Charting a dizzying cultural rise from metal-studded gang outfits (‘The Warriors’ didn’t make this up) to Fashion Week runway shows and billion-dollar brands, ‘Fresh Dressed’ considers the aspirational nature of hip hop through the lens of its fashion. It’s a unique perspective on an overexposed subject, and given the quality of the interviewees here – including insights from André Leon Talley, Kanye West and Sean Combs (a better designer than rapper) – this doc takes on a welcome seriousness.
Fresh, dope and dipped all mean looking your best, especially if it’s beyond your means. Journalist-director Sacha Jenkins is careful not to tread too heavily on Adidas-clad nostalgia, instead unearthing valuable New York history by talking to forgotten tailors and outfitters like Harlem’s legendary Dapper Dan, who made miracles out of nothing. ‘Fresh Dressed’ spends time with FUBU and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as lesser brands that clung to the trajectories of disinterested stars (remember Eminem’s Shady?). Ultimately, Jenkins teases out a fascinating theme of black identity shaped and altered by sales and evolving tastes.