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The rising influence of rappers walking the runway

The Rising influence of rappers walking the runway

While fashion’s relationship with hip-hop and rap first began in the 1980s, over the last decade the industry has developed closer relationships within the hip-hop community than ever before. As a result, rappers have become powerful brand ambassadors, and have a strong influence on consumer purchases.

Frank Ocean (who features on A$AP Rocky’s “RAF” track) and Kendrick Lamar have both fronted Calvin Klein campaigns. Travis Scott has worked with Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang, while A$AP Rocky has collaborated with J.W. Anderson on a capsule collection and appeared in Dior Homme campaigns.

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Pharrell has walked the runway for numerous Chanel’s Métiers d’Art shows and is now a co-owner of G-Star Raw, along with his own Billionaire Boys Club label, while Kanye West’s Yeezy collaboration is one of the most in-demand shoe brands in the world.

Drake dropped his “Signs” single in collaboration with Louis Vuitton at the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 menswear show and caused a 104 percent spike in searches for Moncler’s Maya Red puffa jacket with his 2015 hit “Hotline Bling,” which has now been viewed 1.2 billion times on YouTube.

To discover which rappers currently wield the greatest influence on fashion, BoF assessed editorial covers, campaigns and collaborations to shortlist 20 rappers, before using Lyst data to gauge their influence on consumers, measured through product searches driven by their music videos and consumer search traffic to their brands and collaborations.

Unsurprisingly, Kanye West secures the number one spot, though not by a significant margin. Pharrell, one of a handful of male Chanel ambassadors, a major Adidas collaborator and now the part owner of G-Star Raw follows in third place, just behind Nicki Minaj.

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Indeed, female rappers are also creating significant media value through social media.

Minaj’s social posts, and 83 million Instagram following (more than double Drake’s 37 million and eight times Pharrell’s 10 million), created more than $14 million in earned media value for brands including Chanel, Gucci and Versace, according to Tribe Dynamics. However, Minaj has yet to effectively impact the fashion industry with her own line. Her line with K Mart was shuttered this year, reportedly due to dwindling sales.

Likewise, newcomer Cardi B ranks in fourth place in our ranking of influential rappers.

Despite having no collaborations or campaigns under belt, she has created an estimated $4.5 million media value in 2017 to date, and the massive 217 percent spike in searches for Christian Louboutin shoes since June is attributed to her “red bottoms, bloody shoes” hit “Bodak Yellow.”