Women’s hip hop fashion in the ’90s played an important role in defining the look of the decade. It was during this time that the general public recognized hip hop as one of the most influential cultural movements, and women were at the forefront of this movement. They used their personal style to express their love for music and fashion and make a statement about their individuality; they also set trends that women continue to emulate today. Here are just a few key factors behind the appeal of women’s hip hop fashion in the ’90s, as well as some examples of notable outfits from some of our favorite female rappers from back then.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FASHION DURING THIS TIME
Women were wearing their hip hop fashion proudly, and with this style came a lot of attention. People became fascinated with what these women wore and would come up to them to ask about where they got their clothing from. Stores began carrying new lines of clothes created for these street-savvy females, and it helped to create a new sense of self worth amongst some women who had previously been socially stigmatized.
THE RISE OF HIP HOP FASHION
Hip hop fashion hit big in the 90s with groups like Salt-N-Pepa wearing oversized overalls and little baby tee shirts, as well as Biggie Smalls sporting larger than life suits. Allowing for a more personalized take on dress codes, hip hop fashion showed people that it was okay to be different and more importantly, that self expression is key.
THE CHANGE FROM DESIGNING FOR MEN TO WOMEN
Designers around the world were starting to realize that women were a growing part of the population and were no longer a marginalized group. We must now be part-time designers for men, but at the same time full-time designers for women, was one designer’s thoughts on how to cater to this emerging market. Trends started by African Americans also made their way into mainstream fashion which is why we began seeing gaudy designs and patterns emerge during this decade.
DID IT LAST?
As the name suggests, Hip Hop music is often closely associated with rap and other urban genres, but it also encompasses art, design, and fashion. In fact, women were an integral part of shaping many facets of hip hop culture—including style. Many innovative fashion designers were drawn to New York City during the ’80s and early-to-mid-’90s because they saw hip hop as a way to break away from established standards and ideas about what was beautiful or appropriate.