Posted on: May 18, 2022 Posted by: Ariel Tattum Comments: 0

Ah, the 1990s. The decade that brought us Google, Tickle Me Elmo, Playstation, Spanx, and the beloved Tamagotchi. It was the height of the pager, cult classic films like Clueless and B.A.P.S. — back when MTV still played music videos. It was an era of culture and, though some of it was questionable at best (read: stirrup leggings), the fashion of the era brought some styles to remember.

Back then, our fashion inspiration came from whatever 11×16” poster came in the current issue of J14 magazine. Hip-hop dominated the charts, with artists like TLC, Wu-Tang Clan, Aaliyah, Snoop Dogg, and Lil’ Kim cementing themselves into the mainstream. Hip-hop not only influenced music and trickled down into street style fashion, it trickled back up into mainstream and high fashion.

Hip-hop was (and still is) emblematic of the socio-economic struggle of Black and brown folks who documented their experiences of racism, sexism, and classism through music. The fashion and street style that followed served as a visual outlet for this creative experimentation. Many of the trending looks we see in 2022 are a direct result of the ‘90s streetwear and hip-hop brands that pioneered these styles.

With the current fashion zeitgeist being one of nostalgia, many of these brands are coming back into the lime light. Ahead, take a look at some of the ‘90s streetwear brands that impacted a generation — and deserve another starring role in your wardrobe.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

1

Timberlands

No, I’m not talking about the rapper (though that is where he gets his name). The work boots could take any ‘90s ‘fit straight from the 9-5 to the club, bringing both comfort and style.

2

FUBU

FUBU (for us, by us), gained immense popularity among rappers, even getting a subliminal nod from LL Cool J in a commercial for Gap in 1999.

3

Nike

The Nike Air Max, which dropped in 1990, became a go-to style for streetwear. With its new colorways that capture the playfulness of the decade, this style remains a staple.

4

Stüssy

Stüssy is officially cool again, but back in the day, the brand was a fixture in every music video.

5

Converse

Converse, which was a go-to ‘90s sneaker brand, blended two ‘90s classics with these babies: the platform shoe and the famous Chuck Taylor high-top.

6

Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger cemented itself in ‘90s streetwear history with celebs like Aaliyah, TLC, and Destiny’s Child bringing the all-Americana aesthetic to the forefront of hip-hop style. Aaliyah starred in the 1996 advertisement for the brand, redefining the company’s relationship with hip-hop.

7

Adidas

Run-D.M.C. made this famed shoe brand a staple of streetwear with their song “My Adidas”, which was originally released in 1986. By the ‘90s, the brand was a go-to for hip-hop creators and fans alike.

8

Karl Kani

Karl Kani was a staple for the most stylish artists in the game, worn by hip-hop icons like Biggie, Tupac, and recently Coi Leray.

9

Levi’s

Like today, ‘90s Levi’s were a staple in fashion across all subcultures. This was the beginning of the mom jean we know and love, with a slouchy fit and a high-rise cut.

10

United Colors of Benetton

United Colors of Benetton was known for its inclusive and boundary-pushing advertisements at a time when fashion was playing by the rules of exclusivity.

11

Reebok

What’s more ‘90s than sportswear? Reebok has mastered this market with its modern athleisure collaborations, like their Cardi B collab.

12

Kangol

Once LL Cool J wore a Kangol hat on his 1985 album Radio, it started a trend that lasted the next decade. His signature aesthetic included tracksuits with a matching Kangol hat, so that’s what the b-boys and b-girls emulated.

13

Guess

Every ‘90s it-girl had a pair of Guess jeans in her closet. Even 30 years later, the brand stays turning out sick styles.

14

Supreme

Founded in 1994, Supreme has been a mainstay of streetwear, becoming a staple of hypebeast culture. The brand has collaborated with huge names in luxury fashion as well, including Tiffany, Burberry, and Comme des Garçons.

15

Vans

While the iconic lyrics of The Pack saying “got my Vans on but they look like sneakers” wouldn’t hit the airways until 2006, the skateboard brand was synonymous with streetwear from the outset.

16

Clarks

Wu-Tang clan, Drake, MF Doom, and countless other icons swear by Clarks Wallabees. While the shoes themselves aren’t outlandishly stylish compared to their sneaker counterparts, they have been forever labeled a streetwear classic. Multiple songs have mentioned their impact, including Vybz Kartel’s “Clarks”.

17

Walker Wear

April Walker, founder of Walker Wear, launched her brand in 1991 and worked with some of the top names in R&B and hip-hop, such as Biggie, Aaliyah, Tupac, Run-DMC, Naughty By Nature, and Snoop Dogg.

18

Puma

One of the best inventions to come out of the ‘90s (aside from the internet) was athleisure. Wearing functional clothing as fashion? Groundbreaking. Even then, Puma was one of the leading athletic brands.

19

Cross Colours

Cross Colours marketed itself as “clothing without prejudice” and gained immense popularity throughout the ‘90s, especially after making an appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The brand was revived in 2019, and even set up shop at New York City’s Nordstrom flagship in 2021.

20

Wu Wear

The official brand of Wu-Tang clan was the brainchild of the group’s producer, Oliver “Power” Grant, coming out in 1995. Wu Wear was the first hip-hop brand to be seen in the infamous window displays of Macy’s in New York City’s Herald Square. While the brand faced some troubles in 2008, it has come back in a big way, collaborating with Nike and even Fortnite.

https://www.bustle.com/style/90s-streetwear-hip-hop-brands