Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style

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UPC: 9781909526822
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Authors: by Jason Jules (Author, Editor), Graham Marsh (Designer)
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  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Reel Art Press (December 21, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 223 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1909526827
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1909526822

How Black culture reinvented and subverted the Ivy Look

Named one of the best books of 2021 by The Financial Times

From the most avant-garde jazz musicians, visual artists and poets to architects, philosophers and writers, Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style charts a period in American history when Black men across the country adopted the clothing of a privileged elite and made it their own. It shows how a generation of men took the classic Ivy Look and made it cool, edgy and unpredictable in ways that continue to influence today's modern menswear.
Here you will see some famous, infamous and not so famous figures in Black culture such as Amiri Baraka, Charles White, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sidney Poitier, and how they reinvented Ivy and Prep fashion―the dominant looks of the time. The real stars of the book―the Oxford cloth button-down shirt, the hand-stitched loafer, the soft shoulder three-button jacket and the perennial repp tie―are all here. What Black Ivy explores is how these clothes are reframed and redefined by a stylish group of men from outside the mainstream, challenging the status quo, struggling for racial equality and civil rights.
Boasting the work of some of America's finest photographers and image-makers, this must-have tome is a celebration of how, regardless of the odds, great style always wins.


The images throughout Black Ivy capture various clotheshorses playing with the codes of the day to create something a little off but beautiful. It doesn't matter that the clothes are ordinary and pedestrian; what's documented here is not a set of breathtaking garments but the flowering and proliferation of a mildly subversive spezzatura. -- Melvin Backman ― Bookforum

A magnificent piece of photographic social history – broken up into chapters about the Black Ivy look in literature, arts, music, film, politics, sports, advertising, civil rights demonstrations and marches and in urban environments. […] A revealing study of the role clothing played during a period of upheaval and social change. ― Independent

It is a rare event when a volume comes along that skews our understandings of fashion as effectively as “Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style" -- Guy Trebay ― New York Times

The black Ivy era showed how style could be deployed as an intrinsic part of a radical political, intellectual movement and could fortify a person’s identity when they needed it the most. And that noble idea’s moment has come again. -- Justin Quirk ― Mr Porter