Streetwear has become one of the hottest trends in fashion. The edgy look can be seen in almost every corner of the world and each season, the trend just gains more popularity, proving that it definitely has staying power. While street style exploded in the fashion scene in 2017, it isn’t really a new phenomenon. It has actually been around for quite awhile.
The origins of streetwear started in the late 1970s, when punk rock and hip hop were just surfacing. The early brands took inspiration from the aesthetics of the punk, the hip hop scene and California style. With an anticulture vibe, the look featured a very edgy, laid-back style – a rebellion of sorts by the people and also a way to express culture and personal style.
Shawn Stussy is one of the names associated with the streetwear movement. The designer started manufacturing surfboards in California in the 1980s. Along with manufacturing surfboards, he also started printing logo t-shirts that became an instant hit. Seeing the potential of his new creation, he founded the Stussy label, which is now one of the most popular streetwear brands.
When the 1980s came, the style continued to gain more traction and brands like Nike, Adidas and Champion dominated the market with sneakers and clothing that were perfect for the urban fashionistas. The 1990s were a huge time for streetwear. This decade was when the street lifestyle became a global trend, hitting countries like Japan and South Korea. Over in the US, New York became one of the places that were greatly impacted by the streetwear trend. Being an area with rich culture, the locals related to the movement and just loved the laid-back look.
In 1994, Supreme opened their first ever store in Lafayette, New York. To catch the attention of the public and also to showcase the vibe of the brand, they set up an empty space in the middle of their store where people can skate. This bold marketing move perfectly showcased the spirit of the brand, making them quickly amass a huge following.
Over the decades, this genre of style evolved and continued to improve. While it started as a small movement, the style was soon embraced by the general public and spread over the globe. Eventually, streetwear found itself in the luxury market and became even bigger. In 2017, high-end labels like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and more have released collections inspired by street style.
After it has penetrated the luxury market, luxury streetwear became a status symbol for the younger generation. Targeting mostly Millennials and the Gen Z, high fashion houses tapped into the defining characteristics of streetwear and incorporated them into their once-traditional aesthetics.
image from Louis Vuitton
image from Gucci
This move further elevated designer brands, as they reached a new demographic. Taking on a more millennial approach - partnering with streetwear brands and adapting the street lifestyle - their sales and brand recognition have increased signficantly.
With Instagram as one of the defining mediums where streetwear style is consumed and with A-list young celebs and influencers leading the pack, there is no doubt that the trend is here to stay for the decades to come.