Do rappers and athletes influence fashion? The quick and perhaps obvious answer is yes. And really, how can you argue that. Since the dawn of hip-hop, fans have overwhelmingly adopted the fashion styles of their favorite artists.
From Run DMC’s Adidas to Jay-Z and his button-ups, rappers’ influence on fashion has always been apparent. The same can be said of some athletes as well. Deion Sanders is one that comes to mind, his flashy personality not only entertained fans, but also appealed to them, as many adopted his flare.
And then there are the many (successful and unsuccessful) fashion lines started by both rappers and athletes. The creation of a clothing line in and of itself suggests that one’s individual style is influential enough to sell to the masses. However, fashion lines are not for everyone, just ask Busta Rhymes about Bushi Sport, in fact Complex Magazine breaks down 10 failed rapper clothing lines that you probably never heard of.
However, while the obvious answer is yes, rappers and athletes do influence fashion, I think the dynamic has changed a bit. The world of hip-hop is infused in so much of our daily lives that it stretches across all types of industries. Fashion is one of those industries that blend well with hip-hop. And I think more rappers are taking their cues from high-end designers, and so are superstar athletes.
It’s not uncommon to find Pharrell Williams or Carmelo Anthony sitting front row at major fashion shows, both in the U.S and abroad. More and more, rappers and athletes are incorporating runway fashions into their wardrobes, and thus influencing the style of their fans. Kanye West takes it further with his high-end designer collaboration with Louis Vuitton and then debuting his high-end line, DW Kanye West in October of 2011 at Paris Fashion Week. I believe that like all things, influencers of fashion are cyclical, and in 2012, I think the fashion industry is really pushing the direction of fashion and style.