Berets and Revolution

Student volunteers at the Fashion Law Institute's Fashion Revolutions symposium wear black berets bearing the Fashion Law Institute's needle-and-spool gavel logo

Our Fashion Revolutions volunteers wore berets bearing the Fashion Law Institute’s award-winning logo — and iD magazine has this to say about the beret’s history and significance as a revolutionary symbol for our today.

Ironically, though, the beret’s most famous wearers have almost all been revolutionaries. In 1960, photographer Alberto Korda captured Che Guevara in Guerrillero Heroico, his most iconic portrait, wearing a black beret embroidered with a commander’s star. The image, which continues to decorate college dorm rooms to this day, cemented the beret as a symbol of resistance. The Black Panther Party also harnessed the hat’s power in the 1960s, claiming it as part of their much-photographed de facto uniform: black beret, black pants, black leather jacket. The Young Lords Party in New York wore purple berets, and the radical Chicano Brown Berets took their name from their signature caps.

And when Beyoncé played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2016, her backing dancers wore black berets in homage to the Panthers, their arms raised in a black power salute. Rudy Giuliani called the performance an “attack” on the police during an appearance on FOX News, and departments throughout the country discussed protesting; other viewers praised the icon’s show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.