To celebrate Black Awareness month this October, we’re taking a look back at 80's/90's hip-hop fashion, its roots in the black community and how it came to be. '90s nostalgia is a pivotal part of the fashion scene and ‘90s hip-hop fashion has arguably been at the core of that resurgence. Hip-hop represents a significant intersection of identity, culture, style, politics and aesthetics that endures to this day.
So here’s the rundown of some of our favourite staples of the ‘90s hip-hop fashion wardrobe.
VARSITY JACKETS or BASEBALL JACKETS
Hip hop fashion often took influence from existing fashion trends. The Varsity jacket or letter jacket (historically named the letterman jacket), a baseball-styled jacket traditionally worn by U.S college students to symbolize team pride.
Hugely influential hip-hop groups NWA and Run DMC adopted the baseball jacket, partly for its durability and warmth, pairing it with denim and hoodies for an essential street look for the colder months. It became part of an image which projected an expensive look whilst rejecting its historical ties with elitism and prestige.
Heavyweight, often oversized and decorated with flare, the Varsity jacket look gained immense popularity, becoming an essential component of the 80s and 90s fashion scene making it a staple of cool.
A lot of the early ‘90s hip-hop movement had its roots in the East Coast/West Coast divide. This meant opposing sports team attire became a defining component of hip-hop fashion. The signature hip hop fashion typified in the '90s was made up by combining street style with official NFL, NBA and NHL sponsored sports wear so vests were lightweight, loose-fitting and more oversized. Women often adopted the oversized look and teamed with a visible sports bra or tube top underneath.
Nowadays we are used to what the Americans call 'sneaker culture'. Trainers are a staple part of the fashion industry from high-street to high-fashion luxury, but historically trainers were quite simply sports footwear. In the mid-80's, iconic black basketball player Michael Jordan teamed up with Nike and created his signature Air Jordan sneaker and the trainer industry was changed forever. Nike developed the series into the Air Jordan line, and the trainer business became a huge success and a crucial component of the hip-hop scene, paving the way for other giants such as Adidas and Puma.
This heavily quilted thick jacket was a crucial garment for keeping warm on the cold streets of windy cities such as Chicago and New York. It was black youth in cities on the East coast who took an essential piece of clothing insulated for their climate and turned it into a fashion must-have, teaming it with Champion hoodies, Timberland boots and the quintessential beanie.
When East coast hip-hop artists rose to fame, they took the street fashion specific to their home cities to the masses, creating global trends.
Shop iconic 80's/90's hip-hop online and instore with Goldsmith Vintage.