Black activists and supporters used fashion to express their solidarity and support of this civil rights movement. Supporters adorned symbolic clothing, accessories and hairstyles, usually native to Africa. Politics and fashion were fused together during this time and the use of these symbolic fashion statements sent a message to America and the rest of the world that African Americans were proud of their heritage. They aimed to send an even stronger message that black is beautiful and they were not afraid to embrace their identities. An example would the Kente cloth, it is a brightly colored strip of cloth that is stitched and woven together to create different accessories. This woven cloth of brightly colored strips of fabric became a strong symbolic representation of pride in African identity for African Americans of the 1960’s and later. It was developed into what is called a dashiki, a flowing, loose fitting, tunic style shirt. This cloth became one of the most notorious symbols of this revolution.
Fashion is a popular aesthetic expression in a certain time and context, especially in clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle and body proportions. Whereas, a trend often connotes a very specific aesthetic expression, and often lasting shorter than a season, fashion is a distinctive and industry-supported expression traditionally tied to the fashion season and collections. Style is an expression that lasts over many seasons, and is often connected to cultural movements and social markers, symbols, class and culture (ex. Baroque, Rococo, etc). According to sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, fashion connotes “the latest fashion, the latest difference.”