Contrary to your favourite “style” bloggers and fashion Instagramers Fashion’s love affair with Hip-Hop did not start with Kanye West or A$AP Rocky. “I put hoes in NY onto DKNY/ Miami, DC prefer Versace/All Philly hoes, dough and Moschino” the words of the late great Notorious B.I.G.
You see, the Hip-Hop culture has been pivotal in the success of fashion since it’s rise to popularity in the late 80’s. The great forefathers Run DMC were nothing without their distinct scene of style which has been more important to the success of Adidas than any billboard will ever be, so at a time when everyone seems to be so fashion forward let’s explore fashion’s long relationship with hip-hop.
Art influences culture and no art has a bigger impact than music specifically Hip-Hop, for decades rappers have been the figureheads of youth culture who in turn choose what is cool or in style, and social media and exemplified this. Rappers choice of style and clothing are constantly monitored, right now no one can sell a pair of jeans quicker than Kanye West and the big brands know this. July 1986 at New York’s Madison Square Garden rings of “My Adidas” could be heard miles away, accompanied by a picturesque sight of 20,000 teens holding up Adidas sneakers they first saw on Darryl McDaniels, Joseph Simmons and Jam Master Jay.
This relationship is far more important to fashion labels and brands than they let on, Balmain for example need to stay cool, so that they remain relevant and desirable to potential customers. So they make sure the coolest and most influential people are front row at their shows and are snapped wearing their clothes, and who are the most influential people? Rappers!
This has been the case for decades; the 90’s were flooded with collaborations between fashion brands and rappers. For example Jay Z’s Rebook line, Wu Tang Clan’s Nike shoe and more recently the whole roster of Hip-Hop artists working with Adidas. In reality hip-hop is fashion’s greatest weapon and I cannot see that changing anytime soon.
Featured Photo: Rolling Stones