Streetwear is back on the map again, thanks to the functional, cargo-influenced military-meets-bike-messenger look infecting everything from Old Navy to Miu Miu. But where do the city’s hip-hoppers and D.J.’s look for inspiration? Roy Dank, a resident D.J. at Physics, New York’s newest, coolest drum-’n’-bass party, loves NoHo emporiums like Nylon Squid (222 Lafayette Street; 334-6554) that carry young British designers like YMC and shoes by Tsubo, which Dank describes as “Clarks gone futuristic.” He’s also devoted to Union (172 Spring Street; 226-8493), where his fave item is a “hooded coat by Ouef,” and Nova USA (100 Stanton Street; 228-6844), for “really great, comfortable pants” to D.J. in.
As the only female member of the very stylish Busta Rhymes’s Flipmode Squad, rapper Rah Digga likes to strike a balance between hip-hop’s designer obsessions and streetwear cred. “When I want to get a jiggy outfit,” she says, “I go over to Mony 250 West 125th Street; 665-2606. They’ve got all the dope stuff from Iceberg. Their Brooklyn store 948 Flatbush Avenue; 718-282-9525 is more for everyday stuff. I go there to get the ‘hustler bunny’ look.”
Innovative hip-hop producer Prince Paul, whose recent project Prince Among Thieves is the genre’s first-ever “hip-hopera,” avoids trendy lines at all costs. “They all come in these huge sizes, like XXXXL,” he complains. Instead, Paul shops at Levi’s (3 East 57th Street; 838-2188), because “their clothes, unlike a lot of the stuff from hip-hop labels, don’t date that easily.” When the B-boy bug bites, Paul’s favorite spot for streetwear is the Busy Bee Flea Market (Sunrise Highway, Massapequa). “I usually go there before the summer starts to grab a bunch of Boss shorts,” Paul explains. “But you gotta be careful with what you buy – sometimes you’ll come home and look at a jacket you bought and the tag will say GENUINE LEETHER.”