Hip-Hop street fashion, identity, and cross-Cultural appropriation in the Asian diaspora

Eric Ing


Hip hop fashion originates from black American youths in the 1990s. The style of clothing has replicated and evolved from street fashion in inner cities where ethnic American blacks are the majority, to suburbs where the white middle-class predominates. On a world scale, these fashions are evident not only in Asian-American and Asian- Canadian communities, but also on the streets of Japan, Korea, China, and other industrialized economies.  This paper examines whether (i) Asian-Americans and Asian-Canadians serve as a bridge to Asians, or (ii) Asians are adopting fashion trends directly.Ties run deep between the fashion styles in which a diasporic community dresses, and the hybrid identity in which they affiliate.  This pattern of behaviour can be framed as cross-appropriation in the disclosing of new worlds.  Contextual backgrounds are first provided on (i) clothing as a tool for identity, (ii) the origins of hip-hop fashion, and (iii) the origins of North America's diasporic Asian community.  The phenomenon of hip-hop street fashion in the Asian diaspora is then described.  Theories on identity and cross-cultural appropriation are outlined.  Potential trends in the future are then projected.


asian, diaspora hip hop, north america, chinese, vietnamese, korean, cambodian, fashion, street,

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