How Hip Hop Influenced “Fashion” Culture
How Hip Hop Influenced Fashion Culture
Ever since hip hop was created in the Bronx by “Kool Herc” during the late 70’s, fashion has been its secret powerful partner. The fashion culture and Hip Hop culture go hand in hand because both represents freedom of self-expression.
Hip Hop started out within the inner cities and fashion played a big part within the inner city culture. As Hip Hop grew, we expressed our flashy lifestyle through lyrics, magazines, music videos and much more. Most of hip hop is influence by the drug dealing, and the pimp culture til this day. The dope dealers and pimps(Especially in the 70 & 80’s) had the flyest cars, clothes, homes, and jewelry. So, the hip hop artist started to emulate the neighborhood ballers within their rap songs. Quiet as kept those gold rope chains, Adidas, Louie Vuitton outfits, Mcm suits, etc was worn mostly by the neighborhood street bosses and drug dealers.
In the late 1970s, established sportswear and fashion brands, such as Le Coq Sportif, Kangol, Adidas and Pro-Keds attached themselves to the emerging hip hop scene. By the 1990s and the arrival of “hip-hop designer fashion brands” (many of which were founded by some of the genre’s earliest entrepreneurs), hip hop artist laid the groundwork for what would become the current foundation of the most powerful fashion brands.
Hip Hop Is Fashion’s Secret Business Partner
Hip Hop is also a very powerful platform for big business. While American classic fashion labels such as Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica and Ralph Lauren were popular in the hip-hop community – particularly with Hilfiger organizing “drops” of free clothes on the streets of the projects – the music reaching the mainstream in the 90s led to the creation of labels specifically designed for this market, by those inside it. By the time 2000 came, Hip-hop’s influence on fashion, and vice versa, seems to have reached fever pitch.
According to Cynthia Lawrence-John, the fashion director at Volt magazine – who has worked with West and contributed to the V&A’s exhibition about black British street style, Staying Power – hip-hop style in 2015 has outgrown the street and is now part of the wider fashion conversation. “It has influenced fashion culture for years. If you are in that world you know that,” she says. “It’s appropriated by designers, but I don’t think the street always gets the credit.”
The Fly & Flashy Lifestyle Was Inspired By Hip Hop
We lived to dress fly and flashy because most of us didn’t grow up having things. So we would show off our cars, clothes, jewelry and much more to feel “Greatness”. We became creative when it came to fashion because nice clothes wasn’t always available. So, we had to work with what was present at the time.
I remember when we where kids, we use to play a game called “That’s My Car”. Basically when a dope car passes by, who ever chooses it first can claim that car as theirs. The game was visually shown in the beginning of Rick Ross’s music video “Aston Martin Music”, Most people who live within the inner cities dreamed to live a better life full of the latest fashions and material possessions.
People fail to realize that the three main ways to rise up out of the vicious ghetto is through hip hop, sports, or dope dealing. So when the hip hop artist rapped on the mic, they would express that reality. Therefore, the youth within the inner cities around America dreamed to live the lavish lifestyle.
At this time Hip Hop has grown to a level of pure greatness and influence all around the world. It has a lot of power over the fashion culture and much more. When a popular rapper says: “I stunt on them with my Balenciaga’s and/or Giuseppe’s” in his/her hit songs. People will most likely go out and purchase those designer shoes at a drop of a dime. Sponsors understand this power and that’s why many partner up with record labels and the hottest hip hop artist to sell their products.
Hip Hop will continue to grow at a rapid pace, and will continue to have much influence on the fashion culture, and the young minds of the world. Hip Hop is very powerful within the realm of “Fashion”.