Urban fashion can be traced back to the late 70s or the early 80s. Born out of the streets, the movement initially started from New York and travelled across the world to Australia, Europe and even Japan. The urban style of clothing is very laidback and is influenced by the local surroundings, the political scene of the time and most importantly the prevailing music trend. Urban clothing seems to have its roots in hip hop music, and got endorsement from a number of artists like Run DMC, TLC, LL Cool J and others who later revolutionized the clothing trend through their own fashion labels.
The urban trend slowly moved from clothing into accessories such as sunglasses, bags and big chains. The famous rap star 50 Cent launched in own label G-Unit to design a customized line of urban fashion items. More luxury brands joined in such as Gucci and Burberry and promoted their items through hip hop videos and commercials. Mark Jacobs introduced his famous Grunge Line clothing to glorify the fast-growing urban fashion.
The bling culture became all the rave and people flooded the stores to buy their favorite item. The accessories were not merely objects of fashion but became a status symbol. Women joined the scene and added their own flare to urban fashion. Beyonce showcased her ubran clothing collection in London in 2011. However, the urban fashion has always been dominated by sports labels. As soon as Nike and Adidas joined the scene, urban trend took over a whole new turn. The most popular shoe of the day was Nike Air Force One sported by artist Nelly, and there have been new designs paving the market since then.
The urban fashion has been changing over the decades. The 70s saw the use of polyester in leisure suits and signature hairstyles to go along with it. The 80s was the era when hip hop was greatly dominated, and promoted the baggy tracksuit look with oversized wrist watches and gold chains. The 90s drifted to an explosion of colors, loud prints and neon stripes. Denim jackets became popular and created a new fusion of urban clothing. The style from the 90s was popularized by actor Will Smith on his show Fresh Prince of Bel Air which had a huge teenage fan base.
Urban clothing took many turns from hip hop fashion to punk fusion, the hipster look with checked shirts, beanies and sunglasses to gothic wear that boasted big boots, heavy coats and black clothing. The essence of streetwear comes from freedom of style and expression which makes it so popular. The market is now supported by local labels and big fashion brands. The production of cheap synthetic clothing has made it possible for urban fashion clothing to evolve in different ways than it was possible before. Designers compete in styles and not only offer uniqueness but comfort as well. However, the glitter and glam in clothes, shoes and accessories will always continue to be the emblem for urban fashion, and give it the unique style and identity that it deserves.