Fashion is about group rules that change with the seasons. Style is about personal principles that transcend time. Both are real modes of conversation.
This is the mantra for us at Berko Baile. We keep these ideas in mind in everything we do whether it’s responding to questions from clients or own choices in what we design and stock. In this consideration we try to keep our eyes on what is fashionable — naturally, one must always pay attention to changes in his environment. But we put our greatest effort into keeping our hearts and minds focused on style and culture. In doing so we study the greats of lasting men’s style from the Duke of Windsor to Allen Flusser and so on. However, from time to time we have to intentionally pause and remind ourselves of how one-sided the style conversation is in America, and perhaps other parts of the world deeply touched by European colonialism.
Though America has, for centuries, been a collection of peoples from around the globe, the styling of primarily European cultures has been the dominant voice in our cultural dress conversation. From men’s suiting to accessories to the terms we use to how we wear whatever it is that is our favorite sartorial set — it’s all driven by a strongly pronounced anglophilic tone.
Is that all bad? Of course not. At Berko Baile we believe that each part of the world and it’s people have some portion of divine splendor to offer the global mosaic. European styles like the most enduring from France and Italy are magnificent works of art. But, we also feel a keen itch to learn, teach, and produce experiences in the splendid sartorial style and culture of us — children of the African diaspora — as well. Keeping all of this long-winded introduction in mind, check out a splendid collection of articles called Black Men and Dandyism: Art, Fashion, Literature and Exhibitions. They are older works but with a number of valuable nuggets and links on the Afro-Atlantic influence and styling of fashion throughout history.
And no, this conversation is not over…