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Hip Hop And Fashion Essay

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Though many elements have led to the growth of hip-hop, its developing relationship with the fashion industry is a lot more evident. What was once an expression of the culture surrounding the music, is now a place where hip-hop artists are some of the biggest promotional influencers in the world. But how exactly did this happen? Like so many things, it is only a matter of time before the biggest trends fall victim to the next big thing. Today, hip-hop culture and media outlets are providing a way for icons in the fashion industry to live their own renaissance.
In the early 90s, the widespread presence of b-boy culture, one of the four original “elements” of hip-hop, enhanced the adoration of brands such as Puma, Adidas, Reebok, Fila and Nike.
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The mixture of influences is mostly why it’s so difficult to define hip-hop style; it is a reflection of personal history, regional taste, and contrasting conditions. Designer, producer and creative director, Frank the Butcher says that this fuse of inspirations is grounded in the fact that hip-hop was the shared creativity of an elevated class. “Hip-hop was one of the first music genres that was born of the common people. With any other genre of music there was potentially a costume or some sort of uniform that separated the entertainer from the average person. Hip-hop was the genre of music where it was accepted, promoted, and preferred that the artist looked like the fan”(Branch)
Perhaps the earliest symbol of hip-hop embracing a more desirable aesthetic was the development of “preppy” labels such as Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, and Polo Ralph Lauren. While their prices was an indicator of wealth, a big part of the appeal of these labels lie in the fact that they did not normally sell to minorities. In this way both hip-hop and fashion became an ease to the harsh realities of life; even if you couldn’t afford a mansion or Bugatti, you could still indulge in the lifestyle, either through having the hottest clothing or living indirectly through your favorite hip hop artist’s
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