What better place to honor the evolution of hip-hop fashion than New York? Just in time for Fashion Week, The Museum of the City of New York kicked off its urban-savvy Black Style Now exhibit, a collection of clothing, accessories, and artifacts that document milestones that have sliced through the stereotypes of high fashion.
Hip-hop has exploded from a musical genre into a cultural phenomenon and the exhibit traces it back to its roots, displaying every essential hip-hop accessory from LL’s Kangol bucket hat to the often imitated but never duplicated Manolo Blahnik Timberland boots. Apparel from veteran brands such as FUBU and Phat Farm adorn mannequins throughout the exhibit, while today’s hottest African-American designers and their masterpieces are also spotlighted.
The display, which runs through February, also contains glamorous garments worn by urban style icons such as Beyoncé, Sean “Diddy”Â Combs, Lil’ Kim, Kanye West, and Tina Turner. These and other fashion prophets have helped develop the multi-faceted world of hip-hop as well as influence every aspect of style from the runway to streetwear. Black Style Now brings to light the faces and designs of African-American fashion pioneers that have brought attention from consumers of every color, background and social standard, expanding the market and opening minds from New York to every corner of the world.
Words and photos by Rajul Punjabi