black 80s fashion

Black 80s Fashion

The 80's Blog May 17, 2022

When it comes to Black 80s fashion, the styles of the decade amongst African American communities was just as vibrant as their Caucasian counterparts. Though it isn’t really referenced much when people talk about 80s fashion, one could argue that Black 80s fashion was even more creative and stylish, and we hope to highlight some of the more popular trends here.

So what exactly were the Black fashion trends of the 1980s?

Black 80s Fashion

Fashion in the 1980s amongst the African American community was heavily influenced by 80s hip hop fashion and celebrity culture in general. Here is a list of some of the most notable fashion trends of the era.

1. Fat Laced Shoes

fat laced shoes
Fat Laced Shoes Were A Popular Black 80s Fashion

Hip hop was very popular in the 80s, and one of the biggest fashion trends of the time was the fat-laced shoe. This trend involved using bigger laces than the shoes typically would have, and also to weave the laces in opposite ways.

Sometimes people used starch on the laces to make them bigger. This trend was so popular that big companies like Adidas, Puma, and Nike decided to use them in their shoes.

2. Hoop Earrings

hoop earrings 80s
Salt N Pepa Rocking “Hoop Earrings”

When it came to earrings, it’s common knowledge that very large earrings were in style during the 1980s. However in African American communities, hoop earrings were the style that seemed to be the most prominent.

These earrings become popular during the Black power movement in the 60s, but they really became famous after celebrities like Tina Turner and Janet Jackson started wearing them. Once the black community saw some of their biggest stars wearing them, they soon became a staple of black fashion that was ubiquitous.

3. Snapbacks

80s black fashion ice cube
Ice Cube Sporting A “Snapback” Hat
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Snapbacks have been around for a long time but were made famous in the late 80s by celebrities like Ice Cube and Tupac Shakur.

Initially worn as a quick way to do your hair, snapbacks became synonymous with black fashion of the era once some of the biggest rappers of the day started appearing in them regularly.

4. Logomania

Logomania is basically fashion that is covered in some designer logo. Many people argue that this trend was started by Gucci and Louis Vuitton. But for Black people, this trend was started by Dapper Dan in the streets of Harlem in the 1980s.

80s black fashion dapper dan
“Dapper Dan” Was A Logomania Pioneer For Black Fashion

Dapper Dan screen printed some popular logos on leather and started to sell them locally. Not only on clothes, but he printed on everything from car interiors to curtains. This logomania trend soon caught fire, and from then on fashion plastered with logos became a thing in the black community.

Many celebrities like LL Cool J, Jay Z, and Floyd Mayweather support this fashion trend still today, and its popularity among black people has only gone up since its humble origins with Dapper Dan.

5. Colorful Nails

colorful nails black fashion
Colorful Nails Were A Big Black 80s Fashion Trend

Colorful nails have been around for some time, but the trend was made really made famous in the Black community by Florence Griffith Joyner.

At the time she was perhaps the fastest woman in the world, and when she appeared on television after winning gold medals at the Olympics, the first thing people noticed was her colorful fingernails. Soon after more and more Black women would style their nails this way, and the popular trend of colorful nails has been a staple of Black Fashion ever since.

6. Grillz

grillz 80s
Grillz As A Fashion Actually Go All The Way Back To The 1980s

This trend first became popular among Black people after Shabba Ranks used a gold tooth while performing. Soon after other hip hop artists like Raheem the Dream also started using them causing Grillz to explode in popularity.

Grillz became a trend for Black people all around America in the late 1980s and beyond. A grill can be either one tooth or multiple teeth, and typically were made of gold, though these days metals like silver and platinum are used as well.

Is 80s Black Fashion Still Around?

Black 80s Fashion trends don’t often get the praise they deserve, but the styles were fresh, innovative, and most importantly enduring. Many of these trends that came out in the 1980s are actually still around today. This contrasts non-Black 80s fashion quite a bit where arguably the majority of those trends we don’t see in society today.

No matter what we use or wear, the 80s has been a trend-changing time and Black people have been in the front pioneering a way forward that we still admire to this day.

Browse 80s Black Fashion On Amazon Here