There is no question that Hip Hop has had a significant influence on fashion over the years. Rappers have been launching their own clothing brands for decades, and some have been more successful than others. In this editorial, we will take a detailed look at some of the most notorious Hip Hop clothing brands ever launched.
We will discuss why they were started, what type of clothes they sell, and how successful they have been. We will also explore the marketing strategies and revenue generated by these brands. So without further ado, let’s get started!
Tyler the Creator – Golf Wang
Tyler, the Creator is a rapper and producer who first gained notoriety as the frontman of the Hip Hop group Odd Future. He launched his own clothing brand, Golf Wang, in 2012. The line sells T-shirts, hats, sweaters, and other accessories.
The brand sells its products online as well as through pop-up shops at concerts and festivals. Golf wang apparel can be purchased online.
Tyler described Golf Wang as “a lifestyle company dedicated to creating and promoting fun Hip Hop clothing.” He says he takes inspiration from the 1970s Hip Hop group The Funky Four Plus One More, reflected in the bright colors and patterns used in his designs.
Golf Wang has been successful, with annual revenue estimated at $20 million. The brand has collaborated with other Hip Hop artists such as A$AP Rocky and Lil Yachty. It also sponsors a skate team.
JAY-Z – Rocawear
In 1999, Hip Hop pioneer and entrepreneur Jay-Z launched Rocawear alongside Business partner Dame Dash. The Hip Hop mogul had just signed a deal with Def Jam records worth 10 million dollars when he decided to launch the brand to capitalize on his newfound wealth and fame. In 2007, Jay-Z sold the brand for $204 million dollars.
The Hip Hop clothing brand has featured a number of top Hip Hop artists throughout its history. In 1999, Jay-Z appeared in an ad campaign for the brand along with Hip Hop legends DMX and Nas. The brand has also featured Hip Hop stars like Camron, Kanye West, State Property & more.
Rocawear was a staple 90s hip hop fashion item evident by the bold fonts and baggy fits. Today the brand sells a wide range of clothes, including jeans, T-shirts, hoodies, and suits. Rocawear has also released a number of collaborations with other famous brands, such as Nike and Adidas.
Despite its high price tags, Rocawear has been successful over the years. The brand had generated over $700 million in revenue by 2012. Rocawear is likely to continue being the nostalgic Hip Hop Clothing brand that it is.
Kanye West – Yeezy
Since his debut in Hip Hop Kanye expressed his love for music as much as his love for fashion which would allow him to design shoes and clothes for Brands. To quote ourselves
“Kanye’s relationship with Adidas started in 2006, designing a shoe which didn’t receive an actual release. In 2013 after releasing the infamous Red Octobers Kanye left Nike for lack of creative control. This led to his partnership with Adidas and bringing Yeezy to the brand.”
Something we can only imagine Nike regrets doing. Yeezy has generated over $1 billion in revenue since it was founded in 2013.
Outside of being a great product and sneaker Kanye used his relationships with musicians, athletes and political figures as a marketing tool for the sneaker, gifting each of these high profile individuals a pair of yeezys as well as clothes.
50 Cent- G Unit Clothing
After the release of get rich or die trying 50 began to take advantage of brand extension opportunities, one of those being his G Unit clothing line. Everything from t shirts, hoodies, sneakers and accessories were all sold under the G Unit clothing line.
In true 50 cent fashion he used videos as product placement for the sale of his clothing brand and shoes.
50 also revealed years later he made over 80 million dollars during his time at reebok with the g unit shoe.
The success of this brand has allowed 50 Cent to make a name for himself as an entrepreneur and Hip Hop artist who is not afraid to take risks. G-Unit is one of the most successful Hip Hop clothing brands in history, and it is sure to remain popular among Hip Hop fans for many years to come.
Wu-Tang Clan – Wu Wear (1995)
Wu wear is a Hip Hop clothing brand that was started in 1995 by RZA and GZA of the Hip Hop group Wu-Tang Clan.
Wu Wear is known for its distinctive logo, which features a stylized W and U on top of each other in black and white colors with red accents on either side. The brand has become synonymous with Hip Hop culture because it was worn by many rappers throughout the 90s and early 2000s.
The company has been successful in marketing its products to Hip Hop fans around the world through various outlets such as concerts and appearances on television shows like YO MTV Raps.
Diddy – Sean John Clothing
Sean John Clothing was founded in 1998 by Hip Hop mogul Sean “Puffy” Combs. At the time, Hip Hop fashion had not yet become mainstream, and Puffy wanted to introduce a more upscale line of clothes for Hip Hop fans who could afford it. The name of the brand is derived from his government name: Sean being Puffys’ first name, and John being his middle name.
While the line had been successful Diddy sold the brand back in 2016 and then repurchased for $7.6 million stating he needed to reintroduce it with new creative ideas.
He has gone on the record to say “
“I launched Sean John in 1998 with the goal of building a premium brand that shattered tradition and introduced hip hop to high-fashion on a global scale,’
‘Seeing how streetwear has evolved to rewrite the rules of fashion and impact culture across categories, I’m ready to reclaim ownership of the brand, build a team of visionary”
Drake – OVO (Octobers Very Own)
Drake is one of Hip Hop’s biggest stars. He has released 6 studio albums, won three Grammy Awards, and sold over 150 million records worldwide as an artist. Drake is also known for his fashion sense and fashionable clothing line OVO (Octobers Very Own). The Canadian rapper launched the clothing brand in 2011 with long-time friends Oliver El-Khatib and Noah Shebib.
The clothing line is inspired by Hip Hop culture, basketball and streetwear. OVO has since expanded to include a record label, an entertainment company, and a radio station. Drake’s clothing line has been very successful, with revenue of over $100 million in 2020 alone.
Drake has a unique marketing strategy for his clothing brand that involves using social media and celebrity endorsements to gain exposure and increase sales. He also uses his music to promote OVO, and often includes references to the clothing line in his lyrics. For example, the song “Fancy” from Drake’s album “Thank Me Later” includes the lyric “OVO crew dressed in all red like we were at Coachella.”
T.I. – A.K.O.O. Clothing
A.K.O.O Clothing which was founded by rapper T.I in 2010 has been one of the most successful Hip Hop brands to date due its wide variety of products being sold at affordable prices for people who love Hip Hop music but don’t want to break the bank. The brand sells a wide variety of clothing items, including t-shirts, hats, hoodies, and jeans.
A.K.O.O Clothing has been very successful in terms of marketing its products. T.I himself is heavily involved in marketing the brand, appearing in many of its commercials and promotional videos. The brand has also been endorsed by many other popular rappers, such as Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. This has helped to create a lot of buzz and excitement around the brand.
LL Cool J -Rock the Bells
LL Cool J had his first attempt in the fashion business by launching his Todd Smith Line back in the mid-2000s. At the time the brand was met with heavy critique and failed to catch traction within the marketplace which ultimately led to failure. LL Cool J took the loss and moved on.
Today he has launched his brand Rock the Bells which is a lifestyle brand which focuses on content, media and merchandise. The brand aims to keep its apparel a mixture of modern and traditional with collaboration ranging from legendary graffiti artist Phade & designer Alexander John to keep the hip hop edge to it.
Lil Wayne – Trukfit
Lil Wayne is one of Hip Hop’s most legendary figures, and he has had a prolific career. The rapper started his own clothing line called “Trukfit” back in 2012. Due to lil waynes love for skateboarding he decided to launch a skate inspired clothing line.
Trukfit used skateboard illustrations and graphics on the majority of their apparel to furter draw in the skateboard crowd. Ultimately Wayne used this as a way to create brand loyalty and community.
Overall, Trukfit had been successful but hasn’t quite reached the level of some of the other Hip Hop clothing brands in this article. However, it still has plenty of potential for growth and could become a Hip Hop iconic brand in its own right one day.
Pharrell – BBC Ice Cream
Billionaire Boys Club (BBC), was founded in 2003 by Pharrell Williams and Japanese fashion designer Nigo. The brand has been very successful, with reported annual revenue of $50 million. They sell t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and other apparel. Their products are sold in high-end stores such as Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus. The brand has been very successful in the Hip Hop community as well; it is a favorite among rappers such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Drake.
We first got a glimpse of the brand in Pharrell’s video Frontin which featured Jay-z. Pharrell wore a black graphic Billionaire Boys Club T Shirt with scenes of skateboard culture throughout the video which helped identify the brands vibe and style.
In 2006, Pharrell launched a companion line called Ice Cream Footwear. The line sells sneakers, sandals, and other shoes. Ice Cream Footwear is also sold in high-end stores such as Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus.
BBC Ice Cream has been very successful over the years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Pharrell is a genius when it comes to fashion, and he is sure to continue making a splash in the Hip Hop clothing industry.
Camron – Dipset USA
Camron has had some of the most eclectic moments in Hip Hop fashion, with some giving Cam the title for most influential when it comes to style. For example the Camron pink moment has been engraved in hip hop culture as iconic. So its no surprise the dipset leader would launch his own apparel line to further express his creative ideas.
Due to cams music success he launched his own Dipset USA clothing label which has been quite successful over the years. It generates annual revenue of around $20 million and has a large customer base that is spread all over the world. The loyal Dipset fans can be seen in the apparel across the world.
Some of the marketing strategies used by this Hip Hop clothing line include social media campaigns, events, and live performances. Camron is a very creative artist, and he often uses his personal connections with other Hip Hop artists to promote his clothing line. This has helped him to create a strong brand image amongst Hip Hop lovers in the world.
Russell Simmons – Phat Farm
Russell Simmons is a Hip Hop pioneer who has had an incredible impact on the music industry. He is also responsible for one of the most successful Hip Hop clothing brands ever launched – Phat Farm. Simmons founded Phat Farm in 1992, and it quickly became one of the most popular Hip Hop clothing lines in the world. The brand was so successful that it was eventually sold to the Kellwood Apparel company for a reported $140 million.
According to the Mogul, the clothing line was launched for two reasons. First, he wanted to provide high-quality clothes for Hip Hop fans. Second, he wanted to create jobs for African-American people.
Daymond John – FUBU
Daymond John has been a Hip Hop entrepreneur since he was just 19 years old. He is most well-known for founding the clothing company FUBU, which stands for “For Us By Us.” This brand appeals to Hip Hop fans and takes inspiration from Hip Hop culture in its designs. The first product that Daymond sold was actually a line of t-shirts that he created himself. He eventually founded FUBU and started selling hats, sweatshirts, and other clothing items that Hip Hop fans would appreciate.
In the 1990s, Daymond John opened his first store in Queens, New York City. The company quickly grew to become one of the most successful Hip Hop clothing brands in the world. At one point, it was selling $350 million worth of products annually. The popularity of the brand has since declined due to the rise of luxury brands in hip hop which offers a more tailored slim fit.
Daymond John has continued expanding his Hip Hop empire by launching several other clothing brands and investing in reality TV shows such as Shark Tank and Beyond the Tank with Mark Cuban. He is also involved with many Hip Hop-related businesses, including Hip Hop Squares, Hip Hop Poker Tour LLC (HHPT), and Hip Hop University LLC (HHU).
Daymond John is now one of the most successful Hip-Hop businessmen in history. He has a net worth of over $300 million and continues to expand his empire every day.
Multiple Hip Hop clothing brands have come and gone over the years, but a few of them have managed to achieve lasting success. Some of the most notable Hip Hop clothing brands from the 90s include Rocawear, Phat Farm, and FUBU. Today these would be Yeezy, OVO and Golf Wang.
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