love your pictures, love your vibe and now I get to like the second post and you get down-right thought provoking beautiful! Big Score! I love tribal inspired pieces! Remember when Lana Del Ray's video caught so much flack too?? Can't wait to continue reading more & visit your shop!!

  26. Really digging that hairdo! Cool shirt and absolutely loooveee that red blazer *stealsandrunsaway*
    Maya - Archistas


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