When it comes to art, we have to rep our roots. Without ragtime, we wouldn’t have rap. Without some scrappy young people roaming NYC with some cans of spray paint, we wouldn’t have a lot of the dope graffiti art we have now.
The same goes for all the fire streetwear looks we love rocking today. That’s why we’re shouting out the five most influential men in fashion history for streetwear.
Technically speaking, Hendrix died 10 years before streetwear got its start. But there’s no doubt the man knew how to live out loud as far as style goes. He had it all: bold patterns, a kaleidoscopic color scheme, and a look that embraced every shape and texture. When it comes to fashion on your own terms, we have to rep our man Jimi.
There would be no streetwear without Shawn Stussy. This California surfer got his start in Laguna Beach, California, in 1980 making surfboards. But when the clothes he labeled with “Stüssy” in a graffiti style started outselling the boards, he knew he was onto something. Stussy’s clothes took on everything good about the skate and surf culture styles. He gave us clothes that were comfortable enough to move in without giving up looking good.
If Stussy started streetwear, then the B-Boys of the East Coast adapted it for hip-hop—and Run-D.M.C. perfected it. Along with spitting some of the most iconic beats in music, this three-man music group originated a lot of what made the hip-hop look, including:
- Bucket hats
- Gold chains
They set the tone for style for the rest of the 80s and into the 90s. And if that doesn’t make them some of the most influential men in fashion, we don’t know what does.
Michael Jordan changed basketball in a way no one else could. He had two NBA Slam Dunk Contest championships, six NBA championships, a spot on the Olympic team, and the most iconic ball game with a cartoon rabbit known to man. But MJ’s legacy went beyond the game the day he walked onto the court in a pair of red-and-black sneakers. This controversial pair of kicks—hand-created for him by Nike—would cost him 5,000 dollars every time he wore them. But Air Jordan shoes became the gold standard for sneakerheads forever.
Kanye West has a way of making a splash wherever he goes. But even if you’re not a fan, you have to admit the man knows how to dress. And he’s using that skill to take streetwear all the way to Fashion Week. In early 2021, West teamed up with GAP to drop a clothing line called Yeezy x GAP. Some of the stars of the line are hoodies, leather jackets, and puffer jackets that are straight fire. They’re almost as dope as our own street jackets—almost.