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Hip Hop Closet Hits the Runway Celebrating 50 Years of Hip Hop

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Hip Hop Closet hosted a fashion show on Saturday, October 28, 2023. The event celebrated 50 Years of Hip Hop at Brooklyn's own Porche Showroom.

A family-owned company operated by a brother and sister. Co-owner and founder Ky Kelly discovered a new way to make fashion speak and the crowd had no other choice but to listen. It was the most intelligent fashion show I had ever seen let alone walked in.

A collective effort GoodGirlPR, AllHipHop, and The Oracle Media all came together to pull this night off without a hitch. An event is only an event with organization, drive to make it happen, and good music that meshes the two.

It resembled a model’s dream, a drip of Hip Hop’s 80s and 90s conscience. Nostalgic pieces were set, a collage of throwback coats, stilettos, boots, hairstyles, and accessories that mirrored each level of cultural expression of its time. Fashion stylist Khaliah Clark put her own personal stamp on the looks straight hitting every fashion chord there was on the spectrum.

I personally was one of the folks selected to walk in the show and felt good about the entire experience. The good vibrations that the 70s, 80s and 90s babies are familiar with from that time were captured that night. The grit, grind, and sophisticated points collectively; pressed burnt orange colored triple fat goose, stressed bomber jacket, long fur armless coat, fresh construction boots, and dope accessories really made these fits pop.

A medley of must-haves layered each model as they walked back into the 80s and 90s capsules; while capturing the essence of what hip hop was and still is fifty years later. Not to mention a few pop-ups made it a “you missed it” event. The list included the Chocolate Boy Wonder, better known as Pete Rock the other half of Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Steele from Tek-N-Steele, Cocoa Brovaz better known as Smif-N-Wessun, and many other prominent figures in the industry

Credit @edubbs_digital Photography

There was no need to inquire knowing that all of the looks told a story beyond what the guests could touch, hint, receive, and observe all at once; eclectic style lovers could easily bare their souls into the “ambiance” and the show definitely ate leaving no crumbs behind.

What Hip Hop Closet poured into their guests was authentic; Hip Hop Closet’s true celebration; Porches' classy feel took you on a journey during a time that many are trying to duplicate if not imitate on all social media platforms to date. Back when everything was fun, innocent, and playful. The music that bred a generation of Hip Hop heads for life is instilled in us and now our children! With some never leaving the house now in the course of an ever-changing planet, art is still fashion and fashion is still art and will continue to move us in different directions.

There were pitfalls and splendors of hip-hop that pondered and fashion helped to sustain the culture; where do we go from here? The 80s and 90s are in the past and this fashion show proved that Hip Hop will continue to evolve. Furthermore, the night was another one for the books and Ky Kelly left us with great recollections of what we can purchase when we ALL make our Hip Hop Closet appointments.

Credit @edubbs_digital Photography

The one thing that I remember most as a child is shopping at Delancy Street for winter coats. We always left feeling good with our purchase, but it was never as personal and intimate as this one is. Quite a treat to make an appointment at the Hip Hop Closet and be styled and fitted to recreate great looks that are customized for you – and probably one of a kind. Very few stores do this nowadays, especially in Brooklyn. Ky Kelly taps in with her clients and adds three dimensions to an everyday look.

Your look will become a conversation piece the moment you wear it. This gets me hyped, especially with my themed song M.O.P "How about some hardcore..." comes on and the ice cream truck rolls by in the summer hit differently in the right outfit; envision yourself rocking the assorted sheepskin coats, furs, and shearlings in the winter.

Located in the heart of Clinton Hill, this is certainly a reflective wonderland; the colors and unique pieces I observed at the fashion show and what I wore had guests in awe all around me. It was a gumbo of how fashion, attitude, and influences can be infused together without falling apart. The music was official; by DJ TBoogie. He matched the energy in the room and that really took us back, way back! Back in time. This created exactly what they came to do.

Photo By Subject DJ TBoogie with Pete Rock

It is safe to say that the night was electric with vitality and a pulse. Now That’s fashion! An Installation of Ms. Ky Kelly's incredible perception that came to life right before our eyes!

Hip Hop Closets clothing is playful, seemingly assorted, and slightly rebellious – anything can be an inspiration and Ky captures a certain trend sensibility and piques your interest. My experience was intense as I couldn’t stop looking around and creating narratives of her and Khalia's work being exactly what we needed in our lives; what an exceptional ability to highlight fifty years of hip hop in one night– which is daring, unpredictable, and what seemed idle was the total opposite.

We never thought that those times would ever disappear, but our gear is as popular as it was back then. They shared an eye not only for beauty or spectacle but explained for those who do not quite understand. This clearly invokes the reminiscences, the longing for us to go back to the hood when it was neighborly. It’s different now, and the experience of looking at and firing up with models before we hit the stage together was epic. Folks who came out in their designated looks literally worked it all the way to the very end. As their eyes moved across the room it visibly showed their need to represent and that they did.

Imagine a picture hanging on your wall, it captures Brooklyn at its finest in the 80s. You lose yourself with the screech of a bus pulling over for pick up, children playing, and a large push of water exiting the Johnny pump right outside of your family-owned brownstone. Your eyes are now closed, while your face is sun-kissed. Your reaction to these anonymous sprinkles of water on your face, while the kids are playing, is one of many mental awakenings; your facial expression denotes interest, curiosity, and fun.

Night falls, as though the rest of the universe is still coming up for air, your eyes open only to focus on the sensation of color, touch, popular hip-hop songs, booming car systems, and sound. Your ear pinned and fingers ready to tape WBLS’s rap attack on a Saturday night. You give yourself a moment to be in touch with the beginning and how it all started. You grab your outfit for tomorrow. It comes naturally because you were there!

Your next move infects those who will come after you and your generation and heightens their cultural perceptions. I meditated back to when I was twelve, first entering Junior high school as I playfully walked the runway. I had no idea that we would ever end up here. What a time we had. Thank you, Hip Hop Closet, for gifting me with these sweet memories. I will be calling you to make my appointment. I can't wait!

About the Writer

Nicole S. Norton-Evans is the Editor-in-chief for @Nowprmagazine.

Nicole was born and raised in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn. She lives with her family and graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism and communications from Long Island University.

She is on the Intergenerational Council at BRIC Media and the curator for the Now PR Magazine Writers Expo in Brooklyn, New York 2024.

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