REVIEW: Fresh Dressed

4 09 2015

Fresh DressedSacha Jenkins’ documentary “Fresh Dressed” fills in some gaps in my knowledge of the style industry that sprung up concurrently with the rise of hip-hop.  But beyond that, it serves little effective purpose.

Sure, he interviews plenty of distinguished scholars who add some valuable two cents, such as how the black tradition of dressing to impress originated on the slavery plantation.  Later, these talking heads come back to speculate that the beginning of the end for a golden age of black style was precipitated because black businessmen could not catch up with their counterparts who got a head start.

But most of “Fresh Dressed” is a time capsule, preferring to show us the era in all its decadence rather than really unpack it beyond the two big pillars of meaning: self-esteem and class consciousness.  Jenkins lands some huge names for interviews, including Sean “Puffy” Combs, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, and A$AP Rocky, all of whom parrot these major themes excellently.  At the end of the throwback, though, the documentary feels more like a storefront window display than a curated museum exhibit.  C+2stars

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