by L.I.M. | January 29, 2012

This is the second of a three-part series taking a look back at our roots – the history of streetwear.


As more and more surfers fell in love with Stussy and other forerunner streetwear brands, the market started gaining a multicultural and global following. In the 80’s and 90’s, hip-hop and skateboarding were also “different” like surfing. As streetwear grew more popular, these communities also embraced streetwear and made it their own.

Supreme NYC: As Seen on LCA

Hip-hop’s influence on this lifestyle was huge. As Stussy migrated from the West Coast to the East, hip-hop embraced it and brought a whole new viewpoint to the table. It’s two major contributions were designer brands and the sneaker obsession.

Vintage Polo and Hilfiger: As Seen on LCA

One of hip-hop’s major pillars has always been bboying. Cyphers, battles among bboys, have always been just that… battles. People wanted to win, one up their opponent, rise to the top. Perhaps this mentality brought the obsession with cachet and designer brands.

Since hip-hop was not yet mainstream and rappers weren’t making it rain, hip-hop heads got the designer fix through stores such as Marshalls and TJMaxx. Brands such as Tommy, Lacoste, Nautica, Polo flooded these stores with overstock inventory, making them easily accessible for broke hip-hop fans. Hence, streetwear started accepting a clashing array of brands. Both streetwear brands such as Supreme and high class designers like Hilfiger.

Reebok Pumps: As Seen on LCA

In addition, hip-hop’s obsession with sneakers was also transplanted to streetwear. Dunks, Air Jordans, Reebok pumps ruled the scene. Limited editions and colorways were just another way to differentiate individuals and raise one’s societal ranking.

Jordan Dunking in III's: As Seen on LCA