hip hop

The History of Urban Wear, Street Wear and Hip-Hop Clothing


Clothing is an important factor of who we are. That is why urban clothing has become such a popular trend in the last couple of years. So what is Urban Clothing? Urban clothing actually has its roots back in the 1980's, with the emergence of hip hop. This streetwear was actually made up of established sports brands such as Lecoste, Fila, Kangol and Adidas to name a few.

Also with the emergence of hiphop there was also the introduction of break dancing. Because most of the moves originated from the street, the clothing had to be comfortable, and show a bit about who you were. Most breakdances would wear tracksuits and sweatbands with a brand name of tennis shoe. Hip hop clothing also showed your prestige and wealth. With most rappers such as Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J, wearing expensive heavy jewelry such as heavy gold rope chains, and even gold teeth. Bomber jackets were another essential hip hop clothing item.

As time progressed in the eighties the style changed to a more urban fashion. Young people would wear car badges across there necks, often stolen from an unknowing motorists vehicle. These includes Mercedes and VW badges. Instead of Kangols, baseball caps became the norm often associated to the area you lived in. Out went the bomber jackets and in came the hooded sweatshirts. These were often used as a way of hiding your identity while tagging a wall or train carriage. Tagging like Graffiti allowed the artist to import his own unique style to an area, often to the upset of officials and the police. To combat this specific areas were opened up to allow taggers to legally use, however, the idea of ​​it being illegal and getting used was often the thrill behind the tag.

Moving into present times, and clothing has taken on a new meaning. Instead of urban clothes being about prestige or wealth its all about attitude. This was brought into place with gangsta rappers such as Tupac Shakur, Kayne West and Biggy smalls. The clothing is now about street, attitude and showing what your made of. Urban Hoodies are still in but the hoods are often up to protect the identity, often worn over the top of a baseball cap. Although hip hop fashions have changed, the meaning behind them has not. Showing who you are and what you are about has always been the way with the urban hip hop culture and always will.

Source by Neil Maycock

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Mitchel Turner



I’m a journalist from Oxford specializing in hip-hop and culture.