Hip-Hop Fashion Trends Throughout History

There’s no argument that hip-hop hasn't evolved over the last 20 to 30 years. It has. While most can agree that commercialized, mainstream media now controls the music industry, which includes some forms of hip-hop, we can also understand that it is untouched in it’s rarest form, fashion.

Hip-hop fashion still penetrates, influences and inspires the hearts of the future 20 to 30 years later. Fashion promotes the hip-hop culture and sometimes even dominates it.  

Let’s reflect on the 1970s when Run DMC were iconic rap pioneers musically and aesthetically. They set the standard for B-boy fashion with their Adidas tracksuits, shell-toe sneakers, Kangol hats and oversized chunky, gold jewelry.


Public Enemy sparked minds with not only their lyrical prestige, but also their image.  They’re style was extremely systematic for the culture of the 1980s. They rocked starter jackets, sports sneakers and baseball caps, while other members of the group dressed in paramilitary uniform as a political statement directly correlating with the message in their rhymes.

TLC cemented the baggy overall style in the 1990s as well as bright colors and insane prints. Aaliyah rocked also rocked the baggy tomboy style.

In the early 2000s there were oversized clothes, du rags, more gold chains and diamond grills. Artist began to design their own fashion brands such as Nelly with Vokal and Apple Bottom; Jay-Z with Rocawear; P. Diddy with Sean John; Pharrell with Billionaire Boys Club; and 50 Cent with G-Unit.

AND… most, if not all, of the aforementioned fashion trends were revived and implemented into the street wear and hip-hop culture today. There’s no need to explain fashion today and now. You know. However, I want to bring awareness of the trends and fashion in hip-hop culture locally.