Before I begin, I’d like to introduce myself a bit. I’ve recently moved back to Florida from NYC and am ever so grateful for the constant sun. I’m a Biology major at Cornell University, but I believe my true love to be art and fashion. This love has continued to grow as I am inspired by more and more every day. In the past year, I’ve began working with Cornell Fashion Collective and have had my eyes opened to so much creativity, passion and knowledge in the world of design. From a young age, Lourdes has always been a fashion and lifestyle role model to me, and has inspired me to dive deeper into current fashion, culture, and society. In my coming blogs, I want to delve into some fashion history, and put in the spotlight some modern artists and designers that are worth attention. We learn so much from one another and our different backgrounds, and I want to celebrate what every person, group and culture brings to the fashion table.
(Jane Stevens pictured above.)
The JS Journal Entries - Pt. 1- The Boho Soul Movement
With modern technology, especially social media, we are constantly exchanging ideas and trends on a global level. I believe people are more creative than they’ve ever been. I also believe we are being exposed to so much more, including a more intimate relation with communities and cultures that are not our own. It’s important, however, to give credit where credit is due to past and current muses.
Milou embodies a free-spirited, worldly lifestyle, often inspired by new fashion talent. I’d like to focus on the history and inspiration for this Bohemian influenced, chic style. The term Bohemian dates back to the 18th century, and there’s something quite beautiful the way the dictionary defines it: “socially unconventional in an artistic way”. It’s synonyms include: “nonconformist, free-spirited, avant-garde”…you get the idea. Over time through art and many social movements, this Bohemian lifestyle largely re-emerged in American culture during the 1960s-70s and was associated mostly with hippies and their movement. For reference, some well known female hippie icons were Janis Joplin, Stevie Nicks, and Jane Birkin. I can’t help but notice, while researching the history of this fashion (and social) trend, that it is quite Eurocentric and colorless; I can’t help but wonder what history has been left out. Let’s go back: in America in the 1960s and 70s, many important social movements were coexisting. Hippies were notoriously against established institutions, materialism, and war; at the same time the civil rights movement was powering on, which fought for racial equality in America (a fight we are still fighting today). After digging deeper, I came across the term “soul style”, which, simply put, refers to a fashion trend of black women during this era. Soul style’s description was notably similar to Bohemian, both in spirit and design (like natural hair, bold feminine looks and patterns), but unique to the black American experience. A woman who embodied this style was none other than Angela Davis; a woman on FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, and a bright intellect and activist on the forefront of the Black Freedom movement, who was often mistaken for a model. Like Davis, black women during this era utilized their soul style and striking looks for more than just a fashion statement—it was a visual role in their demands for both racial and gender equality. I believe all women today owe a lot to soul style and its roots, as it encouraged fearless expression and natural beauty in a time of oppression. I’m far from an expert on this subject, but as I educate myself, I encourage you to do so as well (see referenced sources). I hope that you may see my growth in my coming writings.
 Ford, Tanisha C. Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul. University of North Carolina Press, 2015. Accessed June 18, 2020. www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469625164_ford.