Tracker Pixel for Entry

Jenkins gets “Fresh Dressed”

Cinema | September 10th, 2015

Veteran journalist and hip-hop historian Sacha Jenkins delivers his first feature-length documentary with “Fresh Dressed,” a chronological overview of urban fashion that closely parallels the music scene that rocketed from the New York underground to a global phenomenon packaged by mainstream media conglomerates.

Blending a dizzying array of rappers, players and tastemakers with vibrant archival footage and photographs of evolving trends, “Fresh Dressed” struggles to cover too much territory, despite its apparent desire to be comprehensive. Any number of segments, sections and personalities – from collectors obsessed with sneakers to the artistry of entrepreneurs like King Phade/Shirt Kings and the legendary Dapper Dan – might merit an entire movie.

Jenkins opens the film with a promising lesson that starts with the customization of “cut sleeves” – the denim jean jackets worn over black leather. The look was favored by gang and crew members inspired, according to interviewee Lorine Padilla, by “Easy Rider.” Adorned with hand-cut lettering, bead and studwork, graphic insignias and assorted patches, the attire simultaneously announced one’s affiliation and sense of individuality.

From there, the viewer receives a primer on signature style items like Adidas with fat, starched laces to Kangols to Cazal eyewear that could, according to folks like designer April Walker, instantly identify one’s borough of residence.

“Fresh Dressed” shifts away from the early years of the ’70s and ’80s just when it seems to be warming up, focusing instead on the emergence of streetwear brands like Cross Colours that capitalized on trends and fads like super baggy, oversized silhouettes. The marketing relationship between Cross Colours and popular television shows like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “In Living Color” demonstrates the impact of mass media on hip-hop clothing and vice versa, but Jenkins opts to leave out the more controversial discussion on aspects of appropriation when affluent, suburban white kids started adopting looks seen on “Yo! MTV Raps.”

One of the film’s most glaring shortcomings is the pronounced lack of focus on women, both in terms of designers and fashionistas. Walker offers the most complete perspective as one of the movie’s only significant female interview subjects, and a few shout-outs are made to trendsetters like TLC and Kimora Lee Simmons, but the interviews and B-roll overwhelmingly feature men talking about other men. Jenkins certainly could have spent more quality time sharing the stories of the women who have been every bit as influential as the fellows.

The last half of the movie fails to match the excitement of the first, delving into the rise of vanity labels like Sean John that hastened the decline of powerhouses like FUBU and Karl Kani. A photomontage reminds viewers that practically every artist, from Eminem to the Wu-Tang Clan, launched personal lines that saturated an already crowded marketplace. Unlike Sean John, the hastily greenlit apparel privileged profit over earnest innovation and creativity, evaporating when sales tanked.

Now that the Internet can communicate emerging style faster than the older media it continues to supplant, designers face the double-edged sword that combines immediacy with accelerated obsolescence, keeping a new generation of wannabe moguls on their toes.


“Fresh Dressed” is now available on iTunes and will appear on CNN later in 2015.

Recently in:

By Laura Simmonslaurasimmons2025@u.northwestern.edu Gerald Briggs, the Warren County Mississippi Fire/EMS chief, was at a festival in February 2020 when a local law enforcement officer asked him if he had heard about the explosion…

By Michael M. Millermichael.miller@ndsu.edu Dwight Herr interviewed his father, Julius E. Herr of Wishek, North Dakota, in June 1979. Dwight provided a transcription and donated the “Life Story of Julius E. Herr” to the Germans…

Saturday, March 1611 a.m.Downtown FargoWear something green and celebrate spring during Fargo-Moorhead’s premier parade. Thousands of spectators line the streets, so arrive early to snag a prime spot. This community celebration…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com When one googles “What traits are desirable in a new employee,” some of the first words that pop up “from sources around the web” include “communication,” “team player,”…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comPoliticians could learn a lot by watching dung beetles work for a livingThe 400,000 species of beetles is the largest order of insects discovered on Planet Earth, so far. Insect researchers believe…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com Holiday wine shopping shouldn’t have to be complicated. But unfortunately it can cause unneeded anxiety due to an overabundance of choices. Don’t fret my friends, we once again have you covered…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com In this land of hotdish and ham, the knoephla soup of German-Russian heritage seems to reign supreme. In my opinion though, the French have the superior soup. With a cheesy top layer, toasted baguette…

The Aquarium, 226 Broadway North upstairs, Downtown FargoFriday, December 8, 7:30-11pmDoors 7:30 pm // Music 8 pm21+ // $10 advance // $12 DOSOver two decades, Christmas songs have appeared throughout Owen Ashworth’s recorded…

Now playing at the Fargo Theatre.By Greg Carlson gregcarlson1@gmail.comPalme d’Or recipient “Anatomy of a Fall” is now enjoying an award-season victory tour, recently picking up Golden Globe wins for both screenplay and…

In the 20th and 21st centuries, the pursuit of knowledge has directed humankind to new horizons – the ocean depths, the infinite reach of space, and the hidden secrets of cells and microbes…or to Artificial Intelligence, which…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comHigh Plains Reader had the opportunity to interview two mysterious new game show hosts named Milt and Bradley Barker about an upcoming event they will be putting on at Brewhalla. What…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com AUSTIN, Texas – As a Chinese-American, connecting to my culture through food is essential, and no dish brings me back to my mother’s kitchen quite like hotdish. Yes, you heard me right –…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comNew Jamestown Brewery Serves up Local FlavorThere’s something delicious brewing out here on the prairie and it just so happens to be the newest brewery west of the Red River and east of the…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

JANUARY 19, 1967– MARCH 8, 2023 Brittney Leigh Goodman, 56, of Fargo, N.D., passed away unexpectedly at her home on March 8, 2023. Brittney was born January 19, 1967, to Ruth Wilson Pollock and Donald Ray Goodman, in Hardinsburg,…

By Faye Seidlerfayeseidler@gmail.com On the first day of the month I ask people to thank a journalist they know or someone who contributes to papers in some meaningful way. When I grew up, my best friend's father was a journalist…