What does urban mean in fashion

What does urban mean in fashion

The New York Times recently profiled Ouigi Theodore, the owner of urban men’s brand Brooklyn Circus:

Times writer Alex Williams talked to Ouigi (referred to as the Bearded Dandy of Brooklyn) about his clothing line and how he uses the brand’s sharp aestehtic to offer a new definition of what black street fashion should be. Ouigi  said, “Our goal is to refine the image of urban AmericaMy dream is to see guys hanging on the corner in suits.” He continued, “Urban always had a style to it, a swagger… [but it also came with the negative stigma of] overuse of the ‘N’ word, the pants sagging,” he said, “…When I travel overseas, people see the way we dress and say: ‘You guys don’t listen to hip-hop. You’re not urban.’ Yes, we are.”


The Times’ fashion section also has a slide show called, “A New Fashion Image for Urban America”, that shows Theodore and friends in super preppy Brooklyn Circus duds, playing chess and ironing shirts. One caption says, “Mr. Theodore’s fashion quest… is to elevate a side of black urban culture that goes beyond the baggy jeans and sneakers that still define hip-hop.”


At the Fashion Bomb our tag is “All Urban Fashion….All the Time.” And while most of our style stars are hip-hop and R&B icons like Beyonce, Kanye West, and Pharrell, you might notice that very few of them dress in what is typically thought of as an ‘urban’ way. Beyonce regularly rocks Alexander McQueen, Chanel, and Balmain (mixed in with House of Dereon), Rihanna can be seen switching in and out of Gareth Pugh and Lanvin frocks, and Kanye West wears Phillip Lim, Burberry, and luxurious furs…with Jordan sneakers. Aside from ‘hip-hop’ stars embracing designer labels, urban also extends to other races, as in people who have a multicultural, vibrant background, take risks, and mix high and low with the best of them.

Granted, rap in the 90’s had a very particular look, but the artists, genre, and audience have grown up. It’s somewhat befuddling that larger culture would assume that urban still means low slung pants, bandanas, and dangling toothpicks. I’d venture to say that urban fashion is mainstream fashion–a mélange of current trends and designer items, remixed with flair and individuality. All set to a hip-hop soundtrack.

At any rate, what does the phrase ‘urban fashion’ mean to you?

Read the New York Times article here.

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