You mean that dangly stuff hanging off the ends of furniture, curtains, and bedspreads? While macramé fringe has been around for centuries (how much fun would the 20’s flappers have been without it?), the fringe we’re talking about is the super-macho, really groovy cowhide variety worn by every hippie across the nation.
Fringe had been a necessary accoutrement on western wear since John Wayne saddled up in his fringed chaps and ‘Queen of the West’ Dale Evans rounded up the cowpokes in her white-fringed cowgirl skirt. The cowboys and cowgirls originally adopted the decorative fringe detail from the Native American culture and their craftsmanship of leather, an irony that hopefully wasn’t lost on Wayne’s cinematic nemeses.
Fringe is really nothing more than a grouping of long strips or strings of material, whether yarn or leather. The Native Americans cut strips at the bottom of the leather garments, creating a sweep of strands. As an appreciation for the Native American lifestyle grew among the 60’s hippies, so did an appreciation for suede-fringed clothing. Hippie fringe was everywhere: down the sides of suede pants, on vests, jackets, dresses, even purses.
Nothing said ‘hippie’ like a fringed vest, a pair of love beads, hand-painted denim flares, and bare feet. Hmmm…the modern version of ‘Indian,’ perhaps?
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