Yesha Callahan

‘The Dandy Lion Project’ Counters Stereotypes Of Black Men’s Fashion

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 10.38.52 AM

The Dandy Lion Project is the latest project created by Shantrelle Lewis, a Philadelphia/Brooklyn based curator. Lewis’ project aims to give a different look at Black male fashion. No you will not see baggy jeans and white t-shirts, but tailored pants and colors popping everywhere. And textures. There are lots of textures. From plaids to tweed.

The Dandy Lion Project is currently on exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, not too bad for something that originally was created as a pop-up show.

But what exactly is ‘dandy’ fashion?

“It definitely goes against the norm in the industry,” Lewis told The Huffington Post. “It’s a way in which they meticulously take and borrow from different cultures that speaks to the diaspora experience in general. It’s also part of the hip-hop aesthetic, borrowing and sampling — that’s what these guys are doing when they get dressed.”

Lewis also wanted to challenge the meaning of masculinity when it comes to Black men. She purposefully used straight and gay men in her work.

“I wanted to combat these limited and narrow ideas of masculinity,” Lewis said. “It’s refreshing to see men who can embrace femininity regardless of sexuality. I have consciously picked images that show and respect that delicate balance between masculinity and femininity — one doesn’t overpower the other and they operate in harmony.”

To learn more about The Dandy Lion Project, visit their Facebook page.

Image Credit: Original Dandy Lion image.
Photographer: Hanif Abur-Rahim

  1. April 16, 2015 - Reply

    sorry, but i hate the hipster look on all races. the opposite of sagging pants doesn’t have to be highwater jeggings w/suspenders. can we move back to when relaxed fit was in? not so baggy that it drapes on you & not so clingy that it looks like you just had a growth spurt in your 30s. it really irks me to see people wearing ill fitted clothes.

    • April 16, 2015 - Reply

      @Me

      I think these men look dapper and interesting, like gentlemen.

      • April 16, 2015 - Reply

        @BillipPhailey

        i see these style of dudes at my job everyday & they look dorky. not dorky the way some folks will only cape for guys who look like thugs, but dorky like they’re trying extra hard to look cool/nerd chic. i just wanna see guys wearing regular size clothes where the shoulder stitches actually sit on the corner of their shoulders & where their pants cover their ankles when they’re standing up & where the crotch isn’t bulging b/c it’s so tight.

        • April 16, 2015 - Reply

          @Me

          Lol. I feel ya. I live in Brooklyn and the hipster trend seems like it’ll never die lol. Though, I prefer this to the gangsta, thug wannabe looks that BM are stereotyped for.

          • April 16, 2015 - Reply

            @AfroCapricornette

            true. i prefer hipsters over thugs as long as they’re not the snobby hipsters, which i seem to run into a lot.

            • April 16, 2015 - Reply

              @Me

              Lol…the ones that drink craft beer, go to all the festivals and eat everything labelled “organic”?

              • April 16, 2015 - Reply

                @AfroCapricornette

                lol. the ones that can add “snob” to the end of everything & think it’s a compliment. yes. (that one goes to the proud “art-snob” i met a while back)

                • April 16, 2015 - Reply

                  @Me

                  Huh? Lol…ok, those I haven’t met yet. Praise be! I interned with one who liked to brag for no reason about cities visited, foods eaten, festivals visited etc. She got condescending if you hadn’t eaten/visited places she deemed important. It got to me one day, and I let her know sweetly, the number of countries I’ve visited/lived in and the rare foods I’d eaten, real organic food I eat as I eat African foods and even corrected her on errors made whilst bragging. She never dared condescend to me again…lmao. I had a smirk all through till I left.

            • April 16, 2015 - Reply

              @Me

              I also can’t stand ppl that wear glasses and don’t need them. I have pals that wear these hughe hipster glasses w/plain lens. I wear glasses for real, it’s not a fashion statement, though mine are pink and in a 50s like frame.

              • April 16, 2015 - Reply

                @AfroCapricornette

                omg! i can’t stand them either! i’ve been wearing glasses since 7th grade & for the life of me i can’t understand anyone wanting to wear them if they don’t need them. i’m glad glasses come in better designs these days, but i’m definitely saving up for lasik surgery. i have a friend who ruined her eyes b/c she kept wearing other people’s prescription lenses b/c she thought they were cute on her. 20/20 vision out the window over being a hipster.

                • April 16, 2015 - Reply

                  @Me

                  Dear God! *gasp*…why??? My pal had lasik and swears by it but nuh-uh for me. Too scary…the eyes are everything. No prosthetic present for when shit happens.

    • April 16, 2015 - Reply

      @Me

      I agree. This look always comes off as trying too hard but if dressing like this genuinely makes these guys happy and they aren’t simply looking for attention or trying to be “different” more power to them.

      • April 16, 2015 - Reply

        @Tanielle

        agree. i’m not knocking anyone who truly is this style. it’s just not my thing. especially when it’s the latest trend & everybody’s wearing it.

    • April 16, 2015 - Reply

      @Me

      ITA, they are just following another trend instead of having a personal style.
      When you happen across that, it is truly refreshing.

  2. April 16, 2015 - Reply

    When I visited DC a couple of summers ago I saw tons of black men that dressed something like this. Loafers, polos, button downs, well fitted slacks…and they looked GOOD. I wish this would catch on in the South.

    • April 16, 2015 - Reply

      @PurpNGold1

      DC is surprisingly a fashionable place, just walking in the street you see alot of nice looking business people. Over there I saw alot of pretty black women with natural hair it was amazing. Usually people look to places like NY with street fashion but I tie it with DC!

  3. April 16, 2015 - Reply

    #HIPSTERS ARE ANNOYING

  4. April 16, 2015 - Reply

    Is it just me but they also have smugness about them?

    • April 17, 2015 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Some with that hipster look do have smugness or arrogance.

  5. April 16, 2015 - Reply

    But if I had to choose between these guys and those with those stupid sagging pants I would choose the hipsters.

  6. April 16, 2015 - Reply

    To each its own. Masculinity is not monolithic. Black men have been readily stereotyped and black people among both genders have the right to unapologetically express their human creativity. It is true that some wear those clothes as a way to outline some fade not as a means to sincerely describe their authentic personalities. Many human beings love to bandwagon trends and these clothes are heavily popular in our generation. We have to be ourselves. We are a diverse people and our diversity never weakens our cultural heritage. It strengthens our beings as one black people. As long as people use authenticity in shown involving fashion, then that is fine. In my opinion, it becomes a problem when some want to act fake and use those clothing as a way for them to not be their true selves. Authenticity is the priority.

  7. April 19, 2015 - Reply

    I’m trying to be open-minded about this look. I love a well-dressed man and all, but i don’t find this look sexy.

    • April 22, 2015 - Reply

      @Mikela123

      I don’t either and I have tried with all my might, because many men think that this is attractive. On the other hand when I see a man in a simple suit or some regular-fitting jeans, it’s the biggest turn on.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: