Hustler. Defined as an aggressively enterprising person; a go-getter. It’s also what most Hip Hop moguls claim to be, before and after the fame. And coincidentally some hip-hop moguls ventured on the other side of the spectrum of pop culture; fashion. Some hustled to be at the top of the fashion realm, and others fell off. 80’s and 90’s hip-hop exuded fashion trends. It’s a very distinct style of dress, ranging from chains, loud colors, boots and even doo rags. So why not make a clothing line if you’re an influential rapper? Here’s a compiled list of the 5 dopest hip-hop clothing lines that have stuck around.
1. Phat Farm – By Russell Simmons
Co-Founder of Def Jam, Russell Simmons created the Farm in 1992, beautifully mixing street aesthetics with prep. It set a complete new standard in sports wear, arguing that it created the stereotypical hip-hop look – long denim, and tees. It is one of the oldest street wear brands in the game, making it the most influential. Simmons started Phat Farm out in a small New York city showroom, birthing a multi-million dollar business. Simmons even included a female market, branching out the brand to “Baby Phat.” I can distinctly remember dragging my parents to a mall, begging for an over-puffed Baby Fat jacket to match with my white Phat Farm sneakers. Fresh.
2. Wu – Wear – by Wu-Tang Clan
Starting out in 1995, the Wu opened up four Wu stores in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Norfold, Virginia. The brand raked in $10 million dollars in 1998, featuring a large range of clothing and accessories. It included shirts, caps, sneakers, doo rags, wristbands, headbands and cologne, then expanded to skateboards, mugs, sandals and more. The brand also influenced the likes of Diddy, Jay-Z and more. Most importantly, Wu-Wear pushed the creation of the Ebay priced $14,0000 Nike Wu Dunk collaboration. WU TANG IS FOREVER.
3. Billion Boys Club – Pharrell Williams & Nigo(founder of BAPE)
Though the brand did not start until 2005, I think its one of the most influential because of Pharrell’s role. His work can be dated as far back as Ma$e’s 1997 hit “Lookin At Me.” The line consists of T-shirts, polos, sweatshirts, knits, denim, suits and shirts. It has flagship stores in SoHo, New York City, and Tokyo Japan, with many international retailers. Limited quantities sold at high prices has helped the exclusivity of the brand. Williams has also branched out the brand to include Billionaire Girls Club and ICECREAM.
4. Sean John – Sean “P. Diddy/Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy” Combs
Nobody works as hard as Puff, and he’s got Sean John to prove it. Sean John has proved exclusivity by becoming one of the first upscale clothing lines from the hip-hop world. Since its start up in 1998, it has been endorsed by a long line of celebrities, models, and athletes. It even won the 2004 Council of Fashion Designers of America award for Menswear. Macy’s is an exclusive retailer for the line, so you can definitely feel like Diddy in a Sean John suede suit, just without his net worth
5. Rocawear – Jay-Z & Dame Dash
Once upon a time in 1999, Jay refused a sponsorship from Iceberg Jeans and Dame decided to start his own clothing brand, so Rocawear was born. It rapidly became a lifestyle brand, expanding to jewelry, belts, and bags. Since then Jay-Z has sold the Brand to Iconix Brand Group, like the true hustler he is, for $204 million and still oversees marketing, licensing and product development.