Artists like Run DMC gave us the popular urban style we now see everywhere. Baggy jeans were popular as well as tracksuits. Sports brands became cool through people like LL Cool J wearing Kangol. Adidas was another big sports brand in streetwear the 80s. The shoes definitely made the outfit, though. High tops with chunky laces were worn by all the popular artists, and they had to be squeaky clean. The biggest thing, though, were the accessories. Bigg Daddy Kane popularized chunky necklaces, and more and more artists started wearing large, flashy jewelry. Flavor Flav even wore a giant clock around his neck. Neon colors and backward hats completed the outfit.
As the trend grew, artists used it to make a statement. Members of Public Enemy incorporated a military style into their hip-hop fashion. Queen Latifa and Salt N Pepa also wore colors associated with reggae culture or traditional African garbs.
While some of these trends stayed, we saw a new influence in the 90s. Urban fashion was stylized in the 80s, but it moved to casual street looks influenced by prison culture and gangs. Some people still kept it stylish, though. Biggie Smalls, Tupac, and Snoop Dogg started wearing double-breasted suits or don suits, fedoras, and alligator shoes instead of baggy pants and backwards hats. As more and more people were getting accustomed to the style, it became more youthful and imaginative as well. Women dropped the baggy clothes and opted for sexier options. Nike also became popular in the 90s, taking Adidas's spot in urban clothing.
Today, many artists look for ways to show their unique fashion sense and back away from tradition urban looks. More and more urban stylists wear skinny jeans compared to the baggy jeans that were once so popular. Style icons in the urban fashion industry wear dad baseball caps as often as they wear fitted hats. Just look at Russell Simmons! More and more male hip-hop artists even feel free to wear pink and shop in the women's section.
Urban clothing became popular because of innovative hip-hop artists, and that continues to this day with people like Nikki Minaj and Chance the Rapper breaking the mold at every opportunity. More and more hip-hop artist are getting into fashion themselves with labels like Rocawear by Jay-Z and Yeezy by Kanye West. With these brands and designers like Armani and Gucci jumping on the trend, everyone can find urban fashion that suits them.