Hip-hop culture is always something that has been analyzed and dissected. Unfortunately, it usually comes with appropriation from others who don’t know or care about the history of a certain style of dress. But a new documentary from Sacha Jenkins is aiming to educate while also providing an entertaining and informative background on the history of hip-hop dressing and the meaning of the word “fresh”.
“Fresh Dressed” traces the origins of the “fresh” style, singling out what it meant to be “fresh” in the 80s and 90s. The expansion of hip-hop culture beyond gangster rap, as well as the change of decade, led to a new style of clothing that focused on oversized looks including baggy jeans and tracksuits. This was also when designer label clothing became more accessible to the masses, with Polo Ralph Lauren clothing being notoriously sought after. Notable moments of being “fresh dressed” included matching your designer shoes to your tracksuit, creating an enviable one-color combination, or proudly sporting a brand name across the front of your shirt. The popularity of brand names spurred young entrepreneurs to create their own branded clothing, with labels like FUBU exploding onto the scene and quickly gaining infamy. What started as a way to express yourself soon became so much more – both a status marker and a source of pride.
This history of hip-hop clothing isn’t coming from a documentary filmmaker – it’s coming straight from the source. “Fresh Dressed” features interviews from Kanye West, Nas, Diddy, Pharrell Williams, Andre Leon Talley and more, who shared their own personal experiences in the pursuit of being fresh, from their youth to their present day. Moreover, the film also analyzes the other side of the game – not just the influence fashion had on hip-hop, but also the influence hip-hop has had on fashion. The evolution of hip-hop clothing from casual identifying street wear to a billion dollar industry has been a story waiting to be told – until now.