Is social media draining originality from hip-hop fashion?

Hip-hop fashion has evolved just as much as the music and the culture. Some of the staples – like fitted caps, chains, big watches, and sneakers – are still popular today, but some say what has changed is the originality of artists and signature styles.

The greats of hip-hop were immediately recognizable – not just for their unique music, but for their individual style. Think of Run DMC with the leather blazers and Adidas sneakers, LL Cool J with his Kangol hats, The Notorious B.I.G. with his Coogi sweaters, Lil Kim with her elaborate figure-hugging stage costumes, and Nicki Minaj with bright colors of her various hairstyles, and clothes.

They understood part of their persona was the need to stand out.

"At the end of the day, when everybody starting to zig, you want to be the one who's going to zag and go against the grain because that's what's going to open up the eyes of others and you become noticed," offered fashion stylist and image consultant Mike B.


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Today, some hip-hop fans lament that most of the male artists look very similar with expensive jewelry, skinny jeans, designer belts, and lots of chains. For the women, it's revealing as much of their bodies as possible, sometimes even getting surgery to get the look.

With social media spreading trends at the speed of light, it's even harder to express individuality, says celebrity stylist Taj K. She's styled artists like Jim Jones, and Maino, and up-and-coming artists like Lola Brooke, Ice Spice and Fivio Foreign.

Taj K says whatever looks good gets copied.

"I don't think there's much individuality. I think it's seeing an artist who is really successful and clearly just trying to do exactly what that artist is doing and wearing."


Iconic brand FUBU was among the first Black-owned clothing lines to tap in to the growing hip-hop cultural movement and give new generations a look that was authentically their own. Co-founder J. Alexander Martin says, back then, clothing style was part of a statement.

"We always used to say FUBU is a lifestyle, the lifestyle we live in, the things that we do, the cultural things that we do, and the things that we like."