The Evolution of Hip Hop Within Fashion

In the 90s TV radio and music video brought hip-hop to the mainstream. With hip-hop’s greater exposure, fashion brands received more recognition as high-end brands become a symbol of status amongst rappers. Since then, Hip-hop and fashion have coincided side by side and had lead to the empowerment of hip-hop artists.

In 1994 Snoop Dogg appearance on Saturday night live was a defining moment in Hip Hop fashion. During the taping, Snoop Dogg wore an iconic, stripped Hilfiger Rugby jersey. Following this appearance, Tommy Hilfiger logo items sold out completely the very next day.


Cross colours became the first brand to cater specifically and design for the hip-hop community. It came at a time of great divide; so, upon launching its ground-breaking line of apparel, it upheld a single message: Clothing Without Prejudice. This message was effortlessly endorsed and advocated by the likes of Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre who done several photoshoots for the brand. Cross Colours even supported Death rows whole summer tour in 1992.


Singers such as TLC wore the clothing line in their music videos and even customised it with condoms to add a fresher look. They promoted the clothing line to women which encouraged more women to buy cross colours although they were men’s styles. Cross colours were able to go from a zero to a 100million dollar brand because it was clothing which represented the hip-hop culture, the streets, the ghetto and the struggle for equality experienced by African Americans. Their simple message still has importance in today society. Maybe, it is time for cross colours to make a comeback.


The success of cross colours helped to birth a series of other entrepreneurs. Many artists decided they wanted to create their clothing lines which were representative of them and their surroundings.

In 2004, P Diddy was recognized as the transgressor of Hip-hop fashion into the mainstream world. At the CFDA awards, he beat the likes of season Vets such as Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors to win the Menswear Designer of the Year award for his work at Sean John. P Diddy was able to make the valor tracksuit and denim jeans suit famous worldwide even though they were clothing items that Hip-hop artist had been wearing in their videos for years prior. His success goes far to show how hip-hop has been able to use its music and the authenticity of what was being worn in the streets to become a luxury but an affordable mainstream staple.


Jay z also achieved a similar success of bringing the street style, of hip-hop into the mainstream. In 2000 Rocawear signed a deal with Midway Games and PlayStation 2 to design clothing for the "Afro Thunder" character from the popular video game "Ready 2 Rumble." The new apparel line was sold in Macy's stores and gained popularity with subsequent Rumble game releases. His clothing line also made it to on-screen television. His line worn by Beanie Sigel and other fellow rappers in the films 'State Property' produced by Roc-A-Fella Pictures and Lions Gate Films.

jay z

Today, the Hip-hop culture continues to use its platform to promote and brand street wear clothing. However, it has gained considerable recognition that it is sold at a much higher level than it was in the 90s. While very popular and well sought after, Kanye West Yeezy seasons 1 will set you back $880-$1,650 for a knitted jumper and its shoes range from $200-500. Despite this, it manages to sell well which shows how far hip-hop clothing has come and its influence in mainstream society.