Download Full Text (2.7 MB)


The presence of rap culture in fashion demonstrates a trend in marketing, bringing cultural niches into the mainstream. This work examines the transition of rap fashion into popular culture, using hip-hop as a muse for the high-end. Specifically, I look at how rappers are beginning to create their own fashion lines and how high-fashion and urban street style incorporate hip-hop characteristics. Rappers use fashion as a way to show off wealth and success, flaunting designer names and labels in music videos, lyrics, and styling. In turn, high-fashion and street style brands use rap figures as guest designers and samplings of hip-hop statements in looks, blurring the elite fashion industry and urbanized rap culture. In my work I looked at articles on hip-hop fashion and primary sources of rappers in the fashion industry to discover the blend of rap in fashion found in popular culture. I discovered that many rap artists highly value fashion and use their success to create rap-inspired clothing brands, both luxury and streetwear. Further in my research I found that rappers use fashion as a tool to boast their wealth and success. Using ostentatious jewelry and designer labels, rappers publicize their knowledge of elite fashion labels as a representation of their status. Rappers advertise their familiarity with designer fashions in their lyrics and music videos as well as in clothing that broadcasts labels. Fashion has begun to incorporate what is typically viewed as black culture bringing it to the forefront of trends and questioning its appropriation. This transition marks the integral marketing strategies and importance of streetwear’s influence on the high-end styles. The blur in influences shifts fashion’s stereotypically elitist industry to value street style and produce collections that are more relevant to popular culture and minority groups.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Faye Prichard


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Rap and Fashion