An Interesting Guide to Hip Hop Fashion




Hip hop fashion is also referred to by some as big fashion, a unique style of dress that originated from African American, Latin, and several other ethnicities that started trends back when hip hop was just starting in the New York area. After first growing in popularity in New York, hip hop fashion spread into other parts of the world like Los Angeles, Houston, and Chicago, before filling out into the other big cities, and then finally making its way out into the rest of the world.

If you wanted to learn more about hip hop fashion, stick with us for a few minutes and we'll run through the major events that have made an impact on what hip hop fashion is today, and make our own predictions of what is to come of it in the coming generations...

70’s Hip Hop Fashion


Hip hop fashion never seems to be the same in two places. In every city that hip-hop fashion spread to, distinct differences in the way that people dressed were noticed. Hip hop fashion has evolved from a curiosity and what some likely though would be a passing phase,  into a worldwide culture and a known art form over the years that is inevitably here to stay. Early in the 1970s. major sportswear athletic companies such as Le Coq,  Adidas  Sportif, Kangol, and Pro-Keds  started to represent hip hop fashion trends, seeing the enormous response that it was getting and how quick it was spreading.

1980’s Hip Hop Fashion


During the 1980s, when hip hop fashion first started to be noticed as an ongoing trend,  hip-hop icons could be found wearing flashy, brightly colored name-brand tracksuits and sheepskin and leather bomber jackets. That was back when Dr. Martens boots and sneakers where the hottest thing going. Jheri curls and fades were the popular haircuts during this time period, thanks to Will Smith for that one and Christopher "kid" from Kid 'n Play, among others who were said to have rubbed off on hip hop fashion.

It was common back then to see people with large sunglasses, bucket hats, and heavy gold chains and rings jingling sporadically around town. Many believe to be the influence of popular performers such as Kurtis Blow and Big Daddy Kane was what influenced the big gold chain thing during that time period. Some people, on the other hand, argue that heavy gold jewelry could have  because of the fact that nice jewelry was associated with wealth, while others will tell you that this was merely  the influence of Africanism on society. Kente cloth hats, dreadlocks, and red, black, and green clothing became very prominent examples of hip hop’s influence in fashion world during the 19080’s as well. This could possibly be the influence of popular artists such as Queen Latifah, KRS-One, and Public Enemy for starting to promote them in their videos.  By this time The Fresh Prince, Left Eye of TLC, and  Kid 'n Play, also were having an impact on hip hop fashion with baseball caps and bright, neon-colored, clothing. In addition, during the late 1980s and 1990s brands such as Nike, Adidas, Timberland,  and Champion al became very closely knit to the hip hop fashion industry. As a matter of fact, hip hop influence is what helped Nike dominate The Market in the 1980s and 1990s with endorsements from famous athletes and hip hop stars.

1990’s Hip Hop Fashion


In the 1990s, when gangster rap took over the Hip Hop industry for the most part,  you can see a shift in the fashion trend from baggy, carefree, and playful attire, to  more of a street thug or prison inmate look. This was the time when baggy pants, dark denims, black ink tattoos, and bandanas were just about everywhere you looked in town. There was also said to be influenced from some of the original gangsters of the 1930s and 1940s in hip hop fashion during this time, especially on the West coast. Some people speculate that The Original Gangster influence was due to the 1983 remake of Scarface, which you could ask mos anyone in the world, and they know got a very popular around that same time.

Also during the 1990s, many of the rappers started dressing like some of the classic gangsters of their time, wearing bowler hats and double-breasted suits with silk shirts, and alligator-skin shoes. If you ask anyone from the midwest, namely the Detroit area, they will likely tell you that this style has been a staple in hip-hop fashion, and probably will stay there to a degree no matter what.  And we can't leave out throwback jerseys,  such as the ones  manufactured by Mitchell & Ness. Sports,  which have been popular the entire time hip-hop culture has been around.

Next was the notable influence was  brought about by Sean "Diddy" Combs,  because he would wear what was known as the "Shiny Man Suit"  which consisted of loud, flashy PVC aviator inspired suits and platinum jewelry. This was said to be a marketing tactic to bring more color and vibrancy into the rap game, but because of his popularity, it caught on quick in the fashion world. We think it could be more than just flashy clothes, and more like a way of life. This is obvious to anyone who has heard any of the better quality club instrumentals currently being produced, because you can actually “hear” the flash in some of the songs. Shortly after his “flashy ways” influenced hip hop fashion,  Sean came out with his own clothing line, which led to more and more artists doing the same. Then, let's not leave out the jewelry culture either,  which played into the overall Persona of hip-hop fashion during this time, and can be partially attributed to the influence of  hip hop artists like Jay Z, Juvenile, and the Cash Money boys, because at the time that's what they were showing off in their videos. Gold and diamonds, and “Let Me See Your Grill,” how could we forget that?

What happened next, happened so fast that it seemed to happen overnight, but more and more hip hop artist started to come out with their own clothing label and wear their own brands. In the blink of an eye, we had Wu-Wear, made by the Wu-Tang Clan, Phat Farm made by Russell Simmons, and Rocawear made by Jay-Z.  And that's leaving out Eminem’s brand, (Shady Limited) Nelly’s brand, (Apple Bottom Jeans) and Baby Phat, Kimora Lee Simmons’ brand, and a whole host of others.

Current Hip Hop Trends 


Currently, there is said to ba calling back of the original old-school hip-hop trends in fashion. This would explain the regularity of seeing people in slim-fit denim jeans, with "vintage style" t-shirts, as well as polo shirts, sportcoats, large ornamental belt buckles, and skull and skeleton decorations. I’m purposefully leaving out zip-up hoodies and plaid designed shirts, because those very well may always have been popular on their own, and probably will be for some time.

There's still a notable trend in baggy style hip hop fashion just like there was in the late eighties,  but colorful fitted hipster-inspired clothing, which has been influenced by modern day artists such as Kanye West and A$AP Rocky,, who are said to be putting higher fashion on the radar for hip hop fashion. It’s also important to note that while hip-hop fashion has suffered a good amount of criticism from all the other styles, that those of us setting the latest trends in hip hop fashion took that criticism with a grain of salt, and… Too bad for haters! We are here to stay! Or, as the Paley Center for Media states in this article, “The police called this vandalism, we call it art!”

Hip Hop Fashion - Final Thoughts


So what's it going to be next? What do you think the next big trend in hip hop fashion is going to be? Our thoughts are that because of the constant changing,  people just wear what they feel like wearing, but to say that is to say that we aren’t excitable and easily influenced by hip hop, and by this time, every person walking earth knows that that would be flat out lie!

Feel free to leave your comments in the comment section below,  and we hope you've enjoyed this post! Take care!

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