When you think about it, what is streetwear? Does it have a certain aesthetic? Is it sportswear? Is it high street? How do you define it? Who are its purveyors and what is their streetwear language? What inspires it? Is it a trend or is it here to stay?
Since the popularity of Highsnobiety, Virgil Abloh becoming head of menswear at Louis Vuitton, and Burberry bringing on Riccardo Tisci, as well as the sneaker market not appearing to be slowing down any time soon — it does appear that streetwear is here to stay and will remain a big category in fashion, especially within high-end luxury brands.
Younger people are growing up wearing jeans and sneakers and sweatshirts and T-shirts, so there’s a trend toward comfort, and it will evolve with streetwear.
And brands we used to love — or gone and come back again— are making its way to a new generation. It’s amazing to see old-school brands like Fila, Champion and Ellesse, connect with a young generation, who don’t hold a lot of context or knowledge of each brand’s history. Young millennials just love the product.
The streetwear craze has helped propel these retro brands back into the spotlight thanks to celebrities and influencers.
“The demand [for old school brands] will continue but its success and growth depend on many factors, be it celebrity endorsements, collaborations or new ownership as we’ve seen with Fila” explained Kevin Poon, co-founder of Hong Kong streetwear label Clot and retailer, Juice.
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, when streetwear became a trend several years ago, luxury brands were among the first to embrace this potentially lucrative trend. Labels such as Off-White, Vetements and Balenciaga appealed to customers with deep pockets whilst the younger clientele got their fix by seeking out nostalgic brands that gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.
While many were initially attracted to iconic designs such as logo sweatshirts and hoodies, this too is changing as the market becomes more competitive. Instead of bold logos and bright colours, customers are choosing pieces that help them express their individual style and personality.
On the surface it’s easy to say streetwear can simply be boiled down to a casual aesthetic that consists of sneakers, sweatshirts, T-shirts, tracksuit pants with printed graphics and logos.
But if you look closely, streetwear is the merging of fashion and culture, making it a social movement that can take on new faces and shapes across space and time.
And as the lines continue to blurr for streetwear and high-end luxury fashion, streetwear no longer exists as a trend or in a niche industry. The category is booming and people young and old are vibin’ it.
Streetwear is here to stay.