Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hip Hop and Fashion: Dress for Excess and Success

Chanel, 80's inspired by hip-hop


When hip- hop was first introduced, rap music was the up coming trend, and it was reflected into the urban street style. In the 80’s, the hip-hop culture increased, urban cultures aim was the luxury market. Money, power and respect became the backbone for many rappers. The hip hop culture started to want the more luxurious items which define how successful one is, such as designer clothing, imported champagne, Cuban cigars, luxury cars, and fine jewelry.

Clothes defined the man. The hip-hop culture was interpreted in different ways among communities. For example, Big Daddy Kane took on an Afro- nouveau riche identity by wearing fur coats, suits, and point leather shoes. Whereas the Native tongues movement had a more suburban preppy perspective-wearing brand

such as polo by Ralph Lauren.The hip-hop culture influenced and inspired fashion designers in the 80’s. Isaac Mizrahi, a native New Yorker, was inspired by the pop culture. He made hip hop accessible to the mainstream market. He merged the hip-hop culture and high The most hip-hop inspired detail, which was used in fashion, was the ‘fat gold chain’. Karl Lagerfeld used this detailing combined with leather at that time.The silhouette of the Baggy jean was introduced. In 1992, The ‘Home girl look’, the group TLC identified the image of bright colored and baggy jeans look which then reflected on the urban street style.

Luxury designers such as Ralph Lauren signed Tyson Beckford, a dark skin male model to be the face of polo. This made a statement that the world was changing. He embraced the culture change and targeted the urban market. With this became an association with hip-hop and high profile and success. Another designer, Tommy Hilfiger was associated with the all American country club feeling, but he embraced the culture around him and marketed towards the urban market. Using communication and fashion design to market his brand. He used individuals such as Puffy and Coolio to walk down the runway for his ‘Americana collection.’ The designers were inspired by the urban street style for their collections but the target audience who wore these garments would appropriate them to their own style. The “Ghetto fabulous look” is a style based on high-end designer clothing, which have been appropriated to the hip-hop culture.

Rap music influenced the hip-hop culture and the urban street style, which inspired designers to target a certain market. Becoming aware of the cultural change and therefore adapting their brand identity to fit their target audience. While using the context they were in and applying it to fashion making their brand more successful.


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