The Hip hop community has entirely shifted to fully embracing and virtually requiring a heightened level of fresh. A new wave of hip hop tastemakers have taken the game by storm, deciding to exercise a grasp and handle of designer and high fashion. As the lines between fashion and streetwear are beginning to blur, the year 2015 represented a full shift to higher level stunting. Lyrics were peppered with brand names like Margiela and Fendi and many artists represented their on-wax persona in real life with garment labels that stood out amongst the pack. In no particular order, we decided to take a look back at this years most prominent brands and designers based on their impact on the hip hop community and their overall presentation of runway and collection looks.
Supreme was originally adopted by the prototypical 90s youth cruising down Lafayette Street NYC on a skateboard, blasting Bad Brains and Mobb Deep. The brand has grown and matured into one of the most recognizable and in turn resalable entities of the clothing world. In 2015, the hip hop community fully embraced Supreme as its number one streetwear brand making it a mainstay and staple of cool dress. Guaranteed statement pieces such as the coveted Supreme x Air Jordan Vs or the lauded Playboy sweatpants ensure an eye catching presentation.
The extremely adventurous and innovative Vetements brand has gained the hard to attain attention of the fashion elite. Its lead creative Demna Gvasalia was honored with the massively influential artistic director position for historical fashion house Balenciaga after famed designer Alexander Wang recently left the company. Hip hop’s infatuation with Balenciaga will soon be tested as a completely new design vision is soon to arrive.
Danish lover of urbanized sportswear Astrid Anderson has created a potent and bold look that has found a dedicated fanbase in the hip hop community. This year the design label teamed up with supporter Asap Ferg to deliver a customized soundtrack crafted by the rap star and a kung fu laced short film.
Hood by Air
Infamously adopted and subsequently denounced by fashion trendsetter A$AP Rocky, Hood By Air will not die. Contrary to the rappers claims, the LVMH prize winner Shayne Oliver’s designs are far from “weak”, creating new worlds of urban influenced and often androgynous looks with each runway presentation. 2015 saw the designer craft popular wheat and black Timberland inspired boots that perfectly represent the completely urban vision of HBA.
Fashion don Karl Lagerfeld at 88 years of age is still overseeing proven style at Fendi. Renowned initially in 1928 for their fur, its artists like Young Thug who are paying homage to the classic Fendi aesthetic with loud accessories like the ball keychain. The Fendi brand has been a staple of urban wear for decades and the accessories it provided to the culture in 2015 should be noted.
Trending designer Gosha Rubchinskiy translates with his designs urban streetwear from a post Soviet Russian lens. Gosha’s different yet familiar niche pieces have a fashion streetwear crossover appeal that is near impossible to deny. The street ready outerwear pieces possess a quality and interesting presentation that many brands long their entire lifespans lusting for.
Craig Green’s flowing and elegant designs exist in their own universe and invite specators of said world to join in. The followup sequel to last years emotional runway presentation that left audience members teary eyed, Green’s Fall collection this year represented the same attention to detail and brute force spirit of the first. Sales of the brand have tripled and with sparks flying behind the rap superstar, Drake debuted the certified classic single “Know Yourself” on stage at the packed Wireless festival. He donned a Craig Green quilted wrap vest marking an important style move for the artist.
Not many brands epitomize niche high fashion wear’s proven success as well as Rick Owens. The dark and brooding looks of Owens all possess a quality that invites members of all interests to try out the gothic aesthetic. With innovative collaboration footwear from adidas being widely embraced, Rick Owens saw quite possibly its most adopted year yet.
Kanye West’s quest for complete creative reckoning has culminated this year as he has taken on another facet of creation. His first and second collections of apparel and strong output of sneakers have supplied the culture with a default footwear option and a “for us by us” high fashion.
Helmed by the zany and overtly talented Jeremy Scott, designer label Moschino nurtures the hip hop rappers need for flash and fun. Featuring pop culture staples such as the Looney Tunes and Spongebob, Moschino represents the joy of loud style.
Alexander Wang’s foray into the world of designing for a storied fashion house ended this year, yet his mark on the brand can still be felt. The hip hop community was quick to flex Balenciaga’s unique footwear, universally accepting the Arena and Pleated shoe as fresh and revered high top silhouettes.
Fully embracing the hip hop art form and its various creatives, adidas welcomed Kanye West and Pharrell to design to their greatest ability with little limitations. Seeing a growth in sales this year, the German Three Stripes possessed an undeniable desire to out innovate their competitors with the revered boost technology and popular Tubular design. The footwear brand has also smartly demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with some of the fashion communities elite (see Y3, Rick Owens, Raf Simons).
Outputting expertly engineered outerwear and soon teaming up with Nike to drop a capsule collection, Stone Island has found a unique niche and place in the culture. High profile artists such as Drake, Travis Scott and Asap Rocky have all demonstrated an obsession with bearing the designer’s representative compass logo.
The default designer jean, Balmain helmed by Olivier Rousteing saw a massive year in 2015 teaming up with H&M and increasing its fanbase exponentially. The hip hop community and its constant flexing and flaunting of Balmain on record is undoubtedly one of the reasons for its highly coveted nature.
Off- White c/o Virgil Abloh
Creative adversary and right hand to Kanye West, Virgil Abloh has gained complete critical and popular acclaim for his third high profile clothing venture “Off-White”. Receiving a nod from luxury fashion house LVMH and consistently adorning icons such as Future and Justin Bieber, Off-White expertly represents the full transition from streetwear to a more avant garde and refined fashion.
a Bathing Ape
A staple of the hip hop community since the early 90s, a Bathing Ape camo still completely smothers the rappers of today. One of the originators of luxe streetwear and high end urban apparel in 2015 still holds its stake as quite possibly the most popular brand within the hip hop community.
Haider Ackerman is the Colombian designer with a thing for lavish presentation, quality materials and an overall luxe aesthetic. The world collectively tuned in to the Grammys and witnessed Yeezus’ attempt to steal the show with a two piece set of Haider velvet wear. Haider Ackerman is poised to see more and more high profile supporters going into the next year
Raf Simons is very gang and this year saw just about every rap artist flaunting ostentatious and colorful retro adidas runners and striking statement pieces from the outspoken creative. Some of hip hops Raf intrigued such as Big Sean and Travis Scott took a look back at the archives and pulled pieces from the past for ensembles to present during their “Blessings” and “Antidote” music videos respectively, two of the years biggest records.
The London based brand capitalized and made their mark on the urban streetwear look this year, catapulting into overwhelming popularity in the process. Using loud prints, cheeky graphics and an increasingly recognizable and ubiquitous tri ferg logo, Palace is only destined to grow going forward.
Maison Martin Margiela
Headed by the infamous John Galliano, Margiela has always represented luxurious apparel of all types and completely unique sneakers that have the ability to make entire looks. Famously shouted out and worn heavily by fashion connesiur Kanye West, the brand offered completely custom versions of clothing and clothed the icon for the entire duration of his Yeezus tour. Margiela has a connection to hip hop that exists in the slew of rappers stunting with pieces such as the “Future” high top or the Margiela x H&M Belt Jacket.