The allure of ethnicity captured the hearts of hippie adolescents in the late 60’s, and the excitement for ethnic looks made it to the mainstream of the 70’s. Patchwork prints, giddy ginghams and quilted calico styles joined the head kerchief, macramé tams, crocheted shawls, leather huarachies, straw espadrilles, and all sorts of jewelry with an ethnic twist.
The Vietnam War fueled a fire in the young protestors who wanted to know about the world: they looked outside of their own borders and adopted the fabrics and accessories of other cultures in a show of humanistic solidarity. College campuses brought people of many nations together, and American kids embraced their brothers and sisters from Africa, India, China, and everywhere in between. Hippies were the first to embrace the ethnic look, and the rest of the world followed close behind.
Television news brought faraway lands to your front door, and world travel became an affordable option with the advent of the jumbo jet. Designers looked beyond the boundaries of the West to bring back new and exciting fabrics, designs and accessories from other cultures. American kids got peasant skirts and batiks from India, Kente cloth and beads from Africa, leather huarachi sandals and serape ponchos from Mexico, and silver and turquoise jewelry from Native American tribes.
The beautiful handiwork of other cultures also inspired Americans to create their own folk crafts: macramé and crocheted shawls joined in with patchwork jeans to bring a little bit of Americana to the ethnic experience. Hippies combined all styles into a giant melting pot, for a truly universal fashion.
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