The Evolution Of Urban Clothing


Urban wear is identified with the hip-hop culture, and by extension, with mostly young people who are involved in “extreme” sports. If you are a hip-hop lover or an extreme sports enthusiast, then you are part of that group that practically lives in urban wear.

Urban wear or urban clothing is always bold, fresh and expressive of the hunger, restlessness, and in-your-face fearlessness of the hip hop generation. Urban clothing is also distinguished by trendy looks, controversial designs and a constant need to change and appear up-to-the-minute.

Urban Wear Goes Designer

From the beginning there has been a preoccupation with “designer” urban clothing. It is not enough just to look “urban”. New designs must be flambouyant and in your face. While youthful-looking in many regards, most urban clothing designs have been earnest and very concerned with projecting a “screw you” image.

Some recent trends in urban wear have been more lighthearted – acknowledging the showmanship built into urban wear – that the attitude is more imagined than real. As designs started to migrate from the rapper-inspired, rapper-owned design shops to more mainstream labels the transformation was inevitable. It is just a bit much for mainstream labels to make out as though they are downtrodden and unhappy with the status quo. They are the status quo.

Brands such as Rocawear, Ecko and Akademiks have long been identified with the urban wear trend and are well known for fashion designs born out of the street culture that was the source of both rap and urban wear designs. In fact many of the original urban wear labels were founded by rappers themselves. Like most celebrities they were simply trying to use their image and notoriety to make money selling things.

Inevitably, newer companies such as Vokal have stepped in and modified the world of urban wear to include fleece loungewear, high end velour, denim, and striking, brightly colored athletic jerseys. Another company, Baby Phat, takes a different approach. Their thing is to create a blend of hip hop style and uptown metropolitan fashion. The result is a more refined urban look that well to do trendies can buy into.

This co-opting of the urban clothing concept is really just the fashion industry doing what it always does. It is cashing in on the trend-following nature of consumers. And as usualy they are targeting people with money who want to make an impression and are prepared to pay top dollar to buy the latest trend.

Wholesale Urban Clothing

On the other hand, the fact that the urban wear universe is transforming itself so rapidly has meant the development of a major market for wholesale urban wear. Since urban wear designs change quickly and manufacturers need to stay ahead of the curve in order to survive, they are usually quite prepared to sell large volumes of the last cycle’s designs for very low prices.

That means that enterprising clothing merchants can buy up large or even medium sized lots of over stocked items and sell them in bulk – often on the internet – for much lower prices than you can find in most retail stores that stock urban clothing.

Some sites will even sell wholesale urban wear in small quantities of four or five. So for consumers who find an item they like this is ideal – they can buy three or four for the price of one. This even allows a person interested in staying with the fashion trends to essentially replace their entire wardrobe for a fraction of what it might otherwise cost.