HIP-HOP ON TOP.Urban fashion designers rule
WALK DOWN ANY STREET IN URBAN AMERICA--OR SUBURBIA, FOR THAT MATTER--AND YOU'RE bound to see toddlers, teens, seniors and those in between sporting logos of the hottest urban fashion designers today. Some of those making big waves on Seventh Avenue as well as on 125th Street in Harlem are FUBU FUBU For Us By Us (clothing brand)
FUBU Fouled Up Beyond Understanding (polite form)
FUBU Fouled Up Beyond Use (polite form)
FUBU Fouled Up By User , Sean John Sean John is a clothing line founded by hip-hop mogul Sean Combs A.K.A Diddy,in 1998. The name is taken from Combs' first and middle given names.
People representing the brand include Combs himself, rappers T.I. , Phat Farm Phat Farm is an urban fashion line created by Russell Simmons, the founder of Def Jam (later sold by him in 2004 for $140M), in 1992. The brand is fairly expensive and worn for fashion instead of sport. , Maurice Malone, Mecca USA, Ecko Unlimited, Wu Wear, Triple 5 Soul, Enyce and Karl Kani.
Indeed, hip-hop is the hook for America's young, white suburbanites, who see black inner-city youngsters as street-savvy and independent and want to emulate the dress, music and attitude. Baggy, brightly colored hip-hop clothes have gone mainstream in American youth fashion, and the result has brought small fortunes to a cadre of black designers.
These designers have an ear to the street and know precisely what customers want and desire: innovative, stylish fashions. Consequently, the biggest growth in the fashion industry among blacks is in the urban market, and the powerhouse labels are attracting attention from corporate America. For example, Samsung America, the 10th largest company in the world, is FUBU's production and distribution partner.
"Everyone has embraced rap culture," says Teri Agins, senior special writer for the Wall Street Journal and author of The End of Fashion: The Mass Marketing of the Clothing Business (William Morrow
1. A size that is larger than usual.
2. An oversize article or object.
adj. o·ver·size also o·ver·sized
Larger in size than usual or necessary.
Adj. 1. , logoed] look won't always be popular, and the companies that are going to survive are the ones who can grow beyond that niche. There is already a movement away from those trends. You can get your foot in the door by jumping on a fad. But the real test is keeping it going, and that happens by figuring out what people are going to want next year."
More than a few fashion insiders are concerned that consumers' enthrallment en·thrall
tr.v. en·thralled, en·thrall·ing, en·thralls
1. To hold spellbound; captivate: The magic show enthralled the audience.
2. To enslave. with hip-hop wear may be short-lived and urban fashion designers won't be able to stand the test of time in the fashion industry. In this article, we chronicle how urbanwear came to dominate the fashion industry and also look into the future of hip-hop clothing to assess whether it's a fashion trend for the ages or one that has short-term appeal.
THE ROOTS OF URBAN FASHION
Karl Kani (No. 32 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list) has come a long way since starting a fashion apparel business in a small storefront on Crenshaw cren·shaw also cran·shaw
A variety of winter melon (Cucumis melo var. inodorus) having a greenish-yellow rind and sweet, usually salmon-pink flesh.
[Origin unknown.] Boulevard in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. in 1989.
After merging with Carl Jones and T. J. Walker of the Cross Colours Cross Colours was an American-made hip-hop clothing brand, whose products peaked in popularity between Fall 1992 and Spring 1993. Cross Colours was created in 1990 in Los Angeles, California by the designer Carl Jones, a graduate of "Otis Parsons School of Design", and marketed designer clothing company (also formed in 1989), the Karl Kani line became a part of one of the world's largest black-owned companies of the early 1990s. The company posted sales in excess of $97 million in 1993, but went bankrupt the following year because it had grown too quickly and its founders couldn't keep pace with the demand.
Karl Kani set out on his own in 1993, and today can be credited with pioneering the emergence of the fashion upsurge known as hip-hop or urbanwear. With sales of $78 million in 1999, he features men's suits in his Karl Kani Black Label line that retail from $200 to $1,000, and also manufactures jeans, golfwear, the KK2 women's line and men's leather that are sold in major department stores This is a list of department stores. In the case of department store groups the location of the flagship store is given. This list does not include large specialist stores, which sometimes resemble department stores. .
Kani was soon joined by top urban fashion design companies like FUBU, Phat Farm, Ecko Unlimited, Wu Wear, Mecca and Triple 5 Soul, which took the fashion industry and young America--both black and white--by storm.
"The fashion industry has been extremely receptive to the urban trend that's dominated the marketplace for the past five years," says Elena Romero, associate editor of Daily News Record, the news magazine of men's fashion and retail. "While urbanwear may have started in the inner city, it is now mainstream."
Kani, who says that his clothing is not created for any particular group, unreservedly un·re·served
1. Not held back for a particular person: an unreserved seat.
2. Given without reservation; unqualified: unreserved praise.
3. agrees. "We target the person who wants to be fashion forward. The target is worldwide for everyone, and we have 20 different classifications of clothing to help us achieve those goals," he adds.
With $350 million in sales in 1998, including licensing, FUBU, which stands for "For Us, By Us" and was started in 1992, now has worldwide consumer appeal and has become one of the obvious front-runners. Not long ago, brands like FUBU--marked by vibrant colors, oversize styles and prominent logos--could only be found in small specialty stores in black neighborhoods. Large retailers finally realized they were missing a great sales opportunity by not stocking clothing lines by urbanwear designers.
Now FUBU is regarded as serious competition for powerhouse brands such as Tommy Hilfiger Thomas Jacob Hilfiger (born March 24, 1951 in Elmira, New York) is a world-famous American fashion designer and creator of the eponymous "Tommy Hilfiger" and "Tommy" brands. Biography
Hilfiger was born March 24, 1951 and raised in Elmira, New York. , Donna Karan Donna Karan is the fashion designer and the creator of the DKNY (Donna Karan New York) clothing label. She was born Donna Ivy Faske on October 9, 1948 in Forest Hills, New York. and Polo. Its line is carried in stores such as Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Dillard's, as well as in specialty stores like Footlocker and Foot Action, and items range in price from $20 to $300.
Clearly, FUBU has wide appeal. However, there is no denying that its success sprang from its appeal to young, black men. With little money for advertising, co-founder and CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. Daymond John began by getting the clothes worn by stars of television shows such as In the House, New York Undercover New York Undercover is a one-hour police drama that ran on the Fox Broadcasting Company network from 1994 to 1998. The program was popular among its hip-hop orientated target audience, starred Malik Yoba as Det. J.C. Williams and Michael DeLorenzo as Det. and The Wayans Brothers. Getting celebrities like Will Smith, L.L. Cool J and Brandy to wear them didn't hurt either.
"Major retailers have picked up a lot of these young men's lines based on what celebrity images they're connected to," says Tiffany Ellzy, ethnic and youth marketing director of the Fashion Association, a New York-based, nonprofit marketing and public relations public relations, activities and policies used to create public interest in a person, idea, product, institution, or business establishment. By its nature, public relations is devoted to serving particular interests by presenting them to the public in the most association.
Leslie Short, president of marketing, advertising and public relations for FUBU, says the four 30-something owners of FUBU spend a lot of time talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to the people who buy their clothes. "They are the consumers; they are out there in the clubs as well as in the boardrooms," says Short. "They see the people who are passionate about the clothes."
Like FUBU, urban fashion designers are making their mark by staying current with consumer tastes and demands.
"Phat Farm reflects the style and philosophy of our founder, Russell Simmons Russell Simmons (born October 4 ,1957 in Queens, New York), is an American entrepreneur, the co-founder, with Rick Rubin, of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, founder of another label, Russell Simmons Music Group, and creator of the clothing fashion line Phat Farm. , who has unerring un·err·ing
Committing no mistakes; consistently accurate.
un·erring·ly adv. instincts for design and what's hot," says Marcie Corbett, president of Phat phat
adj. phat·ter, phat·test Slang
Excellent; first-rate: phat fashion; a phat rapper.
[Earlier, sexy (said of a woman), Farm's parent company, Phat Fashions L.L.C., which was started in 1992 and had sales of $100 million in 1999. "Fashion trends have always originated on the street. It's a question of who is smart enough to figure out what's hip first. And what's hot on the street will continue to pave the way for future fashion trends."
Some new names on the scene include Maurice Malone, Enyce and the newest kids on the urbanwear block, Rocawear, Akademiks, RP55 and Scan John, hip-hop producer and artist Sean "Puffy" Combs' new line.
"A lot of these designers that are coming out of the box have their own points of view," says Shaka King, a Brooklyn, New York-based men's wear designer. "If that designer wants to succeed in the mass market, he should never forget that fashion needs to have broad appeal."
THE NEW URBANWEAR CONSUMER
To further widen their appeal many urban designers are moving away from using the label "urbanwear" and moving toward "contemporary" or "metropolitan" says Ellzy of the Fashion Association.
"The word `urban' has grown outside that definition," says DNR's Romero. "The lines of what can be considered for those particular markets have been blurred. It started with the oversize denim and basic T-shirts, and has evolved to tailored clothing for men and women's wear women's wear
Clothing for women. collections."
Combs' foray into fashion runs the gamut from T-shirts to denim suits to tailored suits and luxury leathers and furs. Started in 1998 and generating sales of $24 million by 1999, Sean John apparel can be found in more than 410 stores nationwide. Combs is the first African American African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. designer to be nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America The Council of Fashion Designers of America is a non-profit trade group for American fashion designers founded in 1962.
The organization sponsors the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, scholarships, and professional development programs, as well as awards for fashion (CFDA CFDA Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
CFDA Council of Fashion Designers of America (New York, New York, USA)
CFDA California Funeral Directors Association
CFDA Community Futures Development Association ) to receive the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear at the American Fashion Awards 2000 on June 15. (Winners had not been announced at press time.)
"There were successful black designers who opened doors for us," says Jeffrey Tweedy, vice president of Sean John. "There is a new swing toward the X Generation--it's younger and more street-savvy talent. The younger generation is becoming more creative. Our consumer takes the best of a designer and mixes them all together [to create their own] personal style."
As a result of African American designers' tapping the global youth market and mainstream customers' demand for hip-hop clothing, major department stores have reserved significant floor space for their clothing lines. But those who have achieved such premier status are few.
"Most of the black designers that I know couldn't produce the quantity that the big stores are demanding," says Audrey Smaltz of the Ground Crew, a New York-based company that produces fashion shows, photo shoots and special events. "They don't have the millions of dollars it takes to meet the demand of a Bloomingdale's."
Smaltz adds that despite the success of black urban houses, many designers lack financial backing to become successful on a mass-market level.
"There is going to be a point when hip-hop looks are going to fade," says Anthony Mark Hankins, a Dallas-based designer. "You have to redevelop yourself after a couple of years because your customers don't need any more of that look It's important to be ahead of the game and redefine yourself."
According to Romero, urban designers will become well-rounded fashion houses: "From jeans to suits to home furnishings, they are going beyond apparel." On the upside, because urban clothes and hip-hop music are intricately linked, as long as the future of rap is bright, the future of urban clothing is intact. And bright it is. Like urban clothing lines, rap music used to sell mainly to blacks, but now, according to a recent SoundScan study, an estimated two-thirds of rap sales are to whites. At $1.4 billion in 1998, rap is popular music's fastest-growing category.
The major influences of urban fashion--black hip-hop music, lifestyle and culture--will set the tone for this fashion trend in the future, as well as the ability of its creators to evolve with the times and anticipate changes in consumer trends.
"Creative minds need to be business savvy," says Romero. "Creating fashion is more than just technical skills." Indeed, for urbanwear designers to endure, it will require that they have vision--not only for their unique style but also for building their brand.