New book ‘Black Ivy’ chronicles 1950s Black men’s style

It has been announced that there is a new fashion book chronicling the Black adaption of the men’s Ivy fashion style. “Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style” gives an intimate look into the fashion craze of Black men in the 1950s sharing vibrant color and black and white photos of Amiri Baraka, Charles White, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sidney Poitier who adopted and redefined the prep look that derived from the style of elite white men.

“Ivy” is short for Ivy League, which became a fashion style in the 1950s after wealthy white men attending Ivy League schools began to dress in the casual sporting attire of upper-class men of the 1920s.

“Black Ivy style became a thing in and of itself, distinct from Ivy but always related to it. Ironically, the characterization of Ivy league clothing as quintessentially cool is due in no small part to the enormous, but until now undocumented, influence Black Ivy style has had on mainstream culture—past and present,” says editor Jason Jules in a statement.

Jules is a Black style expert and creative director whose in-depth knowledge of the Black Ivy style shines as the collection of images offers the reality and breadth of a look that became a signature for prominent Black men all over the United States, particularly in the Northeast. Jules’ personal style is also of note. His dapper, crisp and colorful choices of clothing allow him to be front and center as a style innovator. He holds the prominent position as the face of the British menswear clothing line, Drake’s.

The book’s co-editor, Graham Marsh has been covering the history of Ivy fashion for years as the author of 2010’s “The Ivy Look: Classic American Clothing––An Illustrated Pocket Guide” with J.P. Gaul and 2011’s “Hollywood and the Ivy Look” with Tony Nourmand.

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“The old adage, it’s not what you wear it’s how you wear it, is never truer than in the case of Black Ivy style, where the classic Ivy wardrobe was comprehensively raided and then remixed and re-envisioned, away from its elitist confines, away from its mass-market popularity, and into something heavily coded and intentionally revolutionary,” expresses Jules.

“Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style” will be released on December 7, 2021 by Reel Art Press.

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