Nas: When you’re dressed brightly, style is like your wings and you can fly.
In 2014, a documentary called Fresh Dressed came out, Chinese translated as Dressed Brightly: A Fashion Revolution from the Streets. The film provides a detailed introduction to how hip-hop culture spread and became popular around the world, with a particular focus on several styles of dressing in the history of hip-hop culture, including their impact on today’s fashion scene.
In an interview with The New York Times, Nas said, “This film tells a story about who you are and who you are through what you wear. ”
Jenkins, Nas’s business partner and director of the film, both from Queens, New York, used the film by two veterans in their forties to illustrate “the pop culture that stayed strong throughout our growth — dress, fashion and what we call ‘clothing.'”
“In the world of hip-hop, fashion is a language.” Director Jenkins said that in addition to Nas, he also enlisted OGs such as Big Daddy Kane, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams to share the huge impact hip-hop culture has had on them.
Fresh Dressed spans 40 years, from the “ubiquitous” B-boy style of the ’70s to create uniform BVD vests, Lee’s jeans, Puma sneakers, Cazal glasses, Kangol hats, to Tommy Hilfiger’s “hood and handing out” style clothing in the ’90s, to today’s digital age.
The film is 68 minutes long, and I will pick a few key parts to talk about.
70s-80s: Black Americans eager to embrace fashion
In the film, director Jenkins uses keywords such as “bright clothes” and “class culture” and “personal identity” to connect this “poor culture” with black Americans in establishing personal identity and pursuing lifestyle.
In Fresh Dressed, former American football player Carl Banks recalls that when hip-hop culture was booming in the ’80s, the streets of New York were like a fashion show flyover, and each borough was dressed differently.
Costume designer Guy Wood drew a set of cartoons to express the style of wearing in various urban areas of New York –
Brooklyn: Sharkskin pants, Clarks handmade shoes, Cadals sunglasses.
Haarlem: Wear a designer velvet sweatshirt and matching sneakers.
Bronx: Mix style for Brooklyn and Haarlem.
Queens: Sweatshirt with gold chain and loose sweatpants.
Jamel Shabazz, a photographer from Brooklyn, said in Fresh Dressed: “Delancey Orchard Street in New York was the most black-infested area in the ’70s… Although these people who are active on the streets do not have expensive cars and houses, they have the best style of dressing. When they put on their own clothes, they are King. ”
Early New York hipsters photographed by Jamel Shabazz
In 1982, Dapper Dan opened a notorious clothing store at 125 Harlem, New York, he fell in love with Gucci, Chanel and other big brands, and “integrated” the logo of luxury brands into hip-hop clothing, to put it bluntly, it is a copycat, the fashion industry expressed hehe, but he felt that his behavior was fine, “I never thought it would cause such a big sensation later, I just wanted to provide my own clothes to friends, my black compatriots and neighbors.” ”
Both LV and Gucci sued Dapper Dan, and eventually the store was raided and shut down. By this time, Dapper Dan had a profound impact on the hip-hop culture of the ’80s and ’90s, and his copycats went far beyond the clothes themselves to a kind of detachment, “I can’t afford fashion, but I long to embrace fashion.” ”
Dapper Dan’s clothing store in 1982
Dapper Dan is still engaged in “copycats”, but has long been recognized by the fashion industry, such as mixing Cucci elements into New Balance shoes.
In the late ’80s, young street groups from the streets of Brooklyn, New York, Ralphie’s Kids and United Shoplifters Association, came together because Polo Ralph Lauren, who both insisted on wearing only the American dream (but couldn’t afford it), came together to shape the “Lo-Life” group. They hunted Polo for resale, and even robbed shops and clothes worn by pedestrians.
The “Lo-Life” group confirms the idea that when clothing becomes a symbol of their class, more and more young people are willing to pay for it.
90s: Hip-hop breaks into fashion
In 1989, Cross Colors, with the purpose of “equal dress”, caused a sensation and laid a solid foundation for the dress market of the younger generation of blacks, and many black Americans regarded it as an important carrier for racial equality.
In 1992, designer Tommy Hilfiger met rapper Grand Puba wearing Tommy Hilfiger on a plane, Tommy Hilfiger admired the Grand Puba’s outfit, which had previously mentioned Tommy Hilfiger in the song and wore the brand’s costume for album covers.
Grand Puba wearing Tommy Hilfiger
This encounter kicked off Tommy Hilfiger’s interaction with rapper, and in 1994, Snoop Dogg appeared on Saturday Night Live wearing a sweatshirt given by Tommy Hilfiger, which was sold out in New York after the show aired. Hilfiger has since invited Aaliyah and Usher in commercials for filming. More and more people started wearing Tommy Hilfiger, making it the hottest brand of the 90s until it was gradually replaced by Supreme in the late 90s.
Snoop Dogg wearing Tommy Hilfiger on Saturday Night Live
In 1996, 2pac walked the Versace runway, the first time in history that a luxury brand invited rappers to walk the catwalk. In 1998, the American version of “Vogue” suddenly found that more and more rappers began to wear real big names, and specially made an issue called “Rappers Deluxe”, which specifically defined the name of this style of wearing big names.
By the turn of the millennium, Gucci and LV had become one of the makeup options for rappers. Rappers have also found ways to translate their influence into sales, such as bragging dad founding Sean John and JAY-Z founding Rocawear.
When dressed brightly, style is your wings
At the beginning of Fresh Dressed, Nas says, “When you’re dressed brightly, style is like your wings and you can fly.” ”
Nas sees dress as an art, “I think God created human beings and human beings are its artwork, so we can constantly stitch and stitch, what we wear, how we wear it, it’s art.” ”
Today, luxury brands are closely associated with hip-hop, such as A$AP Rocky and Dior Homme, Travis Scott and Saint Laurent, and Pharrell Williams and Chanel. So much so that some people think that hip-hop has long been out of the original poor soil, and now it shows only the image of a noble son. Jacob Jordan, who used to work for LV, also said in “Fresh Dressed”: “No matter what style you wear now, in fact, they have long lost their original cultural foundation, which does not mean anything to us.” ”
But I take a different view, as the Chinese title of “Fresh Dressed” says, from ragged to glamorous, this is the progress of the times, we can miss the original appearance of hip-hop, but we don’t have to nostalgia. Hip-hop is changing, it doesn’t matter which era hip-hop is authentic.
Fresh Dressed tells the story of what you wear to prove who you are, and now we don’t have to prove which neighborhood or class you come from. Clothing is just a layer of skin that makes me shine, it doesn’t define me because I am who I am – I think that’s the spirit of hip-hop.