"They would transform your whole look into a superstar." -- -- Nas
The exciting story about how the street wear pioneers Shirt Kings created a style that would define hip hop culture in the 1980s and beyond.
Jamaica, Queens, New York in the mid 1980s. Rappers, celebrities and hip hop fans came from all over the city to get their own customized T-shirt by the Shirt Kings. The style traveled all over the world through record covers and music videos, and the Shirt Kings designs soon became synonymous with hip hop and the culture of making something out of nothing. Shirt Kings: Pioneers of Hip Hop Fashion looks at the early days of street wear through the lens of the pioneering group of artistic entrepreneurs known as the Shirt Kings. By adapting the graffiti skills from the trains and spray cans to shirts and airbrush they created a new look for a new generation. Edwin PHADE Sacasa is a founding artist of the group and it is through his archives that we are transported to the 1980s in New York City where the fashion was loud, colorful, and filled with cartoon imagery. But not just any cartoon imagery for the cartoons where urbanized. Mickey Mouse with a Fila suit, Casper the Friendly Ghost with gold teeth and Pink Panther with gold chains.
People from across the city made their way to Jamaica, Queens to a small shopping mall known as the Coliseum where you could easily bump into the biggest names in hip hop of the day. From DJ Red Alert to LL Cool J to Big Daddy Kane to Mike Tyson - they all had to have their Shirt Kings designs. Shirt Kings: Pioneers of Hip Hop Fashion chronicles the art, the styles, and the people who where loyal supporters of the Shirt Kings, and takes us on a trip down memory lane to when customization and art reigned supreme in New York City.
After the hardcover has been sold out for years, just in time for hip hop's 50th anniversary comes another chance to take part of the Shirt Kings' inspiring history as pioneers of hip hop and street wear in this beautiful soft cover edition.
"Shirt Kings brought the hip hop element into the clothes for real and integrated it, and it was the first time I saw hip hop culture completely merged with clothing." -- LL Cool J
"The Shirt Kings network was fashion TV of the times, and advertising and promotion way before it became trendy." -- Chuck D
"The Shirt Kings are pioneers of hip hop fashion." -- RZA
"Phade has been my go to guy since the eighties for all airbrush collabos!" -- Dapper Dan