Kangol hats, Dapper Dan jackets and Timberland-inspired Manolos get the spotlight in this new exhibit about hip-hop style at The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology.
“Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style” is now open through April 23, 2023 in Chelsea. The free exhibit celebrates the birth of hip-hop and its influence on fashion over the past five decades. With more than 100 garments and accessories, it’s the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to explore this revolutionary and influential style.
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Showcasing everything from jewelry to sneakers to jackets, the pieces selected capture the pivotal moments in hip-hop fashion’s evolution. Looks featured in the exhibit were worn and made popular by artists such as Missy Elliott, LL Cool J, Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, Lil Nas X, Chuck D, Aaliyah and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. You’ll see pieces by designers including Dapper Dan, April Walker, Cross Colours, Karl Kani, Sean John, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace.
“It was important for The Museum at FIT to organize this exhibition because hip-hop—the most influential music genre of our era—has had such a profound impact on the world of fashion,” Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of MFIT, said in a press release. “Furthermore, hip-hop fashion and music are cultural expressions of the African and Hispanic cultural diasporas, which MFIT seeks to amplify as part of our goal to expand the understanding of fashion.”
Hip-hop … has had such a profound impact on the world of fashion.
The exhibition focuses primarily on the evolution of hip-hop style in New York City and hip-hop’s relationship with the fashion industry.
“Fashion and style were, and are, a major part of hip-hop’s appeal. Yet hip-hop style is more multidimensional than many realize,” the museum said in a statement. “Artists and fans have used fashion to embrace historic glamour, convey messages of Black pride and activism, and express their individuality and unapologetic style.”
Hip-hop began in the Bronx 50 years ago this summer. It all started on August 11, 1973 when Kool Herc (aka Clive Campbell) threw a back-to-school celebration at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue; many now call it the founding party of hip-hop. Since that party, the museum noted, the genre’s style has evolved significantly.
“Style is one of the most critical and far-reaching aspects of hip-hop culture and extends far beyond baggy jeans, sports jerseys and gold chains,” the museum added.
Style is one of the most critical and far-reaching aspects of hip-hop culture.
The exhibition begins with an exploration of how record companies and TV used fashion to promote hip-hop artists and ideas. It then moves into a section devoted to collaborations between designers and musicians, then features hip-hop artists who founded their own fashion lines. Finally, there’s a celebrity style section focusing on red-carpet fashions.
“Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style” is one of several exhibits open right now celebrating 50 years of hip-hop. At Fotografiska, the photography museum in the Flatiron District, “Hip-Hop: Conscious, Unconscious“ traces the genre’s evolution from its early days to today through 200 powerful photos. Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the “[R]Evolution of Hip Hop” exhibit explores the genre from 1986-1990, known as the golden era of hip-hop. By 2024, The Universal Hip Hop Museum is slated to open in the Bronx.
See “Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style” at the Museum at FIT (227 W 17th in Chelsea) through April 23, 2023. The free exhibit is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from noon to 8pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5pm.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.