Hip-hop fashion is a distinctive style of dress originating with African-American, Caribbean-American and Latino youth in The 5 Boroughs (New York City), and later influenced by the hip-hop scenes of Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area), Detroit, and The Dirty South among others. Each city contributed various elements to its overall style seen worldwide today. Hip hop fashion complements the expressions and attitudes of hip hop culture in general.
Hip hop fashion has changed significantly during its history, and today it is a prominent part of popular fashion as a whole across the world and for all ethnicities.
MODERN HIP HOP FASHION: HOT TRENDS
Due to the recent trend in hip hop fashion to revert back to the "old school" gaining popularity, the clothing is becoming similar to early 80's form of dressing. It has geared toward a more Hipster-inspired style of dressing with a nod towards irony, and may include items such as slim-fit denim jeans, tighter-fitting "vintage style" t-shirts with shorter arm sleeves, polo shirts, sportcoats, woven button shirts, large ornamental belt buckles, cufflinks, skull and skeleton decorations, elaborately decorated zip-up hoodies, trucker hats, lumberjack button-ups or plaid designed shirts, keffiyehs, and snow inspired fashions. Shorter length t-shirts have become involved in recent trends, in order to expose decorated belts and belt buckles and biker chains.
Although the "baggy" style of dress remains relevant, some hip hoppers forego that particular style, opting for colorful fitted and hipster-inspired clothing as exemplified by the growing influence of rappers such as Kanye West, Common, will.i.am, and Andre 3000, as well as the tighter-fitting skater influenced styles in the case of Pharrell and Lupe Fiasco. Other re-emergent 80s trends include Members Only jackets, huge oversized chains, and large eyeglasses. Leather jackets also have seen a rise in popularity.
HIP HOP STYLE HISTORY
*** Early 1980s to Mid-1980s
In the early 1980s, established sportswear and fashion brands, such as Le Coq Sportif, Kangol, Adidas and Nike Inc attached themselves to the emerging hip hop scene.
During the 1980s, hip-hop icons wore clothing items such as brightly colored name-brand tracksuits, sheepskin and leather bomber jackets, Clarks shoes, Dr. Martens boots and sneakers (usually Adidas-brand shelltoes and often with "phat" or oversized shoelaces). Popular haircuts ranged from the early-1980s Jheri curl to the late-1980s hi-top fade popularized by Will Smith (The Fresh Prince) and Christopher "Kid" Reid of Kid 'n Play, among others.
Popular accessories included large eyeglasses (Cazals or Gazelles), Kangol bucket hats, nameplates, name belts, and multiple rings. Heavy gold jewelry was also popular in the 1980s; heavy jewelry in general would become an enduring element of hip hop fashion. In general, men's jewelry focused on heavy gold chains and women's jewelry on large gold earrings.
Performers such as Kurtis Blow and Big Daddy Kane helped popularize gold necklaces and other such jewelry, and female rappers such as Roxanne Shanté and the group Salt-N-Pepa helped popularize oversized gold door-knocker earrings. The heavy jewelry was suggestive of prestige and wealth, and some have connected the style to Africanism.
1980s hip hop fashion is remembered as one of the most important elements of old school hip hop, and it is often celebrated in nostalgic hip hop songs such as Ahmad's 1994 single "Back in the Day", and Missy Elliott's 2002 single "Back in the Day".