The urban style in fashion takes its source in the late 90’s, beginning of the 00’s in the USA. The epicentre of the movement was the so called “ghettos” of New York City, meaning the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem and the Queens. The outfits were characteristic of the african-american and latino communities in NYC. Hip-hop and RnB were the types of music mostly listened in big cities with less favoured populations, because the lyrics spoke to the youth, and so this is where the urban style and the music industry met. Because a lot of the artists in these music styles came from NYC, the urban style spread quickly all over the US and far beyond the borders later on.
So what was the urban style like? For men, it was mostly large pants, Nike sneakers, tank tops or large sweaters. Big and ostentatious gold chains and jewels. Provocation and sensuality were the main aims of the outfits for women. Short dresses or tight jeans with short tops, long fur coats, high heels and big hoops. This is the beginning go the so called “big butt” culture. In both genders’ closets we could also find more sporty clothes like sweatpants or large and comfy outfits which stood as the most representative idea of the urban style.
Here are some pictures and video clips to illustrate.
Mariah Carey and Snoop Dog
Kim Kardashian, Zac Efron, Madonna, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale in Christian Audigier design
Now the urban style has evolved a lot and became a sign of good taste and of sobriety and left its showing off aspect thanks to designers like Alexander Wang or Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy. Focusing more on the structures and textures of the fabrics and designs, the new urban style attracted fashion experts such as the power couple Kimye, Justin Bieber, various models and designers. The urban style now is also opening doors to what is called the unisex or gender free designs so that guys and girls can share the same clothes. This is truly a sign of modernity.
I would say that what describes the urban style nowadays would be something in neutral colours (black, beige, grey, white, …) with some originality in the fabric or/and cut but in a simple overall style, pretty close to the “I don’t care” kinda look with some king of sporty accessories (sneakers or bag).
Alexander Wang S/S 2015
Givenchy menswear S/S 2015
Helmut Lang F/W 2009
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Kim Kardashian and daughter North West
Hailey Baldwin and Gigi Hadid