While grime fashion has adapted itself over the years, the real staples still shine through. Nike are still providing grime grime fashion artists with their chosen footwear, while New Era caps and Puma tracksuits are still as popular as ever. Here are our picks of the top statement wardrobe pieces worn by UK grime artists over the years.
Nowadays grime fashion artists have slightly adapted how they dress. Krept and Konan wear BAPE, Boy Better Know have their own clothing line and even Gucci is slowly become a grime fashion and culture staple. Yet still the original pieces that were worn back when Dizzee Rascal first surfaced are worn now and many are defiant that these are the holy grail of grime fashion.
Fast-forward to the early 2000s, England: the birth of UK grime fashion music, and tracksuits took hold once again. First emerging from the tower blocks of London’s East End, grime developed from the early British electronic, garage and jungle style and then slowly started to integrate elements of ragga and dancehall.
grime fashion originates from black culture and is a form of complete self expression. Made in the streets, for the streets, it emanated out of a desire and need for the young marginalised black community to speak about their experiences. A quintessential component within grime fashion music is the strong jab it makes towards the British class system and its inherent injustice towards the less privileged citizens of the UK. This is why grime fashion has a reputation as being fairly aggressive and political (check out ‘Question Time’ by Dave from his latest album Game Over)—but also what led to its undoubted success. Grime swept over Great Britain faster than a rain shower on an October afternoon and then further amassed millions of followers worldwide. The demographic that it attracts ranges from children as young as 10 to adults in their mid 30s—a target market for sportswear brands.
grime fashion has always been a genre so sure of its internal vision that it only made sense for it to be seen (quite literally) in a specific way too. On Skepta’s ‘Man’, the grime pioneer declares he’s “dressed like [he’s] just come from P.E”—a reference to the British schooling gym class where practically all the students wear tracksuits and t-shirts. Hailing from Tottenham, North London, the artist (real name Joseph Junior Adenuga) is one of the most revered and critically-acclaimed names in the genre, recognised for hit singles ‘That’s Not Me’ and ‘No Security’ and winner of two MOBO’s, one BET, one NME Award and counting. Skepta is one of the main trail-blazers in terms of merging grime into mainstream culture so when he dubbed his all-male crew the “tracksuit mafia”, he asserted a grime fashion identity that people actually took notice of; a whole wave of the genre’s young artists started sporting their new unofficial uniform.