Music and Fashion have always been synonymous with each other. But as of late, Hip-hop’s influence on fashion, and vice versa, seems to have reached fever pitch.
Rewind to the 90’s to remember Run-DMC’s collaboration with Adidas, sportswear brands such as FILA, Puma and Nike were at the forefront of partnering with hip-hop stars. This early success of hip-hop in fashion has triumphed in the past decade and today most rappers have some affiliation within the fashion industry. From Kanye West with his Balmain campaign, A$AP Rocky as the face of Dior Homme and Young Thug for Calvin Klein, musicians are making phenomenal waves within the fashion industry. Streetwear is now tantamount with luxury with hip-hop at the fore front.
“You know [fashion] is like voting. Fashion is merely an opinion. And I’ve got a lot of opinions.” Kanye doesn’t lack confidence in his fashion acumen, and whilst most other rappers serve as the face of brands, Kanye is one of the only rappers to design. Designing for brands such as Adidas, Nike and his own label Yeezy.
There is no doubt Kanye has found success in both music and fashion. It is probably also no coincidence soon after West brought Adidas back into the fashion spotlight through his line of footwear ‘Yeezy’, the brands classic ‘Superstar’ and ‘Original’ saw a massive resurgence, worn by supermodels and street goers alike. With his self-proclaimed ‘Kanye Effect’, referring to the way in which the rapper has commanded such admiration and success through unshakable confidence and self-belief, Kanye has set a precedent for rappers and designers alike within the fashion industry.
Finding fame in 2013, A$AP’s love for fashion was evident. Far from his early hit “Fashion Killa” where he namedropped brands from Prada to Alexander Wang, the rapper now partners with brands such as Dior and Guess; being the first person of colour to front a Dior campaign.
Rocky developed into a fashion influencer, becoming the face-du-jour of luxury brands looking for a boost. He even got his A$AP Mob a deal with PacSun. Yet, the idea of following in the footsteps of Kanye West and launching his own brand is not a desire of the young rapper. “I would never want to be a fashion designer,” he told the New York Times.
Most rappers preach about the come up, the luxury lifestyle and expensive things, and what better way to show you have made it than wearing luxury brands. The rise of rappers within the fashion industry has allowed brands to bring in a wider demographic, fashion has become approachable to artists and fans alike.
Fashion and celebrities have always gone hand in hand but as of late these brands are aiming for popular hip-hop artists. Rappers are, arguable the most valuable marketing tool brands have today, shaping the rise of hip-hop stars as the new fashion royalty.