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The Evolution Of Hip Hop Style

You don’t have to think back too far to remember a time when baggy jeans and oversized jerseys defined hip hop style. If you go back a little bit further you’ll find your favorite artists in bucket hats and track suits. So how did we go from those trends, to rappers having their own clothing lines, wearing names like Louis Vuitton, and ensuring that every thread is in place before they step outside? Let’s take a trip through time and remember some of the greatest fashion trends that rocked the rap industry.

1980s B-Boy Fashion

The early 1980s was the period when hip hop music really began to gain traction, and with it came new style trends. The 80s was a time of matching Adidas tracksuits made famous by groups like Run D.M.C., who even professed their love for the brand in “My Adidas,” when they became the first rap group to get a multi-million dollar endorsement from a brand. Track suits weren’t the only street style to come out of that decade though. In the late 80s, the Kangol bucket hats sported by LL Cool J became a fad. Even Run D.M.C. tried to adopt the Kangol, but we all know where the real influence came from. Though these two styles gained popularity among hip hop enthusiasts, the true status symbol that came out of the 80s was the thick gold chains that set the standard for B-boy fashion.

Early 1990s Brings About Black Nationalism

As we moved into the 90s, black nationalism and a desire to reflect traditional African styles became the main fashion influence for hip hop streetwear. Groups like Salt N Pepa famously incorporated a yellow, black, red, and green color scheme that became popular among rappers, and dreadlocks became a significant and symbolic look many artists who wanted to show pride in their culture. Traditional African clothing like blousy pants were famously stylized by M.C. Hammer.

The Fresh Prince Popularizes Neon

As the 1990s progressed, pop rappers like The Fresh Prince and TLC began to turn hip hop apparel toward oversized clothing, baseball caps, and bright neon colors. Even female rappers got in on baggy clothing, often wearing oversized flannel shirts over a sports bra. We can’t talk about oversized hip hop style without mentioning Kriss Kross, who gained media attention after wearing their clothes backward in music videos. I think we are all grateful this trend was short-lived.

Hip Hop Apparel Turns Designer

While big gold chains might have symbolized status in the 1980s, rappers began to turn to another way to show off wealth and high-class status. Hip hop icons like Biggie and Diddy, back when he was better known as Puffy, ditched the baggy jeans and Hilfiger shirts and opted for three-piece designer suits and smaller chains and accessories. Other artists, like Snoop, Tupac, and Notorious B.I.G, took this suit-fad a step further to be straight up gangster - and not in the way you might be picturing. These artists opted for pinstriped suits, fedoras, and silk shirts in the way of 1920s Mafia-style gangsters. This was the point in time when rappers began to truly show off their success, rather than dress in traditional streetwear.

Modern Urban Streetwear Spans Across Styles

While rappers have always been featured in the media, the growth of both popularity and the internet has artists stepping up their style in ways we haven’t seen before, with each artist having their own unique look. That being said, today styles of popular artists seem to fall into two categories. While some hip hop artists began to look more rock’n’roll, others began to look more polished and sophisticated. For rappers like Tyga, Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, and Soulja Boy, the pants got tighter, shirts became nonexistent, and a simple snapback was the only accessory rap artists needed other than full-body tattoos. Other artists, like Kanye, Jay Z, Kendrick, and Chance took a different route. These men have set the standard for luxury streetwear and new urban fashion by a mile, and are often seen wearing multiple layers, expensive brands, and a quirky item or two (we’re looking at you, Chance).

Luxury Fashion Meets Streetwear

At A. Tiziano, we create stylish clothes for men in the hip hop fashion. Drawing inspiration from trendsetting artists while still creating fashion that will withstand time, our high quality jeans and denim, urban jackets, and cool dress shirts make for a wardrobe that will keep you looking and feeling cool. We’ve taken the best parts of hip hop apparel through time and made sure that it is modern and fresh. Check out our collection, and choose A. Tiziano for your luxury streetwear fashion.