How To Dress: Hip-Hop Style!

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May Music Month Fashion Special: How To Dress Hip-Hop Style

May is of course music month and here at nzgirl we are truly getting into the spirit of things!

It has come to our attention that fashion and music have a very closely connected relationship – in fact, neither would exist without the other.

So much of what we wear is influenced by the bold and vivacious video clips that are constantly being spurned out by MTV and the actual stars of these video clips have an even bigger influence. Many of them have acquired fashion icon status.

So for our first in a series of May Music Month fashion specials –
nzgirl presents How To Dress: Hip-Hop Style!

Hip-Hop is one of the hottest genres in music today – especially in Western society. Over the past decade its popularity has continued to go from strength to strength and the influence it holds over the entertainment industry is huge. The major players in hip-hop today are some of the most powerful celebrities on the planet. No longer do they just dominate the music charts – no, hip-hop is taking over fashion lines too.

Bottom line is the hip-hop celebrity generates dollars. Rap mogul Russell Simmons and founder of Def Jam Records was the first to understand the equation of fashion + rap = celebrity and in turn has produced the Phat Farm, Baby Phat and FUBU fashion lines respectively. He has wisely retained rap icons such as LL Cool J and Alicia Keys as spokespeople.
Says Russell, “Hip-hop is all about attitude. It helps a lot if you have the fashion cred to go with it, but that doesn’t mean you have to be a copycat.”
“It’s more of a feeling and a spirit than a look per se,” adds James Campbell, who works in marketing and public relations for Baby Phat. “Street wear is not definitive. It hits so many different demographics and can be interpreted in so many different ways.”

Designers such as Gucci, Prada and Versace are constantly being rapped about and flaunted by the big hip-hop stars. With the inherent entrepreneurial spirit that has been a part of the hip-hop scene since the beginning, it is no surprise that many hip-hop artists have started their own successful clothing lines.

In addition to Simmons’ fashion empire, famous rappers who have jumped on the rag trade wagon include P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Missy Elliot and Eve. These guys are arguably the biggest stars in hip-hop today and they all perfectly epitomise what hip-hop fashion represents in today’s society.

P. Diddy deserves recognition simply for ‘bringin the bling’ into the noughties! Never before has it been so acceptable for a bloke to dress in a white suit, hat and silver jewellery but P. Diddy has stamped his mark on it and declared it okay for men to take pride in themselves in a flashy and sophisticated manner. The tip is to have loads of attitude and loads of cash wouldn’t hurt either!

Missy Elliot, designer for Gap Clothing and the Queen of Cool, can be bowed down to and thanked graciously for leading the style revolution which has resulted in women’s fashion relaxing a little over the last few years. Thanks to our fair lady Missy, baggy jeans, man style singlets, polo shirts, funky trainers and trucker caps – trends which had previously been reserved solely for men, have now been made acceptable fashion items for us females to wear. Like Mr. P, Missy has attitude and this factor alone grants her the grace to carry herself in an admirably hip and funky manner.

Other stars such as Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams have to be acknowledged simply for their ability to reek cool – and as for the girls like Eve and Lil Kim? Well, I guess you just have to give the gals snaps for their courageous fashion endeavors. I mean, being more famous for your crazy outfits than your music must count for something right?

So how do you get the hip-hop look? The key thing to remember is attitude. Hip-hop artists have loads of the stuff and they are not afraid to flaunt it. Bright coloured suits, heavily logoed tees, funky trainers, visors, chains and heaps of bling are the key ingredients here.

If you want to achieve a more feminine look through the hip-hop medium, then you will need low waisted skirts and jeans to accentuate those hips, and tight singlets to emphasize that chest. I think the words Sexy and Powerful sum up what hip-hop fashion represents for women rather perfectly.

So if you’re a big fan of hip-hop and you want to dress just like Eve or Alicia Keys then don’t hold back! Hip-hop fashion has never before been so accessible to today’s market yet it still continues to represent independence, individuality and pure spirit. WORD.

Melanie Smith

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