Rappers becoming major players in the fashion game

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After the release of Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang,” Gucci sales nearly doubled at the beginning of 2018 with 55 percent of sales coming from consumers under 35 years old.

From commercials to Instagram posts, this new generation of rappers loves to show off their style and fashion. Due to their high amount of followers and fans, who happen to be mostly between the ages of 15 and 25, these rappers tend to have a major influence amongst the younger generations.

Top earners in the rap game make about $400,000 per year, with the top percentile making seven figures a year. That being said, it is safe to assume they have enough money to buy and exhibit their luxurious clothes and lifestyle. A look at a rapper’s Instagram for example shows their wealthy lifestyle and under all the jewelry they wear, it is easy to see just how much they love to show they are always the best dressed, wearing the most expensive and exclusive clothes. This can be seen through how much they enjoy wearing designer brands, such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Balenciaga. 

These designer brands don’t only make an appearance in these rappers’ Instagram and pictures, but also in their songs. According to music website Genius, between 2010 and 2019, brands had the highest number of appearances in hip-hop songs. Louis Vuitton for example had over 8,000 mentions this past decade. The French fashion house had its most well-known mention when Drake featured in Travis Scott’s song “Sicko Mode,” rapped, “My dawg would probably do it for a Louis belt / That’s just all he know, he don’t know nothin’ else.” “Sicko Mode” has accumulated over one billion streams. 

These brand mentions have become regular in the hip-hop world with multiple songs being simply about a clothing brand, such as the 2017 hit-song “Gucci Gang” by Lil Pump, which has accumulated over half a billion streams. Although in this scenario Gucci got some great advertisement, they didn’t pay Pump a single cent for it. This has become a business for both the brand and the artist, in this case, Pump became famous due to the song while Gucci has earned itself over half a billion views and streams of free advertisement. With the song targeting a younger audience, it had a major influence on this age demographic. Following the release of the song, Gucci sales nearly doubled at the beginning of 2018 with 55 percent of sales coming from consumers under 35 years old.

Another popular way rap artists promote popular brands and influence customers is by collaborating with shoes and clothing brands. Travis Scott, a Grammy-nominated rapper from Houston, had one of the best music/business collaborations of all time when he partnered up with Jordan Brand on one of the most hyped sneakers of 2019, the Air Jordan 1 “Cactus Jack.” The sneakers, which retailed for $175, sold out in a matter of minutes. Currently, the sneaker resells for an average of $1,300, with the highest sale being almost $2,000 according to StockX.

Although very costly, these sneakers are still in high demand, and mainly popular amongst the younger generations. Not everyone is able to get these sneakers, but because of the celebrity background on the specific sneaker and the hype behind them, these shoes will continue to sell for high prices. Olympic Heights sophomore and sneaker enthusiast Adrian Thomas gave his view on the high-pricing of these rapper collaborations sneakers: “Supply and heavy demand. That’s really what it is. You won’t see everyone walking around with that type of shoe, because it’s limited pairs, and there are so many people who want and desire the shoe. You can’t just walk into your local Footlocker and ask for some Travis Scott Jordans. They will never be put on shelves in retail stores because there aren’t many pairs to go around, therefore making the prices skyrocket in resale stores.”

Travis Scott isn’t the only popular rapper making an impact in the fashion industry, as 2020 presidential candidate and multi-time Grammy Awards winner Kanye West has also made his mark when it comes to the sneaker and fashion industry. Partnered with Adidas, West has his own popular brand called “Yeezy,” valued at over $3 billion. West has made promises in the past that “eventually, everybody who wants to get Yeezys will get Yeezys.” 

As time passed, West’s sneakers lost some of the original hype and have become more affordable; nonetheless, they still have a high demand and last year alone made $1.5 billion in sales. Yeezy customer and OH sophomore Juan Acosta gave his thoughts on the shoes and how it has affected him: “Kanye West is someone who’s really inspired my way of thinking about fashion. I’ve just recently bought a pair of his sneakers and plan on buying more in the near future. I base the rest of my outfit on the Yeezys that I have on my feet.”

Another Grammy nominee who has made a name for himself is rapper A$AP Rocky. Rocky is also known as “Fashion Killa” due to his multiple fashion collaborations and also because he has established two personal clothing brands of his own. Rocky has worked with huge brands in the fashion industry such as JW Anderson and Guess, but most impressively he became the face of Dior Homme, earning him the nickname “Fashion Killa.” Despite having collaborated with major fashion brands such as streetwear brand Off-White, Rocky doesn’t want his clothing line Vlone labeled as a high fashion brand, as he would rather promote Vlone as a hood fashion brand. 

A$AP Rocky is simply another rapper who has made the rap game even more connected to the fashion industry and is doing a tremendous job improving and innovating it. Many believe these rappers, such as Scott, West, and Rocky are the future of fashion, with their shoes and clothing collaborations, songs, and style. If the trend keeps heading in this direction, more and more rappers will continue to dominate the fashion industry.

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