What are your thoughts on streetwear? Do you wear it? Have you ever worn it? Does it even qualify as wearable clothing in your opinion? When you think of streetwear, what comes to mind? Answers to questions like these will depend largely on your own level of interest and expertise with the subject, but here’s something that everybody can agree on — whether you like it or not, streetwear has made its way into the mainstream fashion industry, becoming ubiquitous across cities and towns across the globe.
What is streetwear?
Streetwear reflects a lifestyle. Streetwear brands tend to be lifestyle brands. It’s not only about what you wear—it’s about how you live, how you express yourself and your values. It’s about style over everything else and how that can be applied to your day-to-day life. In recent years, streetwear has become a global phenomenon, with many fashion magazines publishing daily articles on their favorite brands or features from high-profile collaborations between some of them (Nike x Supreme comes to mind).
What does it mean for you?
Streetwear is so much more than just an industry; it’s a culture. It’s people sharing common interests and beliefs, uniting around a shared belief of being true to themselves. Just like it doesn’t make sense to put someone who loves sports and collects baseball cards into an old man’s home, it doesn’t make sense to be isolated from other people who are different in age or background but share similar interests with you. So don’t be afraid to not fit in—embrace your uniqueness!
How did it start?
Although there’s disagreement about who exactly coined it, streetwear was first used in reference to brands in California and New York in early 1990s. By all accounts, though, skateboarding fashion was an early catalyst for casual wear companies to connect with youth culture (Vans, Hurley) and eventually music stars (Pharrell). For these companies, integrating themselves into skate culture allowed them to make a quick connection with millennials looking for something edgy and authentic. And when Supreme — a brand that started as a shop on Lafayette Street – burst onto mainstream media stages with its cultish appeal and well-dressed celebrity following; it became clear that not only did millennials respond to streetwear but they were willing to pay up for it too.
If you want to learn about a certain brand or specific item, ask people in your network who they’d recommend. Personal recommendations will always be your most accurate resource. Every time I need to buy new clothing, I ask around for someone who could make a good recommendation and then go from there. You’ll have way better results if you turn to professionals in your industry or community for advice. It helps you establish relationships with other professionals as well.