Fresh Dressed, dir. Sacha Jenkins, 90 min., 2015

by Eric Ginsburg

Fresh Dressed

From the jump, Fresh Dressed puts forward its star power, beginning with an interview with Yeezus. If you don’t know who that is, chances are you won’t appreciate this hip-hop fashion documentary unless you’re interested in opening a clothing line of your own. This film explores the particulars of the rise of major “urban fashion” brands, focused almost exclusively on New York City.

Even though it’s 90 minutes long, it drags for viewers who aren’t all that interested in the intricacies of the fashion world. But even still, there are several captivating stories, including one about Tupac not charging Karl Kani for an ad because he was black, too. “It was all love,” Kani says in the film. And there are several poignant comments from Damon Dash, who was Jay Z’s manager and a partner at Roc-a-Fella Records.

“Fashion is about authentic experiences,” he says. Early in the film, Dash says that much of hip-hop fashion is based on status symbols stemming from insecurity, but he adds that it’s also a way to maintain dignity and pride in spite of oppression. His analysis, the insights of other icons and several engaging stories — like when the film addresses “boosters” — are enough to carry Fresh Dressed.

Screens Thursday at 7 p.m. at Hanesbrands and Friday at 5 p.m. at UNCSA Gold.

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