This “first comprehensive anthology of the marriage between hip-hop and luxury fashion” (The Cut) draws on exclusive interviews to tell the story of the hip-hop artists, designers, stylists, and unsung heroes who fought the power and reinvented style around the world over the last fifty years.

Fashion Killa is a classic tale of a modern renaissance; of an exclusionary industry gate-crashed by innovators; of impresarios—Sean “Diddy” Combs, Dapper Dan, Virgil Abloh—hoisting hip-hop from the streets to the stratosphere; of supernovas—Lil’ Kim, Cardi B, and Kimora Lee Simmons—allying with kingmakers—Anna Wintour, Donatella Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren; of traditionalist fashion houses—Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Saint Laurent—transformed into temples of rap gods.

Journalist Sowmya Krishnamurthy explores the connections between the DIY hip-hop scene and the exclusive upper-echelons of high fashion. She discusses the sociopolitical forces that defined fashion and tracks the influence of music and streetwear on the most exclusive (and exclusionary) luxury brands. “An essential book about US culture” (Booklist, starred review), Fashion Killa commemorates the contributions of hip-hop to music, fashion, and our society at large.

About the author(s)

Sowmya Krishnamurthy is a music journalist and pop culture expert. Her work has been featured in Time, Rolling Stone, ComplexXXLPlayboy, Highsnobiety, and NPR. She is a graduate of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and lives in New York City. Fashion Killa is her first book.


“A cogent study of hip-hop’s outsized influence on fashion trends…The link between hip-hop and high fashion is so tight that many consider them part of the same package. In this fast-paced, deeply researched history, Krishnamurthy chronicles how and why that deep bond continues today. … Exciting and exhaustive, this fun hip-hop history explains what your favorite rappers are wearing and why.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Readers are lucky that this brilliant, shining gem of a book exists…. Along with its many nuanced arguments and observations, the book is a stunning historical record of years, people, places, runway shows, brands, and evolutions that should be studied. An essential book about U.S. culture.”
Booklist (starred review)

“The first comprehensive anthology of the marriage between hip-hop and luxury fashion, mapping out well-examined evidence of the two entities being inextricably linked.”
—The Cut

“Krishnamurthy cements herself as a necessary historian for the culture.”
Paper Magazine

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