In the past 5 years, it is becoming increasingly popular in the western world for men to don garments like kilts, sarongs, or what they’re all perceived to be in the eyes of the fashionably unconscious, a skirt. One of the first notable people to wear them in recent times, was acclaimed fashion designer Marc Jacobs. A couple of years later, Kanye West performed alongside Jay-Z sporting a custom designed Riccardo Tisci kilt. This controversial move was met with acclaim as well as ridicule, mostly the latter. Spike Lee even performed a parodic rendition of Kanye in a kilt that in a sense made a mockery of the notion of a man wearing anything close to a skirt, specifically a black man.
There is a profound disdain for any man that chooses to wear something that is deemed feminine within the black community. But why? Why do people judge a man for wearing a skirt, or kilt, or whatever, when wearing pants is a European construct that started around the time of the French revolution? Who makes the rules? Entertainers such as the late David Bowie, Jared Leto, Marilyn Manson or even Vin Diesel have all worn skirts and were considered “groundbreaking”, but when a black entertainer wears a skirt, it usually comes with backlash that attacks their masculinity. This harsh criticism comes from within the hip hop culture.
Today, there are a number of prominent African-American celebrities, athletes, and role models that have been spotted wearing a “skirt”, including NBA stars James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Lebron James to entertainer Jaden Smith and P. Diddy. By choosing to wear a “skirt”, they not only help to expand the definition of menswear but they inadvertently redefine masculinity for many of us.
The skirt is no longer a trend, it’s a fresh silhouette for men. A man wearing a skirt isn’t exactly a new concept in the world of fashion, however, society seems to have a distorted yet singular view of what a black man is and should be, when we are as assorted as any other race. Maybe one day soon these people will embrace diversity over divisiveness. Until then, wear your kilt or skirt or sarong with your head held high, as a MAN!
Written by: Mark Freeman & Mickey Boooom
The Quintessential Gentleman