Sunday, November 28, 2021


By Eva Fydrych

of hip-hop culture

Photos: A Mother's Love, Brooklyn, NYC, 1987, photo (c) Jamel Shabazz; Unsplash; Helloice

As part of our new fashion collaboration with Helloice, we invite you for a short journey into the fascinating world of hip-hop. Are you ready?

The Beginnings

Hip-hop is so much more than just a music genre. Born in New York in the late 1970s, hip-hop was as a reaction to disco culture. Caribbean and African-American youth began coming together for spontaneous house and block parties in the Bronx. The new sound was getting more and more popularity and within a few years, it had become a passion shared by millions of young Americans who were using it as a new way to communicate, to express their identity and political views, and to showcase the reality of life (social and economic conditions) of the inner cities. The new underground movement was creating a vibrant, multi-cultural community across the country. 

Core musical ideas of hip-hop, especially rapping, came out of funk, R&B, and early electronic music. "Early pioneers like DJ Kool Herc, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Grandmaster Flash started the practice of using two turntables to extend the dance break in funk and soul records — creating a seamless sound loop ideal for dancing to endlessly." (Source: Highsnobiety) The lyrics focused mainly on social issues.

In just a few decades, hip-hop evolved from youth subculture to the most dominant and influential force in pop culture; it has left a mark on everything from fashion (introducing new style trends, hip hop jewelry, and innovative clothing brands) to dance, art, poetry, and political philosophy.

In 2017, hip-hop officially overtook rock as America's number one streamed genre and has been the dominant music genre ever since. According to the latest Billboard predictions hip-hop's dominance is here to stay.

Helloice 8mm 24" 18K Gold Finish Franco Chain

Hip-hop & Fashion

It won't be an overstatement to say that hip-hop culture took the fashion industry by storm.

Since its very beginning, it has transformed fashion in countless ways through customising, sampling, and remixing what was there before as well as inventing totally new looks.

In 2019, Kunsthal Rotterdam hosted a very interesting exhibition called ‘Street Dreams: How Hiphop took over Fashion’.

"Streetwear is dictating the speed and aesthetics of the fashion industry and changing how that industry is developing itself. Hip-hop is THE youth culture of choice, dominating the charts as well as the world-wide street scene – from a source of inspiration for high fashion brands to making sportswear more accepted for everyday attire." (Source: Kunsthal Rotterdam)

Hip-hop continues to inspire, influence, and shape mainstream fashion houses and independent designers around the world.

With that being said, let's have a look at some unique rapper chains and personalised jewellery that you can easily incorporate into your wardrobe. From very subtle pieces to bold, eye-catching items, Helloice has something for everyone.

Helloice Women's 3mm Tennis Necklace in Gold

Helloice Women's Butterfly Tennis Chain in Silver

Helloice Women's Butterfly Tennis Chain in Silver

The Bigger, The Better

From cuban chains and layered necklaces to personalised hoop earrings, hip-hop fashion is all about self-expression, individuality, confidence, attitude, and cool, relaxed vibe at the same time. It features blown-up silhouettes, baggy fits, and a lot of bling.

Hip-hop artists of the late 1980s began popularising items such as tracksuits, oversized white T-shirts, chains, Kangol hats, paisley bandanas, Timberland boots, and dungarees, giving birth to a new and exciting street fashion culture. In the mid ‘90s, the culture became obsessed with a more lavish and luxurious style (dubbed “ghetto fabulous”) which consisted of double-breasted designer suits, alligator-skin shoes, bowler hats and fedoras, over-the-top fur coats, and oversized sunglasses.

Other essential elements of hip-hop style include: hoodies, denim, bold patterns, military apparel, puffy jackets, plaid and check flannel shirts, workwear, rough cut jackets, boxy overshirts, sagging pants, backpacks, and of course, sneakers. 

When it comes to accessories and jewellery, the focus is on big, bold and courageous designs (many rappers came from humble beginnings – buying loud jewellery was like obtaining a symbol of success and making a strong personal statement), think: gold watches, massive rings, pendants, chains, belt buckles, earrings, teeth grillz, and more.

With hip-hop jewellery, the sky is the limit.

Helloice 8" Stainless Steel Cuban Bracelet and 10mm Cuban Rings Set in Gold

Helloice Personalized Bamboo Name Hoop Earrings in Gold

Helloice Iced King Crown Lion Pendant and Ring Set in Gold

"Hip-hop started in The Bronx, but is now a world-wide phenomenon! Young people will stand in line for hours for product launches of unique collaborations such as Nike x Patta. It is now quite normal to wear sneakers to the office or sportswear outside the gym. New hip-hop talents are emerging and picking up the baton from their predecessors." (Source: Kunsthal Rotterdam)

Read more: The History of Hip Hop Fashion: How Street Culture Became Fashion’s Biggest Influence


References: Highsnobiety, Musical Dictionary, Black History in Two Minutes or so, huck, Kunsthal Rotterdam.

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