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Hypebeast defines streetwear as “fashionable, casual clothes.” Hip hop fashion of New York, Californian surf skate culture, and the futuristic culture in japan gave birth to what we call streetwear today. This significant movement has been evolving since the 1970s and is a merge of many subcultural influences. Streetwear finds its inspiration in pop culture and stems from comfortable clothing. Understanding what streetwear means is essential to creating a classic style that strays away from the norm. This industry gives a voice to its creators to express a lifestyle suitable for everyone.
In the US, designers like Shawn Stüssy and James Jebbia introduced streetwear. In contrast, designers like Hiroshi Fujiwara, also known as “ the godfather of Harajuku,” acted as a crucial connection between japan and the west in the early 80s.
No one does it like Stüssy.
Stüssy was a small surfboard company that began printing logo t-shirts and selling scribbled skateboards. Their clothes contrasted with the typical surf wear advertised at the time; Stüssy’s garments were dark and had a vintage look. These clothes resonated with a particular clique that perfectly described the Californian lifestyle. After all, what could describe California better than the integration of other cultures? With large-sized hoodies and t-shirts, and huge sneakers, this trend usually includes graphic logos and animations, with a youthful influence.
Stüssy remains an extraordinary and innovative brand because of its community-based nature, one of the most famous brands, keeping with the designers laidback and free-spirited identity.
More recently, “To commemorate its 40th anniversary, Stüssy has collaborated with CDG by Comme des Garçons on an exclusive capsule collection of accessible wardrobe staples. The range features a co-branded green satin nylon military MA1 jacket, midweight Bing pinstripe jacket and matching Beach pants, logo-focused graphic t-shirts, and a heavy cotton tote bag and bucket hat.”
The Cult of Supreme
The very first store was featured with a layout that had aimed at skaters. The products were placed so that there was plenty of open space to skate in the store while browning the products. For the longest time, the supreme brand consisted of this one store in Manhattan, but James Jebbia opened up a second store in Los Angeles, and from thereon, the brand never stopped growing. Supreme began to collaborate with many companies. Today, Supreme frequently collaborates with several favored brands, including Nike, North Face, Hanes, Levi’s, and others. A key theme for Supreme is appropriation, through which the brand has emerged as an anarchistic icon within its right.
Supremes’ popularity with young consumers has to do with the idea that the brand’s products are “emblematic of rebellious youth culture.” Followers of this brand, dubbed supreme heads, line up outside stores for hours while being willing to pay a considerable amount for goods. Supreme has found a way to build this community that markets its brand for them to gain a global following.
“I would call it a brand that’s heavily integrated with art and culture that tends to drive demand through consumer desire and consumer passion as opposed to explicit marketing.”
As for the products that Jebbia made available in these stores, the Supreme brand stocked its line of clothing and skating supplies and clothes from several other brands such as Nike, Van, Spitfire, Thrasher, SB, and many others.
Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaborated on a collection of dually branded clothes, accessories, shoes, and more, all of which debuted as part of LV’s Fall-Winter 2017 show in Paris.
The Godfather of Ura-Harajuku
Before the internet, there was Hiroshi Fujiwara. The designer started a major cross-cultural exchange by ferrying clothing, records, and style from London and New York to Ura-Harajuku. His contagious passion for punk and hip-hop spread through Tokyo, bleeding into the youth's avant-garde lifestyle. His influence can be found on streetwear throughout Japan due to fragment design, an imprint from Japanese multidisciplinary artist.
“It was basically a simple desire to create,” he says, pointing the finger towards the brand GOODENOUGH, a pioneering label in the early ’90s. Take it from the godfather and collaborate with individuals, not companies. But what makes a powerful collaboration? “It’s really the people. I have to see the person that’s controlling the partnership, and then I can see if the brand is easy to work with and has the same attitude and tempo,” says Fujiwara. It’s an approach that has led to powerful collaborations like Nike’s HTM.
The latest in their series of Genius collections — is military wear in peacetime. Created under the banner “Team Positive Force,” the Moncler Fragment Hiroshi Fujiwara collection centers around interpretations of the traditional parka and bomber jacket, with contrasting sleeve twists, allusions to retro Mod cuts, and chequered flag details running along hems.
A bathing ape (BAPE)
It is impossible not to think of BAPE when it comes to Japanese streetwear. Fashion designer serves colorful looks and quirky designs on all clothing. Famous for camo prints and bizarre styles, BAPE is one of the most sought-after brands in alternative brands.
COMME des GARÇONS
COMME des GARÇONS, meaning “like boys” in French, is a Japanese fashion label founded by Rei Kawakubo. Known for its ultra-modern aesthetic, the brand has played a transformative role in defining what streetwear means.
For menswear, we turn to Virgil Abloh, one of the prominent fashion figures working at the cusp of Louis Vuitton. He still finds time to run his own label.
Guide to streetwear fashion
1. Comfort: Streetwear consists of wearing casual clothing everywhere. Athleisure staples like joggers and sweatshirts are must-haves.
2. Invest in shoes: Sneakers are a huge staple for any hypebeast to complete their look. To add finesse to any clothing item, shoes are the most important part (My first-ever pair of Air Jordans still get me what I need when it comes to dressing up)
3. Loose, Not baggy: Find silhouettes that are more relaxed than the tight-figured tailoring that is usually opted.
4. Keep it simple: Streetwear is about the mix-and-match; pieces from different brands and cultures that together reflect your own interests. That does not mean that you can not wear statement pieces. If you have one piece that stands out, dial things back with the other pieces.