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We the People: Rulers of the Fashion World

Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, second from right, with singers Frank Ocean, Antony Hegarty and Ciara at the Fall/Winter 2013 women's ready-to-wear show.
The times when the runways of Paris and Milan controlled the streets of New York and every other urban city in America are over.

When urban hipsters simply stopped following trends set overseas, the fashion editors and designers picked up camp and followed the hipsters. And now hipsters, bloggers and everyday folk are the inspirational food for those who run the fashion world.

Hipsters are characterized solely by the idea that they are individuals. They follow no man’s (or woman’s) trend. So if the hipsters aren’t getting their fashion inspiration from runways, where does this power come from?

“When I spend a lot of my time listening to and watching some of my favorite rappers, I just end up picking some fashion tips up from them,” says Hezekiah Adedoyin, an undeclared hipster. Hipsters usually don’t like being called hipsters.

Some hipsters pick up style tips from their favorite underground rappers, who dress as products of their environment. For example, Joey Bada$$ and A$AP Rocky are newly discovered Harlem rappers who have influenced hipsters and the fashion world alike.

By this long trail of inspiration, the urban youth stand on top of the fashion pyramid, a position where timeless fashion houses and their creative directors like Riccardo Tisci, Gianni Versace and Hedi Slimane once found themselves.

This has created somewhat a time of prosperity for black fashion, allowing the rise of African-American bloggers like Joshua Kissi and Travis Gumbs, the owners of the Street Etiquette blog. They were in full attendance throughout New York Fashion Week.

This prosperous time has also allowed rappers like Kanye West and A$AP Rocky to occupy the coveted front row seats at some of Fashion Week’s most high profile shows.

“Rappers are the new rock stars!” says Eric Cano, former fashion director of XXL Magazine. In the last century, rock stars were the musicians who influenced the minds of the designers, but again a new age has come.

For example, the fashion trend of tying a jacket around your waist returned in the early ’90s. Kanye West recently revived this trend, and Givenchy featured it as a focal point of 13 looks for its Fall/Winter 2013 Collection.

But what brought this new age? What made designers see the hidden wealth in urban wear?

In HBO’s documentary “In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye,” former fashion editor Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele made a reference to her November 1988 Vogue cover in which she featured denim. This had never been done on the cover or in spreads of the world’s leading fashion magazine. Dudzeele credits this groundbreaking cover to the people she saw everyday on the streets of New York.

So now is the time to take pride in your individualism. Wear only what you please, and let no trend define you. Take advantage of these prosperous times when the rulers of the free fashion world are looking to the public for guidance. Take heed to the importance of the public fashion opinion. It’s funny how the fashion world nailed a perfect democracy on the head before the free world; isn’t it?

Alexander-Julian Gibbson covers fashion for 101 Magazine and his blog, The Luxury League.


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