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As we approach the end of 2023, it's still safe to say that hip-hop, originating from the Bronx, has become an indispensable part of everyday life and even fashion. It has reigned as the most listened-to music genre in the entire United States for years. But what exactly is hip-hop, and how does it influence our lives?
Every element of the genre has acclimatized on a global scale.
In the Hungarian music scene, you'll find a current domination of new-wave rap festivals, packed trap parties, and jazz-infused concerts by old-school bands, captivating audiences of all ages in Budapest and throughout Hungary.
In comparison to its blues-influenced origins, hip-hop has evolved significantly. Early performers of the 70s and 80s used their music to express anger and social inequalities explicitly and directly, breaking away from the confines of the blues framework. Albums from that era, like those by the Wu-Tang Clan, provided a stark portrayal of the social issues facing young black individuals and their yearning for escape. Musically, mentally, professionally, and prosodically, this period marked the zenith of hip-hop. However, in the post-modern era, the genre has taken on a broad spectrum, originating from a single source but branching out in multiple directions. What sets hip-hop apart is its ability to create a lasting, ever-present fashion trend, with some of its artists crossing over into the realm of “trendsetters”. Here, we'll introduce three artists primarily known for their music, but who have recently ventured into the world of fashion as well.
Kanye West (YEEZY):
Kanye West is a figure full of musical and personal controversies. In 2022, his anti-Semitic comments caused a stir in North America, and his bid for the presidency was a scandal as well. Since his debut album in 2004, his professional success has remained consistent, except for the 2018 "Ye" album. Although he had been designing for brands like Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi since 2005, it was 2013 that marked a turning point in his career. It was the year when he collaborated with Adidas to launch the first Yeezy-branded shoe, a partnership that concluded in 2022. In 2015, Kanye launched his standalone Yeezy brand, which held its 10th fashion show earlier this spring.
Rihanna's name is likely familiar to just about everyone, but what might be less known is her foray into the world of fashion under the umbrella of the esteemed LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) group, especially considering the relatively short-lived nature of the brand, at least in terms of its clothing division. In February 2021, they abruptly ceased all fashion activities, and concurrently, redirected their focus toward high-end cosmetics under the name FENTY Beauty. During its brief, barely two-year period operating as a fashion enterprise, FENTY contributed to the reputation of emerging designers with a handful of collections, which involved reimagining and reinventing elegant pieces.
Tyler the Creator (GOLF WANG):
Tyler is a member of the younger generation, debuting with his first album in 2011. His 2019 album "Igor" earned him a Grammy award, and in 2021, "Call Me If You Get Lost" also clinched the Best Album accolade. In 2011, during the same year as his debut album, he founded Golf Wang, which revitalizes streetwear with vibrant, playful elements, and striking collaborations. His first fashion show took place in 2016 and included musical performances (notably, the set design incorporated a bedroom that led straight onto a skateboard ramp). Golf Wang's most prominent offshoot is GOLF le FLEUR*, primarily focused on footwear, created in close collaboration with Converse, producing iconic models like the Converse//GOLF le FLEUR* and the Gianno OX.
All three designers fundamentally strive to create ready-to-wear clothing, sharing a common thread of relaxed, comfortable attire, often infusing playful colors and patterns into their pieces. The demand for streetwear stemming from the high fashion segment has visibly inspired other brands, including the readily available GANNI, which boldly departs from the practices of Scandinavian minimalism and rejuvenates the Nordic perspective with its colorful, exciting garments. Coperni, led by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, dominated the fashion scene in 2022 with clothing sprayed onto Bella Hadid's body, but they haven't slackened in delivering captivating pieces. Think of the hoodies with batwing ears or the thoroughly classic swipe bags that have become iconic. Carne Bollente, an established streetwear brand, seamlessly integrates sex-positive messages and printed t-shirts representing skateboard subcultures, offering a unique language within the realm of contemporary fashion. DarkPark, Ottolinger, and MSGM have also unveiled their own street collections, perfectly encapsulating the current zeitgeist with loose-fitting t-shirts, baggy trousers, eccentric asymmetric cuts, and vibrant colors.
As we approach 2024, many will continue to embrace baggy jeans and flat-soled shoes, and it's highly probable that the accompanying music will remain an integral part of this genre