Hip-Hop Fashion Through the Decades

Hip-Hop Fashion Through the Decades

During Fashion week, we take a look at how people dressed throughout hip-hop history.

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Hip-hop has always been more about just the music. It’s the bravado, charisma, personality and clothing. Rappers have always cared about how they dress, and how they’re portrayed to their fans. Since the 1980s, when the genre really started to take form, artists cared more and more about what they wore.

Here is the evolution of hip-hop fashion throughout the decades.

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1980s

1980s

This is when hip-hop fashion went to another level and really started to take form as a genre. At the forefront was Run-DMC with their Adidas tracksuits. While sportswear started to become more popular, high fashion also started to integrate into the culture thanks to Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day, who created knockoff luxury gear in Harlem.

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Run-DMC

Run-DMC

RUN-DMC - My Adidas

The iconic rap group popularized wearing Adidas tracksuits and the legendary Adidas superstars. They eventually made a song about the brand called “My Adidas.”

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LL Cool J

LL Cool J

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The New York rapper popularized the B-Boy style with the Kangol bucket hat, gold rings, gold jewelry and other fly wear.

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Public Enemy

Public Enemy

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Public Enemy moved like they were their own militia. So naturally, they dressed like that as well, wearing camouflage and military fatigues to compliment their “fight the power” mindset that came across in their music.

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Salt-N-Pepa

Salt-N-Pepa

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Salt-N-Pepa was all about bright colors, bold statement and outfits that stood out. Along with jewelry, their outfits consisted of bold patterns, African prints and Kente cloth.

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1990s

1990s

As Hip-hop got more popular, so did the artist and as a result, so did hip-hop fashion. In the 90s rappers continued the trend of aligning with specific brands or sports teams, such as the Los Angeles Raiders. Brands that were created by white designers became popular because of the rappers that were wearing them such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

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NWA

NWA

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This Compton rap group was all about wearing all Black. So naturally, they aligned with the football team of Los Angeles at the time, the Raiders. Hats, jackets, jerseys you name it. If it was all Black, NWA had it on.

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Wu-Tang

Wu-Tang

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Screenshot: VIBE.com

Wu-Tang clan took a different route and made their own brand, Wu-Wear, which could be seen all over their albums covers, music videos and magazine covers.

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Missy Elliot

Missy Elliot

Missy Elliott - The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) [Official Music Video]

Whatever Missy Elliot wears, you can be sure it wan’t be boring. In the 90s, she was all in to baggy clothes. None baggier than the fit she wore in the music video for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly).”

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Fresh Prince

Fresh Prince

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What gets more 90s than Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? The rapper and TV star was known for wearing Jordans with no laces, snapbacks, jerseys, overalls and many other things. When I think about 90s fashion, he’s the first person I think of.

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2000s

2000s

Everything in the 2000s got bigger. Bigger chains, bigger pants, bigger shirts, bigger brands and bigger artists. Hip-hop’s popularity continued to grow on a mainstream level and artists got more daring and brash with their outfits.

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P. Diddy

P. Diddy

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Being the hip-hop mogul that he is, P. Diddy became one of the first to bring his own brand, Sean Jean, into the mainstream and keep it there. He was known for wearing the valor Sean Jean sweatsuits.

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50 Cent

50 Cent

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Maybe not the most well-known rapper when it comes to fashion. But when he broke onto the scene with his debut album, “Get Rick or Die Tryin’,” everyone wanted to be and dress like G-Unit. Naturally, 50 Cent created a brand. They even collaborated with Reebok for their own shoe.

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Pharell

Pharell

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Pharell style in the early 2000s was unique for rap artists. He was the skater. So he wore a lot of trucker hats, BAPE, BBC, and crazy all-over print shoes.

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2010s

2010s

Artists weren’t cool with just being artists. They wanted to become fashion icons, people that could sit next to some of the most popular luxury and designer brands and hold their own.

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Kanye West

Kanye West

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The 2010s is when Kanye west really became an icon in the music industry. His popular line of Nike, Louis Vuitton and eventually Adidas sneakers was a must-have for anyone who was into hip-hop and streetwear.

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A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky

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He’s called Pretty Flack for a reason. Maybe the best-dressed artists in hip-hop. Rocky is known for wearing luxury fashion brands like Issey Miyake, Raf Simmons and Rick Owens and styling them with casual sneakers like Adidas Stan Smith and Jordan fours.

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Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

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Nicki Minaj ran the 2010s. Not only was she the most popular female rapper, she was one of the most popular rappers in the world. She solidified herself as a rockstar. At this time in rap, we were past the times of wearing baggy clothes. Nicki was the baddest woman in the game and she knew it and liked to show it.

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Current Fashion

Current Fashion

Fashion trends come and go. But nowadays, something is not popular unless there is a collaboration behind it. Artists are collaborating with some of the biggest brands in the world now more than every. Rappers have the biggest influence on what’s fashionable and what’s not.

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Travis Scott

Travis Scott

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Travis Scott has become the hype king thanks to his collaborations with Nike. His shoes are almost impossible to get your hands on unless you want to pay 20 times the price.

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Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X

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Lil Nas X’s style continues to evolve. When he first broke into the music industry he was obsessed with dressing like he was a cowboy. Now, he’ll wear whatever he damn-well pleases. There’s no box for this rap star.

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Lil Uzi Vert

Lil Uzi Vert

Lil uzi vert how much is your outfit 2022

Lil Uzi Vert is a rockstar. There’s not one particular way to define his style. He wears what he feels. He’ll wear shorts in the winter and a thermal in the summer.

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