The History of Hip Hop Clothing

The History of Hip Hop Clothing

Hip hop as a culture has a history of going against the norm. However, like most fashion, it has eventually become dominant not only as a popular music genre but also in the high-end fashion world. Hip hop clothing originated from the streets with an outsider label and gave birth to its own unique aesthetic. The music genre was first brought to creation in the late 1970s in New York. In the beginning, New York B-boy culture dominated hip hop fashion. The B-boys were a breakdancing group that established hip hop culture. 


Eventually began the popularisation of chins, tracksuits and Kangol hats, along with many more fashion items. The birth of hip hop gave birth to a new streetwear fashion culture that was unique to the New York scene at the time and is still found today. But has hip hop clothing changed throughout the decades and is it still relevant? 


Hip Hop Clothing in the 1980s

Run -DMC is responsible for establishing the hip hop trademark of streetwear. They famously wore Adidas tracksuits and laceless shell-toe trainers as their signature uniform. Inspired by the B-boys, Run-DMC rejected the glamorous fashion of the early hip hop era typically seen by Afrika Bambaataa. Instead, the group chose a grittier look to represent themselves in the music genre. They even declared their appreciation for the brand they loved the most in their hit song “My Adidas”. 


Hip Hop Clothing in the 1990s

By the mid-1990s, hip hop culture had become obsessed with a more luxurious designer style. Artists such as Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac started wearing clothing inspired by old-school gangsters. These hip hop looks included alligator skin shoes, double-breasted suits and designer sunglasses. Artists started to rap about luxury brands such as Prada and Versace, starting the beginning of hip hops now lasting obsession with designer brands. Though hip hop’s desire for high-end fashion began to grow, the culture still maintained its outsider reputation. 


Hip Hop Clothing Today 

Designer brands are more common in today's hip hop music than ever before. For example, Cardi B refers to her Christian Louboutin red bottom heels in her chart-topping hit “Bodak Yellow”. Some hip hop artists have even released their own fashion brands. Hip hop has a major influence on the fashion industry today, especially in streetwear. It has now become common in recent years to see people walking down the street in hoodies, sweatpants, trainers and chains. The relationship between the fashion industry and hip hop has come a long way with it now being seen as influential in mainstream fashion and not just cultural to the streets it once belonged to.


At Kontroversial our clothing is designed in the streets, for the streets. We design pieces that don’t need to be justified by society and can be worn however you find it best to express yourself. So, whether you are inspired by glam or gritty hip hop, we have something for you. F≠CK the rules and follow us on Instagram for inspiration or see our range here

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