Monday, May 15, 2006

Music has dictated the trends in fashion for decades. From the Beatles to Elvis on down to Michael Jackson! Remember that fake red and black Thriller jacket you had?? Of course you do! How about the penny loafers, white sox and those tight denim floods you had trying to pretend you were in the "Beat It" video? Wearing that stuff would be corny azz hell now, but back then it was in (for some). With all of the music driven fashion trends that have occurred in the past, no other genre of music has had a contiuous and dominant impact on it like hiphop! I still remember how bad I wanted a Kangol hat because LL Cool J was sporting them. Run-DMC made us understand how wearing Addidas gear automatically put you in the "Fly" category when it came to fashion! If you weren't feelin' the Addidas, you could get fresh by bustin' the suede Pumas with the fat laces reppin' the breakdancers. From the Gazelle glasses that the Fat Boys wore, to the dookie-gold rope chains that Slick Rick sported, hiphop had original style and flavor that the culture on the map.

Things have definitely changed over the last few years? The innocence of the hiphop culture has been totally lost! Dressing like your favorite rapper is not just for show-n-tell anymore, it's a profitable multi-million dollar a year business these days! A lot of people think that Karl Kani was the first major urban fashion designer making moves back in the day, but it was actually Marc Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan is the founder of the imfamous Pelle Pelle clothing company based out of Detroit, Michigan. He actually started out back in 1978 making high-end leather coats for the urban youth that were actually affordable. Then he started concentrating on urban clothing in 1992 when he hit the streets running with the Pelle Pelle line. At that point the Pelle Pelle went nationwide. Soon after that Karl Kani came onto the scene with his signature style of clothing. By Karl having a popular rapper by the name of Tupac representing his company, and sporting his trademark signatured gear in videos and concerts made him popular fast! These two pioneers began what we now know to be true urban hiphop fashion! After them would come many other urban designers like Mecca, Fubu, Phat Farm, Sean John, Rocawear & Enyce...just to name a few! While top white designers of the past are losing their spots on department store shelves, urban fashions are flying off the racks in 2006!

From what I understood, the original premise for urban designers was to make affordable clothing for the urban community, to counter act the over priced white designers like Polo, Nautica and Tommy Hilfiger? That idealization has been lost. Now, it seems like the black designers are exploiting their own people? Charging outrageous prices for denim jeans, shirts and shoes just because your favorite rapper wears it seems senseless? Doesn't $90 seem like too much for a pair of jeans? What makes these newer black designers any different than the white designers that sold priced goods in the past? Nothing! The worse thing about it is the urban designers had the black youth as their targeted audience. With the success of hiphop in the mainstream, white America has jumped on the urban fashion bandwagon as well! You would think with the large success in sales over the years for companies like Rocawear and Sean John they would lower prices, but instead they have gone up! Dammit Puffy!!!!

Two white companys that are making a serious financial killing off of hiphop's success is Timberland and Nike! Let's start with Timberland! What would hiphop be without a fresh pair of Timbs? I remember when all Timberlands were good for was a reliable pair of work boots! No style, no fashion...just WORK! You could actually get a decent pair of Timbs for about $70 back in the day! Now, since the hiphop has said that Timbs are cool and fashionable, they have quickly risen to about $140 on average! Why? Because they know you will buy them, and so will I?? I can't front, I like Timberlands, so sue me. I wait until they go on sale though. Nike has taken another approach. They have released several retro sneakers from back in 80's, and the top seller is the imfamous Air Force 1 (shown at the top of this post). Due to the cult like success of this shoe, Nike has slowly eased up the once $55 priced shoe up to $80 for the traditional style AFI, and continue upwards to about $200 for the limited editions! Families are going bankrupt trying to keep up with the urban fads/fashions that exist today! Why do some people have on a pair of brand new Timberlands, but they don't have any food in their refrigerator? Hmmmmm.....

Okay....If you have read this far, you are probably thinking that I hate hiphop fashion and what it stands for? No I don't! Overall, I love hiphop and the fashion that goes along with it. I like to see black folks getting some of this money that we have been providing to a biased industry for years! I do have a few questions though, that maybe some of ya'll can answer for me? I'm going to this portion of the post Jadakiss style! Why???

Why does everybody sag their pants, and nobody really knows that in jail that means, "I'm all yours for a pack of smokes?"
Why do birdchested 15 year-old boys by up all the Large and X-Large shirts at the mall?
Why do these same boys wear their T-shirts so long that it looks like a white sun dress?
Why do black designers make all of their denim jeans long azz hell, no matter what size your waste is?
Why did pink T-shirts become a fashion statement?
Why does everybody want to dress alike instead of being different?
Why do folks have on a new pair of Air Force Ones with holes in their socks?
Why does the clothing that looks more worn out and damaged costs the most?
Why does every pair of urban jeans have large words, letters, stains or tears on them?
Why are most of the urban stores in hood ran by Arabs & Koreans, instead of blacks?
Why does every wack rapper start a clothing line before their album sells 50 copies?
Why did Jay-Z trade in his basketball jerseys for button ups?
Why did Rocawear start selling button ups right after Jay-Z traded in his jerseys?
Why do parents buy an infant that can't walk yet a pair of Timberland boots?
Why do toddlers know the names of designer clothing before they learn their A-B-Cs?
Why does your momma have on more hiphop urban gear than you do??
Why did Mecca and FUBU fall the hell off?
Why are Master P and Lil' Romeo the only people wearing P. Miller gear??
Why do black folks waste money on stuff that doesn't matter, just to say that they got it?
Why even after reading all of this post, it won't make a damn difference???



Suga B said...

I agree with you about how hiphop fashion has changed. I buy a lot of clothes myself, so I can relate. Nice post!

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