A Decade of Style: Great Moments in Complex Culture, Fashion & Design Illustration by Kevin Lyons

2007: Time For A Change

“People say you’re supposed to dress for the occasion. What I always say is dress like you’re coming from somewhere and you got someplace to go. You’ll probably be a little bit more yourself.”
—Kanye West, Complex, August/September 2007


G-SHOCK

The emergence of streetwear's paramount timepiece.

They’ve been around since 1983, but a couple decades passed before these tactical timepieces became streetwear staples. Originally designed for action sports and the military, G-Shock watches have become the go-to timepiece for people who would never wear one while riding a bike, much less while fighting.

G-Shock collaborations with BAPE and Stüssy first came out in the late nineties, but they didn’t reach streetwear prominence until the video for “Stronger” dropped in 2007, featuring Kanye West rocking the white G-Shock and shutter shades. A couple months later, Yeezy graced the August/September 2007 cover of Complex strapped with a pink BAPE x G-Shock DW6900. By that time Kanye was well established as the fashion-forward rapper of the moment and the brightly colored shock-resistant watches reached craze status.

Many of the trends Kanye turned mainstream have come and gone (foxtails, the afro-mullet, those shutter shades), but G-Shock is here to stay. —Noah Johnson

KANYE WEST OUTSELLS 50 CENT
Record sales lead to a momentous shift in style and culture.

It’s easy to take the current hip-hop climate for granted. With a parade of rappers from all locales unabashedly rocking formfitting clothes, shoes with teddy bears stitched onto the tongue, and leopard-print jeggings, it’s difficult to envision a time in rap when artistic and sartorial freedom wasn’t the norm.

But alas, kids, that time was only five years ago. Before Kanye West broke onto the scene in 2004 with his watershed debut, The College Dropout, there was an archetype of what a popular rapper was supposed to be: street, brash, and decked out in baggy hood-approved apparel. In other words: 50 Cent.

In 2007, both rappers were set to drop their third album. 50 Cent was fresh off his sophomore effort, which though commercially successful, didn’t live up to the quality of his debut. Kanye, on the other hand, was gaining steam with each release. ’Ye moved up Graduation’s release date to September 11, the same day 50 planned to release Curtis. It was David vs. Goliath. Suburb vs. Street. Slim-fit vs. Loose-fit. Tailored vs. Off-the-rack. Kanye outsold 50 by 300,000 records to take the No. 1 spot. The symbolic victory paved the way for artists who didn’t sling drugs, like Drake and Kid Cudi, and artists who didn’t wear what everyone else in their hood was rocking, like A$AP Rocky. Who knows where we’ll be five years from now. —Damien Scott

IPHONE
Magical. Miraculous. Revolutionary.

History can be divided into two eras: before iPhone and after iPhone.

Apple’s touch-screen device was late to the smartphone party. Before 2007, BlackBerry was doing well with its QWERTY-clad handsets, Palm was pushing plenty of Pilots, and T-Mobile had the youth locked with the Sidekick. But before the iPhone, the idea of using your phone as a portable computer was laughable. Sure, you could check and respond to email, peck out a note, and even browse a few websites, but the experience wasn’t the same. The iPhone put the real Internet—not mobile web—in your pocket. It packed the best media player Apple’s ever created and users were able to install apps on their phone the same way they did on their computer. These apps expanded the breadth of the iPhone’s functionality and created a billion dollar industry in its wake. Every smartphone maker followed suit.

No mobile phone platform has been able to create a user experience as easy and enjoyable as the iPhone’s. Like Apple said of its iMac over two decades ago, “everything just works.” Even if you’re #TeamAndroid, #TeamBlackBerry, or #TeamWindowsPhone, you owe a debt of gratitude to Apple. Without the iPhone, there would be no post-PC era. And no Temple Run. Imagine that. Damien Scott

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