Born out of New York City’s hip-hop culture and celebrated early in LA’s skating scene, streetwear has had its finger on the pulse of pop culture for over forty years. The juxtaposition of luxury design to streetwear was once an image of divergent realities, but today they are two threads of the same quilt.
Streetwear style is seen as a uniform amongst many of today’s youth, unique to each but carrying similar aesthetics. From oversized fits to all-over graphics, streetwear is everywhere. Numerous luxury fashion houses, from Louis Vuitton and Gucci to Chanel and Dior, have incorporated elements reminiscent of the OG streetwear elements brought to light by brands such as Fubu, Bape, and HypeBeast.
Today, many luxury brands are restoring the more sophisticated tailored-made look with heavy use of knits, mature color palettes, and sleek silhouettes. This step away from key items, except design core, have many wondering if this is the beginning of the end for luxury street style.
Imitation is flattery, but more often than not, luxury streetwear seems to be missing the mark these days. BoF’s editorial associate said, “Streetwear brands are more commercial and less connected to the actual street culture where they found their roots.”
The tradition of streetwear persists amongst the youth, who largely contributed to its integration within luxury markets in recent years. The drawback, however, comes from the inauthenticity of luxury brands to not merely represent an entire culture but honor its inception and celebrate those who harnessed its power first.
The youth’s heart beats in tandem with the fashion around them. They are the trend, carrying the tradition forward through freedom of expression. This shift towards something new carries vast potential for young designers wanting to make their way into the highly saturated streetwear market. Social media acts as a sort of domain for streetwear that represents the inspiring values many of the youth hold close.
Streetwear may be easing off in luxury markets, but it will never leave its home of youth-filled streets embedded in the urban subculture. Luxury markets may have lost touch with the significance of streetwear, but it is alive and flourishing all around us.