STEAMFUNK DANDIES: Black Men & Women of Distinction in the Age of Steam!

Chronicles of Harriet

STEAMFUNK DANDIES: Black Men & Women of Distinction in the Age of Steam!

In an earlier post – THE MAHOGANY MASQUERADE: The Politics of Fashion in Steamfunk – we looked at the relationship between politics and fashion. Now, as part of our League of Extraordinary Black People series, we will examine the embodiment of this relationship – the Black Dandy.

Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants.

“Luxury slaves” tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities.

One of the most famous dandies was Julius Soubise, a freed slave who often wore diamond-buckled, red-heeled shoes as he circulated through the social scene of eighteenth-century London.

The magic of dandyism resides in the interplay between the dandy’s temperament and his appearance…

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