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  • Written by Damisola Sulaiman


Courtesy of Savage x Fenty

The influence of hip-hop on fashion has been significant and can be seen in the evolution of luxury labels, as well as the trends that surface today. In Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion, music journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy explores the stories of hip-hop artists, designers and stylists who have redefined fashion over the last 50 years.

In the book, Krishnamurthy transports us to New York, Paris and beyond to amplify the identities of the hip-hop changemakers who challenged the existing power structures of the industry and paved the way for the generations to come.

The author spoke to a number of rappers and designers including Nas, A$AP Ferg, Meek Mill, Dapper Dan, and Tommy Hilfiger. Through these interviews, she creates a timeline of the hip-hop style evolution.

The impact of artists such as Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, Virgil Abloh, Lil’ Kim, Cardi B and Kimora Lee Simmons in propelling hip-hop to the frontlines of fashion is investigated, along with the relationships they created with fashion royalty such as Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren.

Krishnamurthy displays how far hip-hop fashion has gone, by looking at the roots of this movement and early collaborations to today, where Pharell Williams – a hip-hop legend, became creative director of Louis Vuitton.

She recognizes the sociopolitical factors that led to hip-hop artists initially being excluded from high fashion. The changes that led the luxury industry, who used to be reserved for a certain type of people, being accessible for whoever can afford it are thoroughly investigated.

The writer makes a point of praising the effect of female rappers, who are largely overlooked in both the hip-hop and fashion industry. She notes how daring Lil’ Kim’s style was and all the commentary her style garnered and makes comparisons to how Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s style are discussed today.

Through oral history and detailed personal knowledge, Krishnamurthy pays homage to the history of hip-hop and ensures that flowers are given to those who led to where it is today.

Fashion Killa How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion By Sowmya Krishnamurthy


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