Streetwear has outgrown its humble beginnings to become a powerful force in fashion, capturing the essence of urban culture and expression. Unique, in that the style was born from the public and its various subcultures and not dictated from a top-down model by international fashion houses.
Streetwear is more than simply clothes – it’s a statement and a lifestyle. But what exactly is streetwear? At its core, streetwear is a style of casual clothing that originated in the skateboard and surf cultures of Southern California and New York’s hip-hop culture in the late 1970s.
Characterized by a comfortable yet stylish aesthetic, drawing inspiration from various subcultures and art forms, streetwear has turned the fashion world on its head.
The Evolution of Streetwear
Over the years, streetwear has evolved from a niche subculture to a mainstream fashion phenomenon, influencing runways and wardrobes in equal measure. Its success lies in its ability to blend unpretentious comfort with a distinctive sense of style, making it accessible to a broad audience, which has proliferated through the use of social media channels and blogs.
Notable Pieces Redefining Fashion
Hailing from the utilitarian world of outdoor pursuits, puffer jackets or bubble coats have morphed into statement pieces in any discerning streetwear wardrobe. Using a range of modern tech materials and eye-catching branding they’re a fall/winter essential.
Graphic tees have become iconic for their bold graphics and logos, and they often serve as a canvas for individual expression. There’s no end to what can be expressed on a graphic tee print and also where the graphic can be displayed on the garment.
Originating in the 1930s for warehouse workers in the cold of New York, hoodies are a streetwear staple providing both comfort and style. They’re versatile in how they can be easily paired with various looks and dressed up or down depending on the occasion.
Sneakers are a fashion subculture unto themselves that has risen from the streetwear realm. The marriage of comfort and high fashion can be seen in various collaborations between streetwear brands and luxury labels that help to consistently redefine sneaker culture.
Simple yet effective in making a statement and often emblazoned with a unique logo, Dad hats are evolutions of the traditional baseball caps that have been kept at the forefront of streetwear by influencers like Travis Scott and Kanye West. Often constructed from aged cotton/canvas, the five or six panel headpieces reflect a casual, laid-back vibe.
Streetwear’s Impact on Urban Fashion
Streetwear continues to make an indelible mark on urban fashion, defining the aesthetic of youth cultures around the world, each with their own innovative take on the trend.
Streetwear embraces diversity, making it an accessible form of fashion to people from all walks of life. Its influence extends beyond traditional fashion boundaries.
- Blurring High and Low Fashion
Although starting from humble origins, streetwear brands have begun to champion collaborations with high-end designers in a partnership that serves both parties well. This blurs the lines between luxury and everyday wear and aids in the democratization of fashion – where a graphic tee can share the stage with a tailored suit.
- Youth Culture Influence
Uniquely, streetwear often originates from youth subcultures, shaping the fashion landscape. Brands tapping into the pulse of the youth contribute to the constant evolution of urban fashion.
The rise of streetwear in urban fashion represents a paradigm shift in the industry – from top-down older generations dictating the next trend to a youth-oriented grass roots movement in fashion. It’s not just about what you wear, it’s a cultural movement, a reflection of the vibrant energy of the streets. As streetwear continues to redefine fashion norms, it’s clear that its impact on urban fashion is not just a trend but a lasting transformation.