Free Stylin': How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry

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ABC-CLIO, 2012 - Business & Economics - 242 pages

This book sources interviews with scholars, urban designers, music experts, financial analysts, retailers, and hip hop celebrities to chronicle the compelling story of how hip hop transformed the fashion world and exploded into a $3 billion clothing industry.

For years, designers and manufacturers took cues from the streets to enhance their clothing lines, but before the 1980s the urban consumer was never recognized as a viable demographic. In a push to appeal to young customers, the fashion industry began hiring and backing talented African American designers and entrepreneurs. This seemingly unconventional union made business sense: seasoned fashion executives brought proven track records, while aspiring designers provided street credibility and a fresh perspective on design. The end result: a multi-billion dollar industry.

This book traces the fascinating unfolding of hip hop fashion from its roots to the present day. It explores how hip hop transitioned from "the hood" to the runway; how race, ethnicity, and culture played into commercialism; how celebrities impacted the fashion industry; and what ultimately led major department stores to jump on the urban bandwagon. Utilizing the author's journalistic lens and based upon interviews with urban fashion designers, entrepreneurs, fashion veterans, trend forecasters, and hip hop celebrities, each chapter is akin to an oral history that provides not just facts but also invaluable analysis and historical perspective.

* A foreword by Daymond John, cofounder of FUBU, star of ABC's The Shark Tank, and author of The Display of Power and The Brand Within

* A chronology of 20th-century fashion styles as well as urban fashion from the late 1970s to present

* Many photographs of pioneering urban designers, hip hop fashion trends, hip hop celebrities, and more

* A multicultural bibliography containing significant materials from the fields of history, music, culture, and fashion

 

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Contents

1 A Century of Style
1
2 Fresh Dressed
9
3 The Revolution Will Be Publicized
25
4 Solidarity in Cross Colours
41
5 Brooklyns Finest
61
6 TailorMade
77
7 Hip Hopreneurs
95
8 How FUBU Changed the World
113
11 They Got Fashion Game
153
12 White Behind the Brands
161
13 The Ecko The Rhino and the Empire That Marc Built
169
14 Dollars and Sense
183
Epilogue
197
Notes
203
Bibliography
211
Index
225

9 Hip Hop Hooray
129
10 Urban LuxeA Sean John Story
143
About the Author
241
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Elena Romero teaches fashion journalism and a myriad of media courses as adjunct assistant professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.