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African Influences on North American Fashion, Historic and Contemporary

Africa has had a considerable impact on North American fashion. From the dress of the enslaved to the styles of the 1960s and 1970s to more contemporary fashion apparel and accessories, the African influence is undeniable.


Any serious discussion of fashion, however, must begin with the concept of fashion itself and what it means as related to dress. A widely accepted definition of fashion is “the prevailing style at any given time,” and it is this comprehensive definition of fashion that is used throughout this entry.

Although the terms dress and fashion are sometimes used interchangeably, they are not in fact synonymous. They are, however, interrelated. In its broadest sense, dress is everything worn that enhances and identifies the wearer. In addition ...

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