The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop, and to commemorate the occasion, The Museum at FIT (MFIT) will present Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style (February–April 2023), an exhibition that examines the roots and history of hip hop fashion from inception to the present time. This exhibition will explore several themes, such as the transition of hip hop from the ‘hood to the runway; luxury and designer influence; the impact of hip hop celebrities on the fashion industry; and the growth of hip hop style as an international phenomenon.
“For 50 years, hip hop has made its mark on U.S. culture and the world,” says Elena Romero, exhibition co-curator and assistant professor, Advertising and Marketing Communications at FIT. “It is the perfect time to exhibit, examine, and celebrate the contributions of our youth and people of color who ignited a multibillion-dollar industry, once considered a passing fad.” Romero has extensively chronicled hip hop fashion as a journalist, author, and scholar. She is the author of Free Stylin’: How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry and has been featured in several documentaries on the subject, including Fresh Dressed and The Remix: Hip Hop X Fashion.
“The Museum at FIT has established the Hip Hop Style Archive in preparation for our big 2023 exhibition,” says Dr. Valerie Steele, director of MFIT. “We have already acquired some important pieces—ranging from Dapper Dan to Chanel—but we are dedicated to finding much more material that will elucidate a very important cultural phenomenon.” The archive, founded in 2019 in recognition of the importance of hip hop style in the 20th and 21st centuries, is a continually growing collection within The Museum at FIT’s permanent holdings and is comprised predominantly of male and female garments, footwear, and related accessories. It includes works from a range of designers, including American sportswear and luxury designers, European luxury brands, and most significantly, works by designers of color, particularly African American and Latinx designers who helped initiate hip hop style’s international success.
MFIT is currently seeking and accepting donations of objects to continue to build the Hip Hop Style Archive and to accurately represent hip hop fashion in the upcoming Fresh, Fly and Fabulous exhibition. If you wish to donate an object, please click here to submit your information through an online form.
Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style will be supported by an advisory committee made up of experts from the fields of fashion, music, journalism, academia, and education. The exhibition will be organized and co-curated by Romero and Elizabeth Way, assistant curator of Costume at The Museum of FIT.
The Museum at FIT
The Museum at FIT, which is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion. The museum’s mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs. Visit fitnyc.edu/museum.
The museum is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a State University of New York (SUNY) college of art, design, business, and technology that has been at the crossroads of commerce and creativity for 75 years. With programs that blend hands-on practice, a strong grounding in theory, and a broad-based liberal arts foundation, FIT offers career education in nearly 50 areas, and grants associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. FIT provides students with a complete college experience at an affordable cost, a vibrant campus life in New York City, and industry-relevant preparation for rewarding careers. Visit fitnyc.edu.
The Couture Council is a philanthropic membership group that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon held every September. For information on the Couture Council, call (212) 217-4532 or email [email protected].
Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday, noon–8 pm; Saturday, 10 am–5 pm. Closed Sunday, Monday, and legal holidays.
Admission is free.
Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip Hop Style is made possible by the support of the Couture Council.
SOURCE Fashion Institute of Technology