The powerful influence of Streetwear fashion has become more mainstream and widespread now than ever. Rather individuals are participating in fashionable trends on TikTok, participating and consuming in sneaker culture, or investing in popularized Streetwear pieces such as fitted hats, excessive jewelry, etc., it all more than likely derived from Hip Hop. When people think of Hip Hop, they usually first discuss the music genre. However, Hip Hop is a cultural phenomenon and is still influential in many fashion factors today as it has always been.
The culture of Hip Hop derived from the 70s in the Bronx, New York as marginalized black and Latino minorities sought after the culture through social and political awareness of messages, styles, attitudes, etc. Dance, explicitly breakdancing from B-Boys/B-Girls, was typically pivotal in Hip Hop fashion as inner-city dance crews would utilize style to differentiate their crew from another with fashion components such as tracksuits, windbreakers, hats, and sneakers. The 80s saw MC and Hip Hop rapping as focal points at the time, but many black rappers still significantly contributed to fashion trends, particularly throughout the black community. In the 80s, famous Rap artists such as LL Cool J and Run DMC dominated the fashion scene as they infused Disco-style elements of the 70s combined with fresher trends such as faux leathers, Adidas, bucket hats, etc. all in contribution to the pro-black movement and message of the time.
Throughout the 90s, the Hip Hop style had become more refined as it was an era of oversized baggy clothing, and trending fashion staples which further embraced and emphasized inner-city life via Rap music and clothing. Popular trends varied and derived in the 90s, such as the emerging trend of Timberland boots and low tops, and even more, rappers began creating their own fashion lines, such as Diddy with Sean Jeans, and Rocawear by Jay-Z, etc. The brand Tommy Hilfiger was mainly popularized in the late 80s/90s as the annual sales skyrocketed to $100 million due to the black community. Tommy Hilfiger was significant to the black culture at the time as artists such as Aaliyah, Usher, Snoop Dogg, and Tupac popularized the brand, which some secured endorsement deals.
Streetwear and Hip Hop have transitioned majorly as the 2000s era of Hip Hop has paved what Streetwear is today. When you think of fashion in 2023, Streetwear almost instantly crosses your mind. Many popular trends derive from artists and the culture that greatly impacted Hip Hop. Today’s streetwear is often seen combined with high fashion notable brands such as Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Ferragamo, etc. Rappers such as Kayne West, Pharell, and A$AP Rocky are trendsetters in fashion, particularly in today’s Streetwear aesthetic. The freedom and form to express oneself through Hip Hop have undoubtedly made a lane of its own in parts to its music, fashion, and overall impactful culture.