How FUBU Shaped the Fashion of the 90s

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One of the many things I love about Fashion is that you can always tell an era just by looking at what people were wearing. If you were born in the 1980s, you can tell that a photo was taken in that time period by way of designer logos like “FUBU ” on an all-denim outfit, and of course, the jeans were a lot baggier back then.

Today, we will be going back in time for just a bit, to look at FUBU Shaped the Fashion of the 90s.

To make this more digestible for my readers, we will be looking at giving an introduction to FUBU and The FUBU aesthetics.

Introducing the FUBU Era

It all started on a 40-degree day, March 24, 1989, a then 20-year-old Daymond John hit the streets in Queens with his first batch of handmade, tie-top, wool beanies. At the same time, he had a regular job to pay the bills at Red Lobster as he was a major breadwinner for his family.  

How FUBU Shaped the Fashion of the 90s

How FUBU Shaped the Fashion of the 90s

By the end of the day, he had sold out of the hats and turned an $800 USD profit. He knew he was on to something – although he didn’t exactly have the capital to immediately capitalise on the momentum he had seemingly conjured out of thin air. 

“First it started with Brand Nubian in one of their videos, then Ol’ Dirty Bastard wore it in a Mariah Carey video, then Busta Rhymes wore it in one of his videos, and LL Cool J decided to wear FUBU on the “Hey Lover” video with Boyz II Men. Our product was front and center on the biggest and most influential personalities for our core consumers.”

As legend has it, John also used a bit of guerilla marketing in his attempt at reaching the top. “One of the most well-known hits we had with LL was during a Gap commercial,” John remembers.

“He was wearing a pair of Gap jeans and a Gap shirt, but he was somehow able to sport one of our hats during the commercial. Then during his thirty-second freestyle rap, he looks directly into the camera and says, ‘For Us, By Us, on the low.’ 

How FUBU Shaped the Fashion of the 90s

The thing that made the FUBU Brand so popular, was the whole “Fear of Missing out “ aspect coupled with strategic partnering and marketing. There were rappers like LL Cool J who were just starting to get recognition and once he wore the looks, everyone else was curious to know what this brand was and how they can also be a part of it. It of course helped that it was owned by a Black man who was on the “come up” and they could support him and become a part of history.

What Is the FUBU Look?

The brand’s tagline is “Contemporary Sportswear” which back then would be the equivalent of “Atleisure with Swag”. It was a fun, hip and easy going look that was heavy on the denim and a beanie hat. It was one of the first urban brands to be logo-heavy and FUBU was always front-facing.  

Other pieces like puffer vests, pull over sweaters and jerseys were key pieces of the FUBU aesthetics which were styled together for a monochromatic look or paired with denim or sweats. 


Founded in 1992 by Daymond John, J. Alexander Martin, Keith Perrin, and Carlton Brown, the brand started small with a line of hats made in John’s house in Hollis, Queens, New York, but grew into a cultural phenomenon.

The FUBU look inspired the Fashion of the 90s which was popular in the Hip Hip Industry on artistes Like LL Cool J, just to name a few. Because of this influence, the aesthetics have transpired into this generation and is deemed as the Y2K aesthetics and is worn by Millennials and Gen Z alike.

Let us know if you wore FUBU when it was popular and if it has influenced your style today.

How FUBU Shaped the Fashion of the 90s

Written By:

Lorane Rhoden


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Haute People was launched in September 2011 as a Fashion Blog and has grown into a Lifestyle Blog. The Term “Haute” can be defined as “Fashionably Elegant” or of High Quality. This blog looks at topics from Beauty, Fashion, Entertainment, Hair Trends, Pop Culture as well as exciting new features every month. A favorite among our readers is “Behind The Seams” where influential people from the Creative Industries are featured. . Haute People are Smart, Bold, Creative and Individualistic. If you have an innate passion for Lifestyle, Fashion and all things current, you are HAUTE.

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