When MTV launched Yo! MTV Raps the world noticed, including major fashion brands. But we don’t think anybody could have predicted how influential this was going to be on the fashion industry and the way people dressed.
It introduced a whole new way to dress to the public, a way people wanted to imitate. After people saw the Run DMC video with them wearing all black and huge gold jewellery, everyone wanted to wear that style, it was a style the audience could relate to and the fashion followers caught onto this.
We began to see rappers pushing fashion boundaries by wearing things like pink suits and feathers, something which we now wouldn’t be surprised to see on the catwalk or within top brands clothing collections.
One of the major influences that made rappers style so sought after we believe was because they were dressing as themselves, they weren’t being dressed by someone to look a certain way, it was just them wearing what they like to wear. Often this was also what the public already liked to wear, or even was wearing at that time, making it that much more popular.
Hip Hop can be seen as what made people across the world dress similarly at that time, the rappers showed their own characteristics in what they were wearing, such as Slick Rick wearing a suit and bringing a Louis Vuitton bag to be complete his look, whereas Will Smith from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Jazzy Jeff wore le coq sportif. Things like these were then somehow combined together to create a style that anyone from anywhere could wear. There weren’t any particular fashion outlets yet that specifically targeted this kind of fashion culture yet and so these rappers were almost like guidance for people.
Overall it can be see how MTV Raps and the Hip Hop culture made everyone want to start dressing in the same way, no matter where they were from, everyone would want to be that icon. We at PAUSE feel it had a major influence on the fashion industry, and can still be seen to be doing so today. Major fashion brands can be seen to be incorporating street style into their collections that were not there before the days of MTV Raps, showing how much Hip Hop actually has influenced fashion today.
Words by Ella Webster