The clothing and styling of 90’s hip-hop and rap groups in New York is a very important communicative element, arguably just as influential as the music. The clothing included lots of adidas, backwards hats and gold chains as examples of some visual elements of the ‘dress’ style. The Wu-Tang Clan and RUN DMC were major influences in terms of clothing style at this time because they communicated their unity by wearing similar clothes as a rap and hip-hop group.
The clothing of this time and place created meaning for the people that were following these artists. This clothing became a pronunciation of peoples interests or hobbies. It wasn’t only between rappers and people involved in the hip-hop scene, it was for fans wanting to be a part of the culture as well.
Clothing in 90’s New York communicated promotion of individuality however, to the media hip-hop and rap clothing in 90’s New York wreaked controversy (Morgado 2007).
As described by Morgado (2007) the characteristics of the hip-hop style of dressing included over-sized shirts, super drop-crotched pants, so large and baggy that sometimes the hemline dragged on the ground as they walked.
“[Hip-hop is] very important fashion, which will become even more important” (Bloomingdale’s Vice President Kal Ruttenstein – 1992)
Although this style of hip-hop and rap clothing that formed during this time was mostly related to the rap culture, it didn’t solely represent a hip-hop or rap culture. This style was transferred into other cultures with very similar, if not the same, dress association at the time in New York. Cultures surrounding this same clothing and style of dress included the skateboard culture, prison culture, gang and drug cultures, surf culture and inner-city ghetto culture (Morgado 2007).
The 90’s New York clothing style created a sense of community within New York, not only between rappers and hip-hop fans but across multiple cultures. This clothing style even influenced well-known popular designers like DKNY, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger who decided to create specific collections for their designs in the 90’s derived from the hip-hop culture (Morgado 2007).