The evolution of hip hop and fashion through the decades

Over the years, hip hop has done more than just influence the music industry. Hip hop has somehow found its way into the world of television commercials, movies, food, and even into the fashion.

Though many factors have contributed to the growth in popularity of hip hop, few are more noticeable than its ever changing relationship with the world of fashion. Once just an expression of the culture surrounding the music, Hip hop has grown to be one of the biggest commercial influencers on the planet…especially when it comes to fashion.

Starting in the 80s, the presence of the “B-boy” rappers began the relationship between hip hop and fashion. Rappers began to have signature outfits which included sweat suits from brands like Adidas, Nike, FILA, PUMA, Reebok and many other sportswear. This not only helped the rapper establish a brand/style for themselves but helped out the companies as well. People looked up to these rappers and wanted to be just like them, which included dressing like them.

Hip hop began to be in everything. In 1988, Reebok released an ad that showed a group of men lined up dancing in front of a graffiti wall to a rap tune.  The ad generated about $35 million for Reebok, according to an article in the New York Times written by Glenn Collins.

In the early 2000’s, Hip hop went from a sporty look to more of a preppy look. With rappers like Pharrell and Kanye West taking over in hip hop, it became cool to wear collared Polo’s and khakis. Brands like Polo and Tommy Hilfiger started to benefit.

The 2000’s was also the time when rappers began to create their own fashion lines, which officially bridged the little gap left between hip hop and fashion. Damon Dash and Jay-z set up Rocawear, P. Diddy had Sean John, and Russell Simmons’ had Phat Farm.

Now around 2007, baggy clothes were the ‘it’ thing. It was now cool to have a t-shirt 3 sizes too big, shorts that were so big they reached your ankles, and let’s not forget the sagging. We have Soulja Boy to thank for that lol. Forces were the shoe of choice at this time too. Looking back on it, this had to be the worse stage for hip hop and fashion.

Here we are in 2017, hip hop and fashion has now merged together soo much that rappers have become actual models and creative directors. Clothes are back to normal size and even kind of a nerdy style has become popular. Tucked in t shirts and high water jeans seem to be the style along with designer sneakers. Since we’re in the now era of “Everything designer,” we can only wait to see what will unfolds in 2017 in fashion and hip hop.

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