STREETWEAR: AN IMMERSIVE FASHION
"Streetwear is not a trend, it's a lifestyle".
Indeed, streetwear conquered the world of fashion from its beginnings in New York, and it seemes to only be getting bigger and bigger. You probably knew all this already, but did you know that in 2017, the global streetwear industry was worth and estimated $309 billion dollars ! Yes, that's how massive an inevitable it's getting. We wear it, we love it and we certainly enjoy it... But do we all know what exactly is streetwear ? Well, this is what this post is all about, letting everyone know much more about this prevalent fashion style. So what is streetwear ? What's the history behind it ? And how has it grown through the years ?
DEFINITION OF STREETWEAR
The definition of streetwear seems simple. As the fashion industry defines it as casual but fashionable clothing worn by mass culture followers. These followers are mainly young (under 30), live in urban areas, and belong to a subculture group (e.g. skateboarders or hip-hop music fans).
In spite of this rather simple definition. The fashion industry has a difficult time identifying the exact criteria to qualify a certain clothing as streetwear. That's because it has a wide range of influences including skate and surf culture, hip-hop music, sports... and also because of the variety of its customer base, ranging from every income level, socioeconomic status and corner of the globe.
HISTORY AND EVOLUTION OF STREETWEAR
Let's take a trip back in time to see how streetwear was born. In the late 1980s,Shawn Stüssy came up with this innovative idea of selling printed T-shirts featuring the same trademark signature he put on his custom surfboards. From selling the items from his own car, he expanded sales to stores and boutiques once he started noticing that his T-shirts became popular. Then as sales went through the roof, Stüssy moved into exclusive sales, which brought the ultimate baseline definition of streetwear: "Exclusive T-shirts" In the early 1990s, prospering hip-hop record labels like Tommy Boy Records, Def Jam Recordings, and Delicious Vinyl got inspired by Stüssy's work, and started to sell branded products embroidered onto jackets made by companies like Carhartt. In the late 1990s, skateboarding and gangsta rap began to have their influence on this "trend" that is streetwear. And professional American sports franchises were having a big impact on the scene, with the likes of the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Raiders and Chicago Bulls. These teams started making caps and jackets, oversized team jerseys, as well as boots from The Timberland Company and the latest shoe design releases from Nike, all of which became quite popular in quite little time. Chief executives of record companies couldn't help but to also get into this industry, with Russell Simmons of Def Jam launching his Phat Farm label, Sean Combs of Bad Boy with Sean John, and Jay-Z and Damon Dash of Roc-a-Fella Records launching Rocawear. A Few years later, Rap superstar 50 Cent launched his G-Unit clothing label. In the 2000s, streetwear started expanding even more, with Burberry, Gucci and Fendi making appearances in hip hop videos and films. The most popular shoe at the time was the Nike Air Force 1. Then the luxury fashion clothing manufacturers began to follow the streetwear companies co-opting the idea "drops" : very limited edition capsule collections, now known as "drops", using social media as a marketing tool. In the 2010s, some streetwear brands were now considered as some of the most historically elite fashion brands. With Stüssy, Supreme, and A Bathing Ape as the top streetwear brands, and many chose to collaborate on high fashion capsule collections such as Supreme x Louis Vuitton, Fila x Fendi, A Bathing Ape x Comme Des Garçons, and Stüssy x Dior, which pushed streetwear higher up in the fashion world that it became now arguably the most popular of the fashion styles.