The man himself, Jon Caramanica, checks in with a reverential and personal look at how hip-hop has evolved and become close friends with high-fashion for T Magazine. Jon is perhaps the perfect person to write a piece like this—he's a guy who knows nearly as much about clothing as he does about music, the intersection of which he's spit barz about before. This piece is not the usual "hey, rappers are wearing designer clothes" essay, but partially a firsthand account of how long it has taken to get here.
Years ago, hip-hop and the fashion community were so polar opposite that it didn't make sense to group them together. Rappers dressed in garish and obnoxious clothes and didn't care much for the structure and stature of the fashion industrial complex. Logos were not only enormous, but important. The more "X"s on the tag the better, especially while fashion was in its own skin-tight phase. But things began to change as rappers began their own clothing labels (i.e. Sean John, Rocawear) and, only a few short years later, after all the terrible mid-00s trends, hip-hop stars became "fashionable," in the sense we consider them today. Think, Pharrell, Kanye, Cam'ron and Andre 3000, just to name a few.
As they started to invade the space, the pace picked up rapidly. At the same time, straight dudes started to talk about fashion using hip-hop slang and lingo to provide a comfortable framework to their newfound interest. Today, hip-hop has become the de facto point of reference for most young guys getting into fashion. "That way, when the clothes get weirder, as ASAP Rocky has rapped, no one feels uncomfortable," Jon writes. And he couldn't be more correct. Now, fashion shows are littered with rappers wearing the latest (or rarest) pieces and designers are using hip-hop as a starting point more than ever as they knockoff staples of street culture season after season. Until the entire industry is sick of the connection and fashion completely rejects hip-hop or vice versa, we'll see how much closer the two get.