Bringing It Back: The Museum at FIT Unveils ”Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style”

The most iconic looks from some of your favorite hip-hop artists go under the microscope; examine and explore the intersection between hip-hop and fashion’s biggest heavyweights.

Your weekend plans are unlocked. As of today, Wednesday, February 8th, The Museum at FIT has officially unveiled its special hip-hop exhibition entitled, Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style, a showcase dedicated to celebrating the birth of hip-hop and its influence on fashion. From February 8th to April 23rd, the exhibition takes precedence as one of the largest and most comprehensive debuts to explore hip-hop’s revolutionary and influential style.

For this debut, over 100 garments and accessories will disclose the pivotal moments in hip-hop fashion’s evolution, ranging from Kangol hats to custom Dapper Dan jackets and the Manolo Blahnik Okla Alta booties inspired by Timberland work boots. The exhibition is curated by Elena Romero, journalist and assistant chair of Marketing Communications at FIT, and Elizabeth Way, associate curator of costume at MFIT, whose previous exhibitions include Head to Toe (2021), Fabric in Fashion (2018), and Black Fashion Designers (2016). Romero is the author of the first comprehensive book on the exhibition’s subject matter, entitled Freestylin’: How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry (2012). Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style is designed by Courtney Sloane Design.

“It was important for The Museum at FIT to organize this exhibition because hip hop—the most influential music genre of our era—has had such a profound impact on the world of fashion. Furthermore, hip hop fashion and music are cultural expressions of the African and Hispanic cultural diasporas, which MFIT seeks to amplify as part of our goal to expand the understanding of fashion,” shared Dr. Valerie Steele, director, and chief curator, MFIT.

The show initiates with an examination of the early club venues where hip-hop styles were showcased and the media—record companies, television shows, and films—that utilized fashion as a vehicle to promote hip-hop artists and ideas. Sections such as The Designer Dreams, High Fashion Does Hip Hop, Collaborations, and Hip Hop in High Fashion explore the genre’s evolving relationship with established designer brands, such as Jordache, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci, and examine how significant custom designers, such as Dapper Dan and 5001 Flavors, made hip hop style unique.

Men’s “8-Ball jacket”; white, black, green, and red pieced leather with white “8” appliqué on sleeves and back; convertible collar; bomber style with ribbed cuffs and lower band; bound pockets, zipper front

Visitors will see looks worn and made popular by artists Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, LL Cool J, Chuck D, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, Khaled, and Cardi B, to name just a few. Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous will also feature designs by 5001 Flavors, April Walker, Misa Hylton, Cross Colours, Karl Kani, Shirt King Phade of the Shirt Kings, FUBU, Rocawear, Wu Wear, Mecca USA, Baby Phat, Pelle Pelle, and Sean John, as well as Lee®, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace, among many others.

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