When it comes to the world of fashion music is one of the biggest influences when it comes not just to people’s personal style but for the direction, fashion is moving in. One of the largest impacts that music has had on fashion was the rise of hip-hop. You can go all the way back to rappers like Slick Rick and Big Daddy popularizing over the top gold chains that were literally things only your favorite rappers could wear to groups like the Wu-Tang Clan popularizing Clarks Wallabees and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Snow Beach collection. Groups like the Wu-Tang Clan didn’t start dressing like this because of their new found money from rising through the ranks of the music industry they dressed like that because it was how they always dressed. There is something different in terms of the connection between the musician and his audience when the person listening is able to reflect how they connect with the culture. They are able to portray this in what they wear and when it is easily attainable for the listener that bond grows even stronger.
There were band tees dating back to the late 60s and early 70s that allowed a fan of a certain musical group or act to show their friends that they attending a show or went to a certain stop on the tour, but nothing that just showed that they were down with the group and the movement they were starting. Wu-Wear, the clothing line started by RZA and many other members of the Wu-Tang Clan, revolutionized this idea and perfected it in a way that would inspire many other rappers and groups to follow suit. Wu-Wear was started in 1995 after the success of the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The clothing line was carried at stores all over the country and was a huge source of income for the entire Wu-Tang Clan, even allowing them to open their own separate retail locations in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Norfolk. Wu-Wear allowed the fans of the Wu-Tang Clan and just those that followed street fashion and street culture to get down with the Wu-Tang Clan’s movement and show their support for the group out of Staten Island. Although Wu-Wear folded in 2008 it has left a huge impact on the culture surrounding hip-hop designed and inspired clothing lines.
Today with the resurgence of 90’s hip-hop culture into the mainstream it’s only right for the return of Wu-Wear but marketed in a way that nobody would’ve expected, it’s being promoted through an event at Barney’s. The fact that Wu-Wear is coming back in a fresh new way at Barney’s, with updated designs and the focus of not just promoting the group but being on trend while still being able to respect its origins is incredible. This just goes to show you that the rich culture associated with hip-hop and rap music has ascended more than just music. Hip-hop today is regarded as one of if not the most popular genre of music today and it shows with everything around us. Barney’s which is a luxury department store that no one, not even RZA, would’ve imagined his Wu-Wear line rolling out a ten-piece collection exclusively for them is just another mark of how hip-hop music and fashion today really go hand in hand. This gives many older hip-hop heads a chance to reminisce on the early days of the Wu-Tang Clan and can cop and rock a piece of the new Wu-Wear while still allowing the younger generation to get introduced to the Wu-Tang Clan in a whole new way.