FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200 FREE SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS OVER €200
 
STYLE LEGACY

WU-TANG CLAN

To celebrate their upcoming collaboration with Clarks Originals, and 25 years of their debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), we delve deep into the style legacy of the legendary East Coast collective to find out how they redefined hip-hop style forever.

 

Illustrations by Rupert Smissen | Words by Goodhood Creative

Wu Tang Clan and Clarks Wallabees

Think of the ‘90s and you’re bound to think of the Wu-Tang Clan. The group came to rule the decade, stealing the limelight from the then-dominant West Coast scene. And they defined an era of hip-hop that featured crate-digger sampling, pop-culture referencing, and a never-before-seen reverence for good apparel. Wu-Tang changed the game in many respects, but they also changed the way rappers utilised style as part of their identity and they were arguably flag-bearers of the sort of product placement you see on every celebrity today, regardless of how close to the A-list they may sit.

Wu-Tang Clan were one of the first hip-hop collectives to actually care about labels and with a back catalogue of tracks that both precisely and meticulously reference numerous aspects of pop culture, the fashion world was continually touched upon. Whilst dissecting a two-and-a-half decade’s worth of pure steez is nigh on impossible, here we explore some of the fundamental aspects to the Clan’s look. 

CLARKS, WALLABEES

Wu-Tang held the Wallabee in high esteem but from the outset, it was always Ghostface Killah that was a figurehead for the silhouette. Such was Ghostface’s love for the shoe that he went on to release a compilation of b-sides and remixes titled The Wallabee Champ, as well as appearing on the cover of his 1996 album Ironman, alongside Raekwon and Cappadonna holding a selection of two-tone custom Wu-Wear collab Wallabees. But it wasn't just Ghostface, the shoe appears again on Raekwon's 1995 solo album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., rapped about on the track Incarcerated Scarfaces.“You’ll feel the free spirit of the gull in every step you take in WALLABEES…” ran early American print adverts for the iconic silhouette. “…The combination of moccasin construction and thick crepe soles make WALLABEES one of the most comfortable shoes in the world.” Clark’s signature crepe-soled moccasin had a history stretching back to the late ‘60s, originally being named The Grasshopper, and had grown in popularity in both Europe and America over the years to form a solid part of the Clarks Originals line. But the shoe found unlikely fame in a handful of circles the world over, Jamaica’s roots reggae Rockers being one. With such popularity, the shoe inevitably leaked into the style book of East Coast hip-hop’s growing stars, but nowhere was this championed more than by the Wu-Tang Clan.To celebrate 25 years of the group’s debut, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Clarks Originals have teamed up with Wu Wear on a capsule collection of Wallabees in three exclusive colourways, with custom Wu Wear detailing.

CHAMPION, OVERSIZED

The notion of East Coast rappers wearing massively oversized clothing was distinctly anti-fashion, and this sense of rebellion underpinned the trend we readily associate with the genre. Prevailing mainstream style in the ‘90s tended towards wearing fitted attire but hip-hop, being much more part of the underground and wanting to maintain its own identity, opted for the opposite. Rappers and hip-hop kids alike began buying clothes in bigger sizes to eschew the prevailing mainstream trend. Brands that were aligned with the community soon began to cotton on and started producing deliberately baggy and oversized apparel in order to greater appeal to their burgeoning hip-hop fanbase.One of a number of brands Wu-Tang adorned in all its oversized glory was Champion. Already an American staple, having been founded in 1919 as the ‘Knickerbocker Knitting Company’, the brand was somewhat a mainstay amongst blue-collar workers wanting durable work attire and college athletes wanting apparel suitable for the cold. But in the ‘90s specifically, Champion was the king amongst all subcultures and communities, from the average college jocks to the hardcore punk scene. In that respect, it’s unsurprising that the brand made significant in-roads into the hip-hop scene, albeit in a more oversized manner than most others. Across numerous Wu-Tang photoshoots, both solo and group, the signature embroidered ‘C’ can be spotted. And on 7th Chamber from the group’s debut, Raekwon infamously spits “Champion gear that I rock, you get your boots knocked / Then attack you like a pit that lock shit down”. In essence, Champion had been with the Clan right from the start. Good thing the Reverse Weave doesn’t shrink…

To enrich