Hip-hop started in the South Bronx during the 1970s. The sound and culture gradually spread around the world, transcending nationality and race.
Hip-hop stars formally stepped into the fashion industry by becoming brand ambassadors for clothing companies and even starting their own lines like Jay-Z’s Rocawear brand or Sean P. Diddy Combs’ Sean John in the ’90s. Slowly but surely high-end fashion designers noticed these rap superstars influence and luxury brands began to collaborate with these artists, making the genre even more influential.
Nicki Minaj recently released a capsule collection with Fendi called “Fendi Prints on” and East Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane also has a partnership with fashion powerhouse Gucci for his “Cruise” collection. High-end designers are not just stopping at clothing collaborations, iconic Italian label Versace and rapper 2 Chainz released the “Chain Reaction” sneaker and unveiled them officially during its Winter 2018 show in Milan and it went on to become one of their fastest- selling sneakers.
These are just a few examples, other hip-hop artists like ASAP Rocky, Off-Set, Travis Scott, and Tyga are also delving into the fashion industry. These ventures and partnerships make sense because the visibility of the genre is the highest it has ever been.
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Hip-hop’s influence, however, does not stop at the musician; even designers like Virgil Abloh (Off-White), Jerry Lorenzo (Fear of God) and Kerby Jean-Raymond (Pyer Moss) have been embraced by the culture because they put rappers in their campaigns, fashion shows, and lookbooks.
In turn, hip-hop allowed these designers to create their own versions of high-end clothing. Virgil Abloh is entering his third year of being the creative director of Louis Vuitton, which is the top luxury brand in the world with a $32.233 billion brand valuation and 14% year-over-year growth according to Business Insider.
Hip-hop’s impact on high-end fashion is undeniable. It’s surreal to know that the genre that originated in the parks and street corners is now one of the faces of a billion-dollar industry!