New York Fashion Trends

Popular Fashion Trends of New York City from 1970s to 2020s

The NYC has long been a hub for New York fashion trends and influences, and this holds true within the city’s urban communities. From the 1970s to the 2020s, these communities have played a significant role in shaping the fashion landscape of the city, and at times the world.

The fashion trends among the black and Latino communities of New York City from the 1970s to the 2020s have been diverse, dynamic, and influential. These communities have made significant contributions to the city’s fashion scene, both through their individual styles and through the representation they have brought to the industry. As we move into the future, it is clear that their influence will continue to shape and redefine fashion trends in New York City.

Popular New York Fashion Trends

New York Fashion Trends: Timberlands

Timberland boots, also known as “Timbs,” have become an iconic part of New York City fashion trends for years, especially during the winter months. Originally introduced by the Abington Shoe Company in 1973, these 6-inch yellow boots were initially popular among outdoorsmen and blue-collar workers.

However, they quickly gained traction in cities like New York, particularly among the urban dwellers who appreciated their durability and style. Today, Timberland boots remain a beloved choice for all New Yorkers, whether they are construction workers or average fashion enthusiasts.

New York Fashion Trends: Streetwear

Streetwear fashion in New York City is a thriving industry that has been the mecca of this fashion style since the 1990s with the rise of FUBU and other brands from the culture. It is not just a trend but a lifestyle that originated from hip-hop, street, skater, and urban culture and the desire for comfortable yet fashionable clothing. Drawing inspiration from various sources, streetwear fashion appeals to a diverse and global follower base and subcultures. I

Now, it has evolved from an underground movement to a cultural phenomenon, impacting the fashion world in significant ways. Some of today’s top brands have been the likes of Amiri, Supreme, VLONE, and plenty more (check Top 20 Streetwear Brands). All have a strong presence in New York City, while most initially gained the popularity as one of the top New York fashion trends before expanding nationwide and globally.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Leather Coats

Leather coats have always been a popular fashion choice within hip-hop culture. Two prominent brands that have played a significant role in shaping this New York fashion trend are Pelle Pelle and Avirex.

Pelle Pelle, founded by Patrick Buchanan in 1983, initially targeted an urban audience and focused on collaborating with small specialty shops to help the brand grow. Buchanan’s unique brand identity for Pelle Pelle involved hand-drawing his designs and incorporating graphic appliqués inspired by cities where the brand had a following. By 1991, Pelle Pelle jackets gained immense popularity and were worn by celebrities like Will Smith and Arsenio Hall.

On the other hand, Avirex offers a range of sports and streetwear military-inspired fashion for men. Their collection includes G-1 bomber jackets, red blades jackets, stars and stripe jackets, limited edition city series jackets, leather aviator shirts, and American varsity jackets. These jackets exude sophistication and confidence, with prices ranging from $998 to $1,498. Additionally, Pelle Pelle also offers a range of coats, jackets, and vests for women, which can be found on platforms like eBay.

New York Fashion Trends: Baseball Hats

New Era fitted baseball caps are a popular choice among New York City residents, and not just fans of the New York Yankees. These caps are known for their high-quality construction and stylish designs have in various forms over the years, from the “Black Nasty” to the grey brims. These caps have always been a great accessory to ones wardrobe, from casual to the more sophisticated look.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Streetwear Fashion (90s/2000s)

The rise of streetwear fashion during the 1990s in New York City was a significant cultural movement that challenged traditional notions of luxury fashion. With the rise of FUBU, Karl Kani, Mecca, and several other brands, the New York fashion trends began to change through the emergence of the popularity of hip hop culture.

By the 2000s the movement of black-owned and urban culture streetwear brands grew with the arrival rap moguls into the business. This led to Sean Jean by Puff Daddy, Russel Simmons with Phat Farm, Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella with Roc-A-Wear, and much more. These brands catered to urban youth with stylish and culturally relevant clothing. The rise of streetwear during this era not only redefined fashion but also challenged societal norms and brought diverse voices to the forefront.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Kangol Hats (80s)

During the 1980s in New York City, Kangol hats became a popular fashion choice among hip-hop artists. The brand, founded in the 1920s by Jakob Henryk Spreiregen in London, initially gained popularity for its berets. However, it was in the 1980s that Kangol hats saw a spike in sales and became synonymous with the hip-hop culture. Rappers like LL Cool J and Slick Rick were often seen sporting these hats, and their endorsement contributed to the brand’s rise in popularity.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Nike Air Force Ones

Nike Air Force Ones were initially released in 1982 but was discontinued in 1984 before being reintroduced in 1986 with some modifications. Since then, Nike has produced over 1,700 color variations of the Air Force 1, being available in low-top, mid-top, and high-top styles, while generating an estimated annual revenue of $800 million.

The design of the shoe was inspired by the plane that carries the President of the United States and was named after it.  The Air Force 1 has become an iconic sneaker and has played a significant role in shaping sneaker culture. Its popularity can be attributed to its timeless design, comfortable fit, and ability to be styled with various outfits.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Adidas (80s)

During the 1980s in New York City, the fashion scene was heavily influenced by the popularity of brands among the B-Boys and B-Girls. Fila, Ellesse, and Lotto gained traction. Reebok, Avia, and L.A. Gear targeted women with their aerobic shoes.  Additionally, brands like Troop and British Knight specifically catered to the urban community but were not created by the community itself.

With all of the fashion choices, the Adidas sneaker and the Adidas tracksuit emerged as a lifestyle staple that transcended cultures throughout the 1980s. An appealing choice for crews in the hip-hop community, the tracksuit became synonymous with the street style and culture of the era, representing a sense of identity and unity within the B-boy subculture.

New York Fashion Trends: Big Gold Chains (80s/90s)

Gold chains became a defining fashion statement during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly among street hustlers and rappers in New York City. These large gold chains were a symbol of status and lifestyle, worn as a bold statement of wealth and success. Various styles of gold chains emerged during this time, including the popular dookie chain and Cuban links. The trend of wearing gold chains continued into the 90s and beyond, with both extravagant and more minimalistic styles being seen.

New York Fashion Trends: Afrocentric (80s/90s)

During the 1980s and 1990s in New York City, Afrocentric fashion made a significant impact on the style scene. One prominent aspect of this fashion movement was the wearing of Kente cloth and Dashiki-style clothing.

Traditionally, Kente cloth was worn by high-ranking figures and associated with festivals in southern Ghana and Togo. However, it became more accessible to anyone who could afford it during the 1980s and 1990s in New York City. Originally, dashikis were work garments sewn from hand-woven strip cloth. However, they evolved into a fashion statement through the influence of African students and diplomats in the 1960s.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Jeans

In the bustling streets of New York City, fashion plays a significant role in self-expression and identity. The New York fashion trends of streetwear fashion has become a popular trend among the city’s fashion-forward residents, with brands like Amiri, True Religion, Taverniti, and Robin’s Jeans making a statement on the streets.

True Religion, known for its iconic denim pieces, combines comfort and style, was a favorite among streetwear enthusiasts. Taverniti, another prominent brand, offers a range of trendy and edgy designs that appeal to the urban fashion scene. Robin’s Jeans, with its distinctive embroidered logo and unique washes, adds a touch of individuality to streetwear outfits. Now, Amiri has become synonymous with the vibrant and diverse fashion culture of New York City.

New York Fashion Trends: Coats

Marmot Mammoth, also known as Biggies, Moncler, and Canada Goose coats are three popular brands known for their high-quality and stylish winter outerwear. The Marmot Mammoth style known as the Biggie has gained attention in recent times. It is a sought-after piece of streetwear that can be bought and sold on various platforms and is a favorite among fashion enthusiasts.

On the other hand, Moncler and Canada Goose are renowned for their luxurious and durable coats that provide exceptional warmth in extreme weather conditions. These brands are often associated with premium materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and timeless designs.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Designer of 1990s

The 1990s in New York City were a vibrant and transformative time for fashion. Designer clothing like Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, and Polo became iconic symbols of style and status. Tommy Hilfiger, in particular, was one of the most prominent brands during this era. The brand’s sportswear designs resonated with many, offering a blend of sophistication and streetwear appeal. Alongside Hilfiger, other brands like Nautica, Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and DKNY also gained popularity among fashion enthusiasts.

New York Fashion Trends: Starter Jackets (90s)

During the 1990s in New York City, Starter jackets became a cultural phenomenon and a symbol of status. Popularized by rappers and sports figures, these jackets were adorned with bold colors and a distinctive logo, making them a must-have item for teenagers and young adults.

The brand’s rise to prominence was further fueled by celebrity endorsements.  As their demand increased, so did incidents of theft and violence related to the jackets. Nonetheless, Starter jackets remain an iconic symbol of 1990s fashion and culture.

New York Fashion Trends: Crop Tops (90s)

During the 1990s in New York City, crop tops were a popular fashion trend among women. As part of the overall fashion revival from that era, crop tops have made a comeback in recent years. The 90s New York fashion trends, including flared jeans, chokers, hoop earrings, and overalls, are becoming popular again.

In the early part of the decade, women’s fashion embraced minimalism, with simple slip dresses and chunky boots being common. The crop top continued to feature heavily in pop culture throughout the 90s, with low-rise jeans often paired with “belly shirts.”

New York Fashion Trends: Disco Style Clothing (70s)

During the 1970s in New York City, disco style clothing became a significant part of the African American club scene. Disco fashion was born out of a desire for protest and liberation, providing a platform for self-expression and rebellion.

Disco clubs, like the infamous Studio 54, attracted both famous stars and unknowns, with their strict door policies allowing only the most exclusive and glamorous individuals to enter. However, as the 1980s approached, disco began to decline due to over-saturation and the emergence of the “Disco Sucks” movement.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: Military Style (90s)

During the 1980s and 1990s in New York City, black people embraced military-style clothing as part of their fashion identity. Combat boots like Doc Martens and bomber jackets became popular staples in their wardrobes, reflecting the influence of hip hop culture and the desire to project a tough and rebellious image. This style was heavily influenced by hip hop artists, groups, and icons who incorporated elements into their fashion choices.

New York Fashion Trends: Maxi Dresses (70s)

During the 1970s in New York City, maxi dresses became a popular fashion choice among women. These dresses were characterized by their flowing, feminine silhouettes, which were in line with the overall fashion trends of the era. Designers during this time experimented with new shapes and materials, resulting in bold colors, patterns, and unique design details like asymmetrical hemlines.

The influence of the hippie movement was also apparent in the popularity of natural fabrics for maxi dresses. Shift dresses were particularly favored during the summer months, and jewel-toned fabrics were trendy. Additionally, dresses that opened down the front were in fashion, allowing for easy wear and a fresh look. The maxi dress trend of the 1970s embodied the spirit of freedom and self-expression that defined the era.

New York Fashion Trends: Sweatsuits

In New York City, there has been a rise in the popularity of Nike Tech sweatsuits and Polo sweatsuits as streetwear fashion. These comfortable and stylish outfits have become a staple for those looking to blend fashion and function in their everyday attire.

The Nike Tech sweatsuits, known for their innovative Tech Fleece fabric, offer warmth and comfort while also providing a sleek and modern look. Similarly, Polo sweatsuits, with their classic and timeless design, have become a favorite among fashion enthusiasts. Both of these sweatsuits can be seen on the streets of New York City, worn by individuals who want to showcase their sense of style while staying comfortable throughout the day.

new york fashion trends

New York Fashion Trends: BB Simon Belts

BB Simon belts are a popular fashion accessory worn by many individuals in New York City. These belts are known for their unique and stylish designs, which make them stand out from other belt brands. Despite going out of style, BB Simon belts are still sought after and are shopped globally in some markets. This indicates the widespread popularity of these belts beyond just New York City.

New York Fashion Trends: UGG Boots

UGG boots are a versatile and stylish choice for various occasions and seasons, and are both for men and women to wear. The UGG footwear collection offers a wide range of options to suit different preferences and needs. From chukka to Chelsea, combat to sheepskin, and all-weather boots, there is something for everyone.

These boots are crafted using high-quality materials such as leather, suede, nubuck, and Twinface sheepskin, ensuring durability and comfort. Pairing these boots with jeans and a sweater or T-shirt creates a stylish and comfortable look.

New York Fashion Trends: Airbrushed and custom graffiti-prints (90s/2000s)

In the 1990s, airbrushed and custom graffiti-printed clothing became iconic fashion statements in New York City. Airbrushing, a technique that had been used for centuries, however, some artists began using airbrushing to design T-shirts.

In the 80s and 90s, a group of graffiti artists known as the Shirt Kings popularized this art form in hip-hop culture. Airbrushed T-shirts were commonly associated with county fairs and mall kiosks, and can be attributed to their unique and artistic designs that capture the spirit of the 90s and 2000s.

New York Fashion Trends: Punk Rocker (80s)

During the 1980s in New York City, many embraced the punk rocker style of clothing as a means of self-expression and rebellion. Punk fashion, which encompassed various elements such as unique hairstyles, bold cosmetics, and body modifications. The punk counterculture was characterized by its anti-establishment sentiment and stripped-down instrumentation, which resonated with many communities in New York City.

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