Fresh Dressed: Hip-hop fashion

Sacha Jenkins’ Fresh Dressed offers a colorful, illuminating history of the rise urban and hip-hop fashions from customized fad to global phenomenon.

Covering approximately 40 years (1970-2010), the documentary offers a star-studded line-up of those in the know and those in the style: Kanye West, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Damon Dash, Pharrell Williams, Big Daddy Kane and Christopher Reid and Christopher Martin, better known as Kid ‘n Play – whose chemistry remains as funny and comfortable as ever, even in documentary circumstances.

The threads on display are as “fly” and “dope” as they are fresh, some from the 1970s could be labeled “quaint” and others from the ‘80s clearly fall into the category of “deliriously dated” – especially for those viewers old enough to remember their (thankfully) brief heyday. The song selection is, not surprisingly, almost a hip-hop history lesson in itself.

Yet all is not fun and games, as the film examines social unrest and political movements in black and urban culture during the era depicted. When discussing the fashions and what they represent, Damon Dash’s cynical observation may also be the most accurate: “It’s just a status symbol, based on insecurity.”

Having covered the history of its chosen topic – and, by osmosis, the rise of rap and hip-hop as well – the film seems a little uncertain how to end. It doesn’t really look toward the future or predict any potential new trends. It sort of waits and sees.

Fresh Dressed will be screened 7 pm Thursday at Hanesbrand Theatre, 5 pm Friday at UNCSA Gold Theatre