Urban fashion is style born of the street. A ruffian look that emerges from neighborhoods as opposed to fashion dictated by designers and Wall Street. Media and garment associations often merge hip hop and urban fashion partly because they share this same beginning.
Urban fashion made a strong impact during the 1980's and into the early 90's. Street-inspired fashion known as "grunge" was born in Seattle and rocketed into mainstream via Kurt Colbain and other musical icons. This look, known for it's worn-out and grime-ridden appearance, officially mainstreamed when design great Mark Jacobs previewed his now infamous "grunge line."
Fashion is usually conceived by designers. Styles then filter downward to the people through channels of marketing and distribution. Through a trickle down effect fashions takes hold. Urban wear originates on the street. First worn by people and then copied by designers who interpret looks redelivering them to the people through marketing and distribution points.
The appeal of urban fashion including hip hop style is that it moves in the opposite direction of traditional fashion and often becomes a source of pride to the community or segment of the population who developed the look.
You pull off urban fashion well when you reflect the tempo and feel of the moment. The goal is to create a blend of fashion and style that expresses the mood of the day. For inspiration check out the rags on local musicians, regional sport stars and street kids in the trendy districts of your city. It is a movement of individuality not mass acceptance so always strive to be authentic to yourself.
A perception exists that grunge emerged in the early 1990s. However, according to Michael Lavine, who compiled a photographic documentary of the grunge scene, the '90s was the end. He states that was "when Seattle's best cultural brew was watered down, piped out to the masses and sold at a steep profit." Like any movement from the street, once it is mainstreamed, it has ended.