90’s fashion trends have of late resurfaced and have of late become popular, there is no wonder how the choker is slowly becoming the ultimate statement jewelry piece of the season.
Urban Culxure writer Khotso Sibanda takes us through the journey of the necklace which has become a hit in Zimbabwe and beyond.
By Khotso Sibanda
You are more likely to meet the average Stha and Anesu wearing a cheap plastic tattoo choker in the city centre, than you will find a second clothing“khothama” market or a “khonapho-khonapho” pesticide sales
” cheap jewellery, however, is worse than no jewellery at
all. “- Jill Corner Browne
I mean, these chokers are on a craze-fest, and i know, just like me, you’re a tad bit tired of seeing the “blackbelt” as commonly referred to on social media platforms. The choker is sweeping waves, but very few of these women know the history or possible significance of the plastic around their necks.
Historically, the choker was worn by the Native Americans, the Egyptians and the Maasai tribes of East Africa in the sixteenth century. Like many forms of jewellery, the choker was seen as a piece of art infused with power to protect the neck against evil, and against the enemy in battle.
As a trend, the most popular portrait of Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England between 1533-36,is of her adorning a choker. Queen Victoria is another one who seemed enthralled by the neckpiece, as in her reign in 1819-1901 she was usually seen wearing the trend.
A fashionista of her time, Alexandra the Princess of Wales made the choker iconic in her time. In the 1920s, the choker was back in mostly velvet, beaded or ribbon form. In the 1940s,it came back under the name, “dog collar.”
In the1970s American rebel era, feminists as well as anti-war men such as Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presely and Mick Jagger would rock out in chokers. Fast forward to the grunge 90s, Brenda Fassie, Boom Shaka, Prince and Lenny Kravitz brought it back.
It is apparent then, that each time the choker resurrects from the fashion ashes, it does so in a huge way. Why though? Well, the choker is fierce. Consider for instance, that in the French.
Revolution, women wore red ribbon around the neck as a silent protest against death by the guillotine. Women today could be then sub consciously reflecting unease within their socio- political environments (because let’s face it, the choker is not the most comfortable to wear).
The choker then, is a powerful fashion statement just like all forms of art, and that’s a great thing. One request though? Please could you stop wearing the cheap fake tattoo plastic ones? Be creative with it, sacrifice an extra dollar or two and buy unique ones.
As Jill Corner Browne says, ” cheap jewellery, however, is worse than no jewellery at all. “