Ever wonder how you can get your hands on a pair of Yeezys? Or even an OVO 6ix God hat? Regardless of the authenticity of the article of clothing or shoes that “rappers turned fashion moguls” produce, the demographic of 18-25 year-olds today eat it up without question. Undeniably, the hottest trends in the current fashion market proliferate from the Rap and Hip Hop music industry, which leads to the massive blind following of many trendy fans today.
Hip Hop merchandise can set high prices for regular branded manufactured clothing, usually produced from third world countries for dimes on the dollar. What astonishes me the most is that Gildan, a Canadian low-cost basic cotton apparel manufacturer, is in fact exactly what Kanye West uses for his Saint Pablo Tour Merchandise. Apparently, if you slap on the letters Y-E-Z-Z-U-S on a cheap sweater,*poof*, you now have yourself a $150 sweater. Want to know the worst part it all- you’re just making these celebrities a heck of a lot richer.
Hip Hop so-called “Gods” like Kanye West, Drake, Chance the Rapper, and Travis Scott all trap you into buy a piece of their brand. What they’re doing is strategic. They are marketing their brands in a way that makes the average fashion inclined consumer want to wear their brands on their backs and post cool pictures on social media of themselves wearing this apparel. It’s a cheap and efficient way for these rappers to grow their music fan base following while also tapping into the fashion market demographic that would wear the clothing to stay current and on-trend. It’s genius.
Concert merchandisers and the rappers themselves are smart. They lure you in with trendy colours, appealing fonts, and sweet graphics to go along with their designs. Rappers like Drake and Kanye even wear their own merchandise out in public where they know they’ll be seen by the paparazzi. So there we have it, young men and women alike become more inclined to dress like Drake and Kanye, instantly making these artists well-known fashion icons.
Take Drake’s OVO merchandise line as another example. Knock-off brands are producing similar clothing illegally under Drake’s brand for one-third of the price the official merchandise sites are selling them for. Consumers are essentially paying for a low-quality cotton T-shirt with a brand’s logo and printed letters in an arch on the back, all heat sealed for the whooping price of a week’s worth of groceries. (For students like me, that’s a problem).
Shoes have this same effect. Fake Yeezys are almost identical to the real shoes, which at minimum have a re-sell value between $800-$1000. Fans line up for hours before the release of the newest version of Kanye’s shoes in select stores, re-sell the shoes an hour later on E-Bay, and make a huge profit from those who get suckered into buying it online because that’s what’s hot today. Only (Rap) Gods know how long this cycle will last for.
What we need to realize is that what people are buying is not top notch quality, but instead is only top tier pricing. You are no longer buying a sweater, a t-shirt, or a pair of shoes; you’re buying into a brand. The clothing items themselves are now irrelevant. What becomes more of an importance nowadays is if you fit in with the vibe that the current Rap and Hip Hop markets dictate in society. What scares me the most about this music industry takeover in fashion is the idea that soon enough, we will become too enslaved to the label and no longer care what kind of quality clothing we actually own.
(Image Sources: Tumblr, Google Images)