MIFF Review - Fresh Dressed

Words - Melissa Forsyth of Neon Nonsense Photos - Courtesy of MIFF

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MIFF Review - Fresh Dressed

Fresh Dressed is not your average hip-hop documentary. It is a fun and colorful film that chronicles the rise of hi-hop and urban fashion and explores how fresh trends, born on the streets of South Bronx found their way into middle America, then onto catwalks in London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Through a mix of archival footage, music and in-depth interviews with rappers, designers and fashion insiders, director Sacha Jenkins explores hip-hop and its aspirational relationship to fashion.

Highlights for me include candid interviews with guys that grew up during the cultural swell. Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nas, Damon Dash and Karl Kani provide some interesting insights on how hip-hop and urban fashion gave them a voice, a way to express their individuality and a means to feel good about how they were represented in the world. Interestingly, Ex-Vogue editor,  Andre Leon Tally talks about how traditional  ‘All American’ brands like Tommy Hilfiger quickly aligned themselves with hip-hop and capitalised on the movement by driving through the streets to hand out free clothing to kids on the corner.

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In the end I think the greatest thing about this documentary is the history lesson. Jenkins maps the path of hip-hop and urban fashion back to planation culture, the church, he even credits Little Richard. The result is a passionate documentary that shows how the quest for freedom of expression and dreams of a better life were realised by music and fashion.

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