R-evolving Style: Hip Hop's Influence on 80s and 90s Fashion

Posted on 08 January 2016

Music and fashion have always gone hand in hand throughout history. For instance, the 80s iconic Kangol hat can largely attribute its success to hip-hop artist LLCool J; he was one of the first people to be seen wearing this item.

In addition, the strong influence of sports brands intensified during the 80s, especially Adidas, Nike and Jordan; these were staples in a hip hop artist's wardrobe. The sporty/baggy chic look became a norm for artists during the 80s and is still very popular throughout the art world and general public. The 80s were also the beginning of wearing workplace shoes and clothes like Timberlands and Carhartt Jeans as everyday wear. This is further evidence of the influence this era has on today’s society. 


A key point in the intersection between hip hop and fashion occurred when Russell Simons launched the Beastie Boys.They played a pivotal role in bringing hip-hop to the mainstream and had a large influence on fashion which is still evident today. For instance, Mike D helped found X-Large, which was, and still is a very influential street wear brand.

The 90s also had a strong influence on fashion, largely because of hip-hop's wide appeal; there was a strong transition to the homeboy look.  This was portrayed with classic men’s wear and a strong emphasis on a specific statement piece.  With these looks also came color and a lot of it. This colorful look was strongly influenced by artists like TLC; these ladies loved to mix colors and patterns to add to their youthful look.


 Also during the 90s artists and producers like Russell Simmons, Jay-Z, and Sean Combs adopted the sophisticated gangsta look which brought color and high-fashion dress together. This was the beginning of hip-hop artists' adoption of a more mainstream glamorous image.


The effect that these artists had on fashion was so influential that you can still see these fashion trends over 20 years later in today’s fashion and on today’s music artists, clearly showing that these eras will never go out of style.

Unfaded Era Team

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