Hip-hop celebrates 50 years, FIT museum plans new exhibition – WWD
Hip-hop’s influence on fashion now seems pervasive, but the FIT Museum is planning an exhibit that will magnify its origins and lasting influence.
From February 8 to April 23, “Fresh, Fly and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip-Hop Style” will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the creation of hip-hop. The show will be the first that the museum devotes to a musical genre.
In a joint interview Monday, Elena Romero and Elizabeth Way of the Fashion Institute of Technology, who co-hosted the show, discussed hip-hop’s next milestone anniversary and how they’re trying to expand the narrative around it. of the kind. Hip-hop was born in 1973, thanks to the black and brown youth of the Bronx, who created the definitive style of music, dance and visual art that reflected their way of life.
As a former deputy editor of DNR and former editor of WWD, Romero is part of the hip-hop generation, having covered hip-hop fashion at its peak, having experienced it as part of its culture. and writing the book “Free Stylin’: How Hip-Hop Changed the Fashion Industry.
She came up with the concept for the show in 2018. “Fashion is that unofficial sixth element of hip-hop. It’s a form of expression and the style goes hand in hand with the music,” she said.
Alongside their holistic approach, the fact that the exhibition is curated by women is remarkable as much of the market perspective has traditionally come from a male perspective. Exhibit designer Courtney Sloane is also connected to hip-hop and has worked with Queen Latifah, Sean Combs and Bad Boy Entertainment, and designed the offices of Vibe magazine and hip-hop exhibits, including one for Rock & Roll of Fame.
Visitors will learn from the start of the exhibition how hip-hop style was the dress code of choice in different club venues. Various forms of media, including record labels, television shows, and movies, have used fashion as a vehicle to promote hip-hop artists and ideas. The FIT Museum will highlight sections such as The Designer Dreams, High Fashion Does Hip-Hop, Collaborations and Hip-Hop in High Fashion to showcase the connections between established brands such as Jordache, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. There will also be information on custom designers, such as Dapper Dan, 5001 Flavors husband and wife team of Guy Wood Sr. and Sharene, and Shirt King Phade, the pioneering graffiti streetwear designer.
While celebrity brands and endorsements were commonplace, in the early ’90s hip-hop-inspired fashion was a popular way for musicians and entrepreneurs to expand their reach. Some, like FUBU, have branched out into other categories like costumes and bedding, but still with a hip-hop twist, according to Romero.
And many went from musicians to moguls in the 90s, including Sean “Puffy” Combs with Sean Jean, Russell Simmons with Phat Farm, and Jay-Z and Damon Dash with Rocawear. They were among the entrepreneurs who helped spark more interest in the sector, Romero said.
“There were a number of artists who tried their hand at entrepreneurship. It made a lot of sense to them. They realized how much money was spent on merchandise sold, when they were on tour, and what their percentages of those sales were. They saw how influential they had become on fashion brands and style,” Romero said. “Going beyond mere endorsement to push their own brands was a natural progression for the artist. In many cases, we ended up seeing them making more money in fashion than in music at a certain moment.
At the Museum at FIT, gallery visitors will also find sections for Sports Influence, Pink, Celebrity Style and Hip-Hop Glam. About 50 collectors and lenders provided fashion, jewelry, sneakers and other accessories — there are even dazzling custom acrylic nails from Cardi B’s nail stylist, Jenny Bui. Disco Fever in the Bronx’s Sal Abbatiello, Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box, Monica Lynch of Tommy Boy Records, April Walker and others have helped illustrate the global impact of hip-hop artists as fashion icons of the red carpets in the 21st century. Romero also participated – his signature brass belt buckle will be featured in the exhibit.
The show’s goal is to broaden the perspective of hip-hop beyond a particular look or time period to see the full range for “men, women, and everywhere,” he said. Romero.
Hip-hop has been one of the strongest influences on culture since the 90s. From a fashion perspective, traces of hip-hop can be found on the high fashion and designer catwalks, as well than in American brands and intercontinental style.
Arguably, 50 years of hip-hop style is too much to encompass in a single exhibit, so next year’s show is skewed more through a New York lens, the curators said, with spotlight on the how hip-hop made denim, outerwear and formalwear its own.
Flagship pieces like the Adidas trainers, tracksuits and sheepskin coats that Run DMC helped popularize will be featured, as will clothing designed by Karl Kani and worn by the late Tupac Shakur; and Aaliyah’s Tommy Hilfiger headband and jeans. Other fashion items once worn by Lil’ Kim, Cardi B and Lil Nas X will be on display.
To help bring the exhibition to life after it opens, a symposium is planned for next year, an accompanying book will be published by Rizzoli, and further lectures are planned. “It’s about being able to capture the stories and the stories at this very important moment, looking at hip-hop at 50. But it’s also about how style was so important in promoting music, artists and something that has become an international phenomenon,” Romero said.