Hip Hop and Change in Fashion: A Few Highlights

The world witnessed Hip-Hop’s rise in 1980s. This genre had its mark on every aspect of Pop Culture, even Fashion. While Fashion was once ruled by the elite who we all thought were descended from heaven with larger than life brands and designers, Hip-Hop made them approachable, and inspired them to step out of their demographics. Following, we are going to see a few highlights that led to this change.

Pioneering Clothing

Legendary Producer Russell Simmons understood Hip-Hop was heavily relying on classic American clothing from designers like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. The clothing consisted of oversized clothes which would give a baggy look. Simmons capitalized and introduced the first hip-hop clothing label, “Phat Farm Clothing”. This changed fashion, and shaped a brave new future.


During the early rise of Hip-hop, artists used sneakers as their primarily footwear. While it seemed as they were improvising, it was the other way around. Soon in 1984, Michael Jordan collaborated with Nike to create Air Jordan Basketball Shoe.
It became an instant hit with the masses despite high prices of $100 back in the day. This went on to become a staple for future artists, and cemented footwear choice of Hip-Hop, R&B, and other genres.

The Timeline

Hip Hop has influenced more than music. It led to the inception of a new socio-culture to inspire future generations. Though the relation of Hip Hop with Marketing and Entertainment Industry will be debated for eternity, its influence on Fashion isn’t ignored.


Starting in the 1980’s, Hip-Hop first influenced the fashion industry when “B-boy” rappers wore sweat suits from Adidas, PUMA, Nike Reebok, and other well-known brands, and made it their staple. This established a style statement for future artists while giving the respective brands a new direction.

Hip-Hop plagued it’s influence on everything from clothing to décor. In 1988, Reebok released an ad in which men lined up dancing in front of a graffiti wall to different rap songs. This ad was an instant hit.

With dedicated designer like Daniel Day “Dapper Dan” Harlem giving aspiring artists a new voice, Hip-Hop had no trouble establishing its unique sense of style. At first, it appeared as Premium Clothing for Young African-Americans who didn’t enjoy a warm welcome at high end stores during the time being.


Early 2,000’s oversaw drastic changes in Hip-Hop as the attire adopted a preppy look instead of a sporty one. Artists including Kayne West and Pharrell played a key role as they introduced collared Polo’s and khaki’s in the genre. This encouraged Brands like Polo, and Tommy Hilfiger to introduced their own variations of Hip-Hop clothing, and make money off it. During 2007, baggy clothing rose to dominate with saggy t-shirts, and long shorts. Soulja Boy played a key role in introducing these clothes to the mainstream fashion. Many people titled it the worst stage of fashion in hip-hop’s history.


In mid 2010s, especially last year the world saw everything merged together with rappers taking the role of models and even creative directions. Fortunately clothes have shrunk to normal size, but they still have a nerdy vibe.

Tucked in shirts with water jeans are very popular with design sneakers. Thanks to the “Everything Designer” movement numerous high end brand introduce hip-hop clothing articles.