The world of urban fashion has come a long way since its mere beginnings in the 1970's. Urban clothing, also known as hip-hop clothing, street wear or ‘the city look' has expanded to now being created by some of the lead designers around the world. Urban fashion started in New York, New York. Quickly after, the trend spread to other large cities, including that of Detroit, Los Angeles and Chicago.
When hip-hop music started to become more popular in the late 1970's, listeners began following the fashion guidance of such popular hip-hop artists. Brands such as Nike and Adidas began to skyrocket with shoe sales. These shoes and track clothing articles were modeled after artists such as L.L. Cool J and Run DMC.
After street shoes had grown in popularity, then did accessories such as: extra-large sunglasses, gold and silver plated necklaces and oversized earrings. Hip-Hop artists such as Salt ‘n' Pepa sported their baggy jeans, with large hooped earrings and plated jewelry. Both men and women alike expressed interest in the new style.
In the early 1990's a dramatic change in colors began with respects to urban clothing. Neon and brightly colored shirts, pants, hats and accessories began to be worn. Such clothing was mixed and matched to create a bold look on the streets. T-shirts that looked as if they had been spray painted, or ‘tagged' also become popular, imitating a look that projected what was actually seen on the streets.
During the mid 1990's famous hip-hop artists caught on to the trend, and started becoming designers for their very own lines of urban outfitting. Certain brands that were already established also grew in popularity, like that of Tommy Hilfiger, which was strongly represented by Puff Daddy and Snoop Dog. FUBU jeans also started to increase their sales, thanks to Nelly and his crew.
Besides designer pieces, general pieces of clothing also started to become popular. Shirts with hoods, now referred to as, ‘hoodies', are now a piece of most every individual's closet space. Oversized, solid t-shirts also became a popular look, with street denim. The plain T's created a blank canvas for oversized accessories or designer jeans to stand out and be seen.
Urban clothing designers today are focusing their attention on Generation X. Generation X is a more savvy audience in that they have taken fashion designers best creations only to mix and match them and make them their own.
While bohemian chic and the grunge look was used for quite some time by urban X's as a weapon in politics and rebellion, this group is now seeing that the true spirit of fashion is not just about breaking rules for the sake of it but exploring how the rules can relate to the way they seem themselves in the world. This group is asking how they can express their individuality.
This generation of urban consumers have also become quite sophisticated in understanding how their clothing ought to fit and how fashion works. Designers are responding to this, making alterations such as designing men's pants that hang from the waist and reach just above the shoe for a classy look or designing traditional dress shirts and tailored clothing. Both of these looks are making a new trendy statement.
For those urban street savvy individuals who aren't into loud colors and yet want to maintain their unique look, fashion designers are giving them the best in denim wear and mixing it with a traditional sportswear.
How does this look? Graphic t-shirts that are not the clichéd skulls on tees but have complex graphics on them. Comfortable jeans with nothing on them. Khakis, cotton pants, and even contradiction such as wearing a destroyed t-shirt beyond recognition teamed up with a pair of clean-cut jeans. Or vice versa.
Urban fashion always changed, as it should, lest everybody be wearing the same thing and nobody appearing unique.