Style In My DNA – An Exploration of Windrush Style and Fashion

Seventy years ago today, the SS Windrush pulled in at Tilbury dock, bringing with it the first Caribbean workforce to help rebuild Britain after the second world war. This would mark the first but not the last mass migration of peoples from the Carribean to the UK as more and more citizens of the commonwealth were encouraged to “do their part” and help rebuild the then wartorn motherland.

Lorna Holder’s ‘Style In My DNA: 70 years of British Caribbean fashion’, chronicles the ever-changing waves of Carribean fashion. The book begins with the very first men who stepped off the SS Windrush in 1948 and continues up to the present the day.

The book features a mixture of fashion photography, illustration and archival imagery to show the idea fashion and style helped bring an entire generation of peoples from outliers of society to being at the very forefront of fashion, design and beauty industry today.

Lorna Holder (centre) – Head of Young Fashion at Davis and Field (1980s)

Alongside the fashion analysis, the book also contains Lorna Holder’s own personal memoirs, giving us a first-hand account of just what was happening within the fashion industry behind closed doors. Most notably, it reveals just what a black woman in 1952 would have to face in order to gain notoriety within the worlds most exclusive industry.

1980’s Preppy look

While there is a focus on the British style, the book also take us on a journey around the world as we read Lorna climbs the ladder at New York City’s Bloomingdales, studies under the tutelage of Pauline Denyer, (wife of the well-known fashion designer, Sir Paul Smith), conducts Oman’s first televised fashion show in Oman and much more.

All in all, ‘Style In My DNA: 70 years of British Caribbean fashion’, provides a look at the fashion industry from a whole new vantage point. While both a theoretical study and autobiographic read, it reminds us that the Windrush generation and the generations that followed played a huge part in shaping the fashion industry into what it is today. To bear witness to the fundamental ways Carribean culture and fashion have shaped the UK and beyond, is to ensure that the
significant contributions made throughout the years will never be forgotten.

 

Style In My DNA is available from Foyles, Waterstones, Taureg

Join Lorna Holder in-conversation with Paulette Simpson, director of The Voice Newspaper and contributors from her new book plus book reading & signing.

 

 

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