If you were a black kid growing up in the ’90s, you watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and idolized Will Smith. If you were a white kid growing up in the ’90s, you watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and idolized Carlton Banks. The impact that Fresh Prince had on youth culture was palpable then and now we can collectively prostrate at its feet for paving the way for a reverberating effect on fashion to this day that spans exponentially further than the distance between West Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Will’s whole aura was subversive, while Carlton and Uncle Phil were hyper-establishment. These juxtaposed identities created a dichotomous dialogue—one that would likely get run out of the gym today—about what it truly means to be “black” in this country, but it was all in the name of growth and shifting the majority ideology of what black people are or who they could never become. One extreme part of that conversation is Will’s unabashed approach to style, one that you didn’t typically see from black men on mainstream television. You wouldn’t get much of an argument if you stated that Smith introduced the average American household to hip-hop culture and what it truly represents ( thought you may be able to make a case for A Different World’s Dwayne Wayne). The cast of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, led by Smith, showcased the eclectic aesthetic that encompassed this new style—especially in how it clashed with the preppy vibes native to upper-crust Bel-Air.

It should come as no shock that, as one of—if not the millennial generation’s first—real black style influence that normalized hip-hop culture (and its sub-genre, streetwear) that so many of the trends he played a pivotal role in introducing while on the show are still in play today. As the show celebrates its 30th anniversary, we take a look at the show's game-changing fashion influence—on that's still felt long after the final season wrapped.

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