A Growing Affair

A look at the ever-closer relationship between hip-hop and the fashion industry



Offset walking the Fall 2019 Off-White show in Paris (Photo Credit: Photo: Alessandro Lucioni / Gorunway.com)

Hip-hop and the fashion industry have had a relationship for decades, and it has only grown since the beginning. In recent years, seeing your favorite artists modeling on the runway at a fashion show is no surprise, and it is almost expected to see rappers on the runway. The collaboration between brands – whether streetwear or high-end – is another demonstration of the impact of hip-hop on the fashion world. 

Yeezy 2 "Pure Platinum"

Yeezy 2 "Pure Platinum" (Photo Credit: Flight Club NYC)

At New York Fashion Week last year, Atlanta rapper Offset was seen walking in his first show. He modeled a vibrant pink sweater with the character Pikachu plastered across the front for designer Jeremy Scott's show. Virgil Abloh, who is now the artistic director at Louis Vuitton, has ties with several artists in the hip-hop industry, which traces back to when he served as a creative director for Kanye West. Last year at his debut show for LV, Abloh got Cleveland rapper Kid Cudi and Atlanta rapper Playboi Carti to model pieces for the show. In addition to those two, Kanye West and Asap Rocky were both sitting front row – both of whom have had a dynamic impact on the fashion industry themselves. Even this month, Virgil Abloh had his Fall 2019 show for his brand Off-White, with Playboi Carti and Offset walking. 

Playboi Carti for Off-White Fall 2019; photo by Sandra Rose

Playboi Carti walking Off-White's Fall 2019 show (Photo Credit: Sandra Rose)

Hip-hop artists and fashion brands collaborating is no surprise, and is even expected for the modern day. One of the earlier examples would be Kanye West working with Nike and Louis Vuitton to create a range of rare sneakers that go for thousands of dollars. After cutting ties with Nike, West then signed a deal with Adidas and began to release sneakers and lines of clothing. 

Asap Rocky for Dior

Asap Rocky for Dior (Photo Credit: Dior Homme)

In 2016, Asap Rocky was recruited by Kris Van Assche from Dior to essentially become the face of the high-end brand. In addition to the Dior campaign, it can be argued that Rocky was responsible for the revival of the brand Guess, because of his collaboration with them. 

Under Armour x Awge SRLo

 Under Armour x Awge SRLo (Photo Credit: Under Armour)

One of Rocky's latest moves includes his endorsement deal signing with Under Armour. Though UA is seen as more of a performance brand, it could be understood that the reason the brand signed the rapper was to expand outside of just performance. These certainly are not all the times artists have collaborated with fashion brands, artists have worked with streetwear brands, high-end brands and even performance brands.  

Certainly, these are not the only variables that demonstrate the relationship between fashion and hip-hop, but some of the most notable. Between brand collaborations and rappers walking runways, there is ample reason to believe that this will become an ordinary sight. Hip-hop and fashion's relationship will only grow in the future. 

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