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The current craze for black dress in women’s fashion in America and Europe has no clear beginning. Since at least the time of the ancient Greeks, it has been a symbol of mourning. But its look has also attracted a lot of attention. Although the Romans mostly colored garments black for mourning, there are signs they valued it for its style, according to critic John Harvey in his book The Story of Black. Black attire, which was once notably expensive , was popular in the 16th century among Europe’s affluent classes, from Spanish nobles in the south to Dutch merchants in the north.

But towards the start of the 20th century, black’s more recent rule saw a fortuitous turning point. Harvey claims that when Chanel’s renowned little black dress was introduced in 1926, black “came to center stage” and became the dominant color.

Black is a consistently popular option among the countless shades and combinations that fashion merchants carry. Retail technology company Edited recently conducted a research of more than 183,000 gowns sold online in the US and discovered that 38.5 percent of them were some variation of black, making it the hue that is most frequently used. The white color, which was the second-most popular color, only made up roughly 10.7% of the dresses.

Black’s popularity at the moment also seems to be rising. Data from Edited shows that compared to the same time last year, black dresses sold out far more frequently during the first few weeks of January 2018. Although it’s hard to pinpoint the specific cause of the trend given that a surge in the availability of black apparel online precedes the campaign, Edited did indicate that Time’s Up was having an impact. Black women’s dresses sales increased significantly at a variety of fast-fashion retailers during the third quarter of 2014 and the same period in 2017, according to Edited, rising by 269 percent at Boohoo, 145 percent at Zara, 114 percent at H&M, and 89 percent at Forever 21.