When Hiphop fell in love with fashion: A violent love story. By @jabulani_cindi

“Your lucky if Hiphop chooses you” – Michaela Angela Davis ( Former fashion director at VIBE magazine) and I agree a trillion percent. Ever Since Hiphop was realized as a cultural phenomenon in the late 80’s almost every forward thinking company executive on planet earth has been trying to cash in for the past 30 years.

All this was inspired by the love affair, the inner city youth of New York/Hiphop Culture has with fashion and this first happened on a commercial level between Ralph Lauren and the Lo life’s (A Brooklyn Hiphop group that was well known for robbery and shoplifting, specializing in Ralph Lauren clothing)
Ever since then almost every single brand conscious company on planet earth has been trying to use the cultural influence of Hiphop to boost, even solidify itself as a force to be reckoned with in any retail industry. No where has this been more evident then in the fashion industry. From Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Nike, Fubu, Gucci, high end fashion and sport brands alike shamelessly cashing in on the influence Hiphop has on the retail industry.

The culture being born from poverty, lack of resources and ambitions of young, desperate, disenfranchised inner city youth has always been shrouded in violence. From drugs to armed robbery, murder and an alarming number of Hiphop stars still being attacked by the police systems of the World surprisingly enough only boosts sales of almost all affiliated retail companies associated with the culture as if the drama walks hand in hand with the commercial success of the culture.
As of late, since 2008 – 2018 we’ve seen this grow exponentially from all corners of commerce from the movie industry having directors like Baz Luhrmann invite industry heavy weights like Jay Z to executive produce a movie like “The Great Gatsby” or Apple buying Beats electronics from Dr. Dre in 2014 for just over $3 Billion. It seems like the corporate world has realized the undeniable buying power of this world wide movement.

Which, in my honest opinion, is a great thing. In South Africa it’s becoming more common to see an established artist get an alcohol endorsement like Ciroc/Absolute, or even having automotive companies like VW sponsoring artists like Breeze, or telecommunications companies like MTN or Telkom endorsing artists like Cassper Nyovest. Not only are young people being given opportunities to create employment for themselves and others through this cultural phenomenon but big businesses can also use these cultural leaders in the community to refresh their old brands and bring them a fresh new audience. So it’s literally in the palm of our hands to use all this opportunity to our advantage because the corporate world is definitely using it for theirs.
This article was inspired by a documentary I saw recently by Complex news titled “Horse Power: Hiphop’s Impact On Polo Ralph Lauren” it’s the shxt!
Sponsored By Olova.

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