Hip-Hop Clothing Casual Movement:
Cross Colours, Phat Farm, Mecca, ENYCE, 555-Soul, Roc-A-Wear
I put these brands into the same category because they all never really moved past the sweatshirt/t-shirt model. Roc-A-Wear recently attempted a relaunch of their brand but it didn't have the traction to move past the launch party. Cross Colours showed the profitability potential for a Hip-Hop clothing line. Don't be embarrassed if you ever owned some Cross Colours clothing. Be embarrassed if you STILL own some Cross Colours clothing.
Hip-Hop Clothing Sophisticate Movement:
Karl Kani, Phat Farm, Sean John
Karl Kani really tried to push the envelope for what would define a Hip-Hop clothing brand. SeanJohn took the handoff from Kani clothing and did some really excellent work in design and quality of fabrics but eventually all of these brands would succumb to design void and repetition which would cause the brands to fold.
Hip-Hop Clothing Athletic Wear Movement:
Champion, Mitchell & Ness, Reebok, Nike, Stall & Dean
Hip-Hop has long since loved team jerseys because they represent a regional affiliation. The athletic jersey movement reached a pinnacle over a decade ago and took a big hit on the chin when Jay-Z declared he no longer wore jerseys. Okay, I don't exactly credit Jay with the authentic in-game sportswear demise. I blame it on FUBU and their ubiquitous '05' jersey which was worn mostly by people who still smoked crack.
Hip-Hop Clothing Streetwear Movement:
Stussy, P.N.B., Supreme, Ecko, freshJive, Volcom
Streetwear is the unapologetic use of a hooded sweatshirt as workday attire. I could list a thousand brands which have sprouted up since the late 1980s but none of them even matter. The streetwear category begins and ends with Stussy. Their tee shirt game has been flawless from the rip. Streetwear generates sales far greater than the level of design work placed into its garments so that makes it a popular demographic for clothing manufacturers. I never pay full price though. TJ Maxx is where streetwear lives for cheap.
Hip-Hop Clothing Denim Movement:
Levis, Lee, Guess, Tale-Lord, Girbaud, Evisu, True Religion
Guess was my absolute favorite brand of jeans. Their earliest styles had leather accents. Guess was a big step up from the utilitarian Lee and Levis brands. I can remember when Lee was at their zenith you might have someone mug you for the patch on the back of the jeans because of this crazy urban myth that a retail sportswear store was giving away free VHS players for anyone who brought in fifty Lee patches. The streets were on fire that summer.
Hip-Hop Clothing Utility/Military Movement:
Alpha Industries, Carharrt
If you were ever a fan of Mobb Deep then you owned a Carharrt hoody and and Alpha Industries M-1 jacket. This was the Hip-Hop uniform adopted by rap nihilists from New York to Berlin. As a matter of fact, Carharrt is so big in Europe right now that they have boutique stores in countries like Sweden. Can you imagine buying a Carharrt conehead hoody from a boutique? I just hope they have the boxcutters and hammers behind glass.
Hip-Hop Clothing Outdoorsman Movement:
Timberland, NorthFace, Woolrich, Pendleton
Wool and Gore-tex are as disimilar as fabrics can be yet they both represent the ideal for the outdoorsmen. Hip-Hop was begun by urbanites who rarely had the resources to go mountain hiking or pursue outdoor recreational activities other than mostly avoiding unjustifiable frisks from policemen, but if someone from the Bronx ever got the chance to go to Everest they would undoubtedly wear Timberland boots and a NorthFace coat. Since that's what they wear to climb the steps to the elevated train on Tremont Avenue.
Hip-Hop Clothing Conspicuous Consumption Movement:
Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, MCM, Prada, Lacoste
Tom Ford won all kinds of design awards when he took the Gucci monogram print and crafted ready to wear clothing from it. He was creditied with having an 'Urban Chic Sensibility'. Man listen, that nigga was just copying Harlem's own Dapper Dan who was doing the same thing thirty years prior. Hip-Hop loves to act like it has more money than is actually in its bank account. Instead of wearing a gold necklace you might have a calfskin leather jacket with an all over MCM print on it. The Izod Lacoste aligator was one of the most bootlegged trademarks of all time. Bootlegging is definitely Hip-Hop.
Hip-Hop Clothing Madison Avenue Movement:
United Colors of Benetton, Nautica, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Abercrombie & Fitch
These brands had advertisements which were better than their clothing. Madison Avenue married clothing designers when these brands released their products. Understand that these brands are all seeds from the godhead of Ralph Lauren. Initially, Benetton actually made their rugby jerseys with more flair than Polo or even Lacoste did, but the real height of Benetton was their print ad campaign. Donna Karan New York was the greatest of these Madison Avenue brands by the way that Foxy Brown and Lil' Kim namechecked them in countless rhymes, but even DKNY faltered when their design team couldn't match the hype of their own publicity machine.
Hip-Hop Clothing Aspirational Apparel Movement:
Polo Ralph Lauren is the most Hip-Hop clothing brand of all time. It was created by a man from the Bronx who was the son of European immigrants, not gentility. Ralph Lifshitz created an alter ego for himself just like graff artists, or rappers do. Ralph Lauren then brought the ultimate image of high life luxury to the American public. Ralph Lauren also understood how to market his clothing to describe his high-end aspirations. Most importantly, Ralph Lauren designed his clothing to hold timeless details and construction so that these pieces would actually last when they were taken care of.
One of the main reasons Ralph Lauren runs away from being associated with Hip-Hop is because he would also have to admit culpability in the means which people acquired his clothing. People living in abject poverty in the nation's urban centers still have their own aspirations for wealth and luxury and if Polo Ralph Lauren defines those attributes then people would have to acquire those items. By any means necessary.