Hip Hop Fashion History

Hip Hop Fashion History

When we say the word “fashion,” the first thing we associate it with is women. But if you hang around the guys I do, you would know that fashion is not just an obsession for women. Although the fashion style may be different, Hip Hop definitely has its own. I thought this being a blog about Hip Hop; fashion should be a fun topic to discuss.

To talk about the History of Hip Hop Fashion you need to know a bit about where Hip Hop started. In the Early 1980s (some may even say late 1970s), in cities across the US and especially highly influenced in New York City among African-American cultures, Hip-Hip was born. This is very brief history, if you would like to learn more about the history of I would personally recommend the book; Cant Stop, Wont Stop by Jeff Chang. (But im sure there are many ways to learn the history.)


Early Trends

One of the first major trends in Hip Hop fashion during the early 1980s was wearing sportswear, Kangol, Pro-Keds and especially Adidas. Shoes have always been an important part of Bboy & Hip Hop fashion, so much in fact I will be doing a whole post on just shoes (so excited). Others followed, for example Puma and All-Stars. Outfits were very brightly colored, and had many accessories to them such as bucket hats, nameplates / bets, and heavy gold jewelry.

Jewelry is not just a fashion statement for women. Performers and artists such as Kurtis Blow and Big Daddy Kane helped influence the notion of wearing gold jewelry, using it to show the value of wealth. Others like Salt-N-Pepa, influenced the society by popularizing oversized gold “door knocker earrings.” Hip Hop jewelry is popular in gold and platinum pieces because gold and platinum are far more costly; this showing a value of wealth.

In the early 1990s, Hip Hop fashion began to include a more traditional African influence. Red, black and green became primary colors and very popular, as well as puffy, blouse type colorful pants worn by artist like MC Hammer.

Also, a popular trend during this time was wearing baseball caps, usually of neon color. TLC and Fresh Prince (Will Smith) were perfect examples of this trend. In addition to the bright color clothing, polka dots were added to the traditional African attire. It stayed popular throughout the 1990s.


The Late 90’s

During this phase, Hip Hop became more popular with the media, and that made several well-known fashion designers join the trend. Late 90’s Hip Hop included gangster influences and the movie Scarface, had a huge influence. Suits with silk shirts and alligator-skin shoes were very popular with Hip Hop rappers. Some well-known designers were strongly influenced: Ralph Lauren, DKNY, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, all became “prominent Hip Hop brands.”
Nike sponsored Michael Jordan to represent urban street wear. Some trends from the 80’s continued like having fresh kicks (shoes), but adding more name brands such as Reebok, Champion and Timberland made Hip Hop mainstream.



Today, Hip Hop fashion is everywhere. Hip Hop clothing designers have redesigned today’s fashion industry. Hip Hop clothing has become much more popular, representing a fashion that generates a statement. As any other fashion trend, Hip Hop clothes have changed over the years and they have been adopted all over the world.

This blog is the beginning of a series under the topic of Hip Hop Fashion, and I am excited to keep talking about Fashion. Especially once we get to the topic of shoes.

Leave a comment below and let us know what fashion trends you wear or wore.


Recommended Posts
Showing 16 comments
  • Anthony Ambriz

    Nice article. Looking forward to the rest of the series. Have you ever seen the documentary Just For Kicks. I highly recommend it because it has a piece on the history of Adidas and the Jordan brand. One thing that sort of bugged me about the article was the part about how “Hip Hop was highly influenced by African-American culture.” I strongly believe all the cultures in NY played a huge roll in Hip Hop. Especially, when you look at the graffiti artist and bboys a lot of which were white and hispanic. Good stuff though. Keep it up. I’m going to drop this in my next episode for people to check out.

    • bboytext

      Jos and I have both seen it. it’s really good. I think Jos is planning on talking about it when she does here shoe review.

    • Sunshine

      Supberly illuminating data here, thanks!

  • Dylan

    The biggest lesson I’ve learned from Bboy Txt is that the shoes need to look like they just came out of the box, and match either the hat or the shirt. :-)

  • Ashli

    Big follower of your page, several your posts have really helped me out. Awaiting up-dates!

    • Aneisha

      Great stuff, you helepd me out so much!

  • Fun games

    I am really satisfied with this posting that you have given us. This is really a stupendous work done by you. Thank you and looking for more posts

    • Mellie

      I can’t bleeive I’ve been going for years without knowing that.

  • Brandie

    Supebrly illuminating data here, thanks!

  • criminal records check

    Keep working ,great job!

  • invest liberty reserve

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of Hip Hop Fashion History » The Bboy Federation . Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  • Chazoo

    Well written article with full of background research!
    I just wanted to share an article that I wrote 7 months ago
    for my university about head spin beanies.

    Some parts may be biased but hope you guys can read my article
    whenever you have time!



  • Major Tees

    Great info here, and real too. Quality article by the way. The homework was definitely done;) Thanks!

pingbacks / trackbacks