Fashion has always been about identifying and expressing your personality and beliefs, which over the years has come to include political and social issues. Fashion and style became a way for identities to made obvious and cultural influences to have another avenue to manifest themselves.
This is where streetwear originated, in two different areas of America. On the west coast, California was home to surfers and skaters, while the east coast was home to a growing hip-hop scene in and around New York. Both subcultures seemingly adopted men’s fashion that offered street, sports-inspired style with printed t-shirts, oversized hoodies and the latest trainer releases.
Since then, streetwear has spread globally and become more mainstream, evolving along the way. It was once the dress code of the underground, limited to those associated with the subcultures of skating or hip-hop. Now, it’s everywhere you look.
Origins of streetwear
Streetwear began as an almost direct reaction to luxury, unobtainable fashion and prohibitively expensive price tags. It was a much more DIY way of dressing; a way to express your own take on style with added creativity and attitude.
It was worn by the outsiders, the alternative kids at school who were different to everyone else and the experimenters who didn’t care what anyone thought. Today, this is an attitude taken on by many of the younger generation, not just a select few. It’s for that reason that streetwear has perhaps had the room to grow and develop.
A go-to style, not just for the streets
Over the last couple of years, we have seen streetwear and luxury fashion collide in a way that no one expected. Expensive tracksuits are now a thing, along with designer logo hoodies and t-shirts. Louis Vuitton appointed Virgil Abloh, one of the biggest fashion cross-overs in decades.
Possibly due to this freedom of collaboration and exploring new avenues, younger generations are learning to wear fashion that further reflects them as individuals. Boundaries are lifting and inclusivity is the new trend.
Streetwear now appears in almost every social setting, and is even becoming more acceptable in the workplace. As modern workplaces accept casual attire, streetwear pieces are popping up.
Streetwear is also crossing paths with politics. T-shirts and other designs are appearing that offer quotes and symbols that counter negative stereotypes and open up a discussion. This is something Vivienne Westwood was doing for decades before.
The younger generation are becoming more aware, which reflects in their fashion choices. It’s interesting to see where it will go from here.