Hip-hop subculture

Hip hop emerged in the 1980’s in New York, particularly in poverty stricken areas. Arising from Brooklyn as Hip Hop was a way of black cultural identity, and a way of self-expression. Like the Goths, they weren’t afraid to break rules and make a complete statement to do with fashion and the clothes they wore. The subculture started to wear sports clothing where sport clearly wasn’t going to be taking place. Again, they transformed things and gave those new meanings and use. To this gang, oversized sportswear had just come casual and everyday attire. This made conspicuous consumption clear as a way of status and showing off branding. The thick gold chains were also a way to show wealth. Adidas got involved with Hip Hop icons such as Run DMC to promote their brands further and gain more popularity. Back then it was identified through brand and you could easily identify someone who was apart of the gang, almost like a secret code. Afro centrism was also a way of showing references to their culture and where they’re from. This included garments with African textile printed and the African colours.

What have I learnt today?

  • Conspicuous consumption.
  • Political statements shown in fabrics to show identification.
  • Subcultures show differences from the mainstream.
  • Brands adopted by the street style to gain more customers – catering for a particular style.
  • Resignification – changing the meaning through concept.
  • Borrow elements from the past, and change it (magpie syndrome)

How is this case study similar to Goth?

  • Cultural context
  • Symbolism to convey meanings.
  • Modification.
  • Borrowing from the past.
  • Rebellion – going against rules.



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