Motown Style and the American Dream

Date
2017-01-01
Authors
Sklar, Monica
Binns, Olonie
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Abstract

This research deciphers relationships between the Motown artists' image and the era of their greatest success as related to the shifting American dream of the tumultuous 1960s- 1970s. During Motown's beginnings in the early 1960's the glamorous image portrayed by its artists was deemed socially progressive by highlighting African American's inclusion into American upper echelon status. As the decade evolved Motown's dress became out of step with the prevailing styles of social movements. This research documents the design process including how the clothing was selected, produced, and where existing pieces are archived. Examinations of the aesthetic revealed the impact of Motown's dress choices on the wearer, the viewer, and greater society. This study conducts primary research by working with musicians, historians, curators and collections managers as well as performing on site examinations of archives and exhibitions around the United States. Secondary literature research reveals dress details embedded within greater narratives.

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