Before looking The remix: Hip Hop X FashionI didn't know to what extent black culture shapes the fashion industry. I knew about Logomania and Lil & # 39; Kim's purple pate outfit from the VMAs in 1999 – but I didn't understand how stylists Misa Hylton and Dapper Dan created a '90s subculture that's now used by the likes of Kylie Jenner, Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B is used and countless luxury brands that represent what is hot, young and cool.
The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion introduces us to some of the women behind some of the most influential style moments in hip-hop. Historians, stylists, designers, publishers and editors from the US, London and Milan examine how the "ghetto fabulous" aesthetic of the 90s continues to transform contemporary culture – particularly in terms of social media, nostalgia and cultural appropriation.
"I grew up naive and thought that most of these rappers I looked up to were self-dressing," says Pyer Moss designer Kirby Jean-Raymond in the documentary. "Then I found out that it was Misa Hylton who was behind these iconic looks, and when you find the people behind them, that makes the story even more special."
"African American fashion is something we are proud of. It's a way of expressing ourselves that's so natural. The way we do our hair. The way we dress every day. The fashion, the we feel drawn to is so interesting and different, "says Misa Hylton The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion. "It inspired me as a kid, but I never imagined how powerful what I created as a stylist would get and how far it has gone. It went around the world and came back." Hylton's clients included Lil & # 39; Kim, Missy Elliot, and Mary J. Blige, to name a few. She is credited with taking up traditionally masculine elements of hip hop and reinterpreting them to create the feminine, sensual rapper aesthetic that defines today's images of pop culture.
PICTURED: Misa Hylton and Lil & # 39; Kim from The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion
"Misa Hylton came along and she really upped the ante. She took on traditional fashion looks, style and spirit, and gave it the black edge," former director of fashion and beauty advertising for Vibe Magazine Bevy Smith explains in the documentation. Former editor-in-chief of the magazine Mimi Valdes also praised Misa for creating "some of the most amazing looks in hip-hop. People need to know her name".
"From the beginning of the 90s it was actually a real turning point in the way fashion was used in the world of hip-hop," says stylist and vintage clothing retailer Gabriel Held The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion. Before the 90s, hip-hop women as well as men had to portray a male person to be taken seriously. Elena Romero, author of Free Stylin & # 39;: How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry, explains in the documentary that "Women need to hide their femininity. Even wearing pink would be seen as a sign of weakness."
Hip-hop was extremely restrictive in how people could express sexual and gender fluidity, which is why Hylton's new take on the female rapper was so revolutionary. She used fashion and style to deconstruct how gender and sexuality are expressed in the world of hip hop. While Hylton established new archetypes for women to exist mightily in a male-dominated industry, Dapper Dan reconstructed and manipulated fabrics from luxury labels to undermine notions of class and success in black communities. Hip-hop historian Michael Holman explains in detail in The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion The process of deconstruction and subversion in the creation of iconic black images and how cultural appropriation by both black culture and the white establishment works in a kind of symbiosis to accelerate and eliminate the influence of the black experience.
"Hip-hop has a love affair with luxury brands because it symbolizes the fact that you made it," said Nikki Ogunnaike, former style director at Elle.com. Bevy Smith adds that "it didn't necessarily have to be about a label – it was about a lifestyle; you could be wearing a tennis outfit and have never played tennis or a pair of breeches and never ridden a horse."
PICTURED: Diane Dixon wears a custom Dapper Dan jacket The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion
Dapper Dan understood very early on the impact the "luxury lifestyle" could have on morale in black working class communities. "I knew growing up poor, holes in my shoes, how transformative it can be to get dressed. No matter where you live, if you have a nice outfit and put it on and go downtown, no one is better than you," he shares the documentary.
“One day a customer walked in and they had a Louis Vuitton bag – everyone knew this guy was a big fool and they admired that bag. Then I thought to myself, if you were that excited about this bag, imagine yourself before how excited they would be if I could furnish them completely like this pouch. "And so the aesthetic of logomania was born in New York in the 90s.
Image: Dapper Dan in The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion
"These logo names and luxury goods often stand for political and personal freedom that is not the point," explains Rhonda Garelick, professor at Parsons and critic The cut, in the The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion. "It's about marginalization, and reappropriation can feel liberating, but even more liberating is ironicizing it, like Dapper Dan did."
The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion is an essential watch for anyone who really loves fashion, style and personal expression. The documentary tells the story of how stylists Misa Hylton and Dapper Dan created one of the most influential aesthetics in fashion history, one that has been repeatedly adopted by luxury brands that these image pioneers previously left out of the conversation. Heritage houses like Fendi, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent are just a couple that have benefited from the "fabulous" aesthetic of the ghetto that was not recognized by the fashion elite in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The legacies of Hylton and Dan can be seen in a variety of fashion images today, most notably when Dapper Dan's puffed sleeve Louis Vuitton jacket pictured above inspired a very similar "homage" jacket for Gucci's Cruise 2018 collection. Dapper Dan also created a custom Fendi jumpsuit with a monochrome logo print in the 90s, which the brand recently re-made for their Fall / Winter 2018 collection. Hylton is best known for the purple pie look she styled Lil & # 39; Kim for the 1999 VMAs, and this look has been repeated by everyone from Yves Saint Laurent to Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Cher. To really understand how and why the fashion industry became what it is today, enjoy behind the scenes stories from some of the most prolific picture makers The remix: Hip Hop X Fashion, stream on Netflix now.