COVER STORY | There was something special about 1990s fashion. I couldn’t afford a lot of what I wanted back then but I definitely knew what it was. In Chicago, the 90s were filled with Sean John outfits, Iceberg sweats, Davoucci Jackets and a whole bunch of other stuff out of my price range. Don’t forget, Michael Jordan was number one at this time, so all the new Jordan releases were actually new and were greeted with as much vigor as the hype beasts and collectors give them today. Basically, this was a good time for fashion if you could afford it. But I’m not here to opine over my childhood and how I couldn’t afford the clothes, jackets, etc. I wanted as a kid. Instead, let’s look at some of the top brands from the era and what made them so great.
FUBU: The brand was founded in 1992 in New York and initially was only a collection of hats. Eventually, this grew into a complete line that included sports and casual clothing. The name FUBU was an acronym for For Us By Us, according to the website this stands for clothing produced by consumers for consumers, but we know it was a nod back to its ownership being African-American and targeting their products to the same demographic. With a wide range of clothing choices and some affordable pieces, FUBU became a household name and was really big throughout the 1990s with cosigns from LL Cool J and others.
COOGI: A colorful brand known mostly for its unique sweaters, COOGI was very big in the 90s. Unlike many of the brands featured on this list, COOGI didn’t originate in the United States. Instead it was created in Australia and was eventually popularized through word of mouth until it was one of the most popular brands in the US. Everyone should remember the Notorious BIG “One More Chance” lyrics “Heartthrob never, black and ugly as ever/ However, I stay COOGI down to the socks”. Drops like from Biggie and several other hip-hop artists showed how popular the brand had become.
Pelle Pelle: Created in Detroit, Michigan, Pelle Pelle became one of the biggest brands throughout the 90s. Although they were known best for their fashionable leather coats and jackets, they expanded into a other types of clothing including shirts, hats and plenty more. Their integration of hip-hop artists into their marketing and promotion was revolutionary and part of the reason for their continued success.
Phat Farm/Baby Phat: Created in 1992 Phat Farm was a major player in 90s fashion. Founded by Russell Simmons, a staple in hip-hop since the 80s, Phat Farm integrated fashion into the hip-hop like not many companies were able to do before and have not been able to do since. With his connections to Def Jam artists, Russell Simmons had a seemingly endless supply of brand ambassadors. The brand eventually grew into Phat Fashion where they introduced Baby Phat, the women’s brand, which also included perfumes and jewelry with Kimora Lee Simmons at the helm. You would’ve found it difficult not to catch someone wearing the brand during that era.
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