The 2021 Met Gala proved to be the premier fashion event of the year as per usual, with the ceremony returning to New York City after taking a year off due to the global pandemic. As many celebrities pulled up dressed to the nines in high-end designer garbs, especially during the star-studded afterparty, the focus of the night was definitely on how well everyone in attendance followed the “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” theme. Broadway actor Jeremy Pope, who also had a prominent guest role on the final season of FX series Pose, used the moment as a reminder to the fashion world that America was built on the backs of enslaved Black people with a fashionably head-turning history lesson of his own.
Working on the collaborative effort with stylist Juliann McCandless, Pope wore a custom all-white compact cotton jacket and pants set by Australian designer Dion Lee, cotton boutonniere flower by Denim Tears, white Tabi Boots by Maison Margiela and an eye-grabbing cotton Broadcloth Picking Sack by designer James Flemons of Phlemuns that made for the standout final touch. In a touching caption posted on Instagram in tribute to the enslaved people that gave his look such prominence, he wrote, “They planted seeds of beauty, tended to fields with unspeakable strength, & harvested a kind of excellence that would outlive them for centuries. So that we could one day stand up, stretch toward the sun, & tell their story.”
Pick sacks were deep cloth bags that Black men and women on the cotton fields suspended from their shoulders with a wide band and dragged between cotton rows for hours as they picked cotton by hand. Nothing about that sounds fashion-forward in the least bit, but a Black man being able to dress freely in 2021 as a way to bring their struggle to the forefront of fashion’s elite is more powerful than words can say.
Take a look at Jeremy Pope paying homage to our ancestors in the cotton fields below, and let us know if you think he was one of the standout stars of the 2021 Met Gala:
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