BY AMANDA FRANNIE
Notoriously difficult to define, even by those who wear is, street fashion since the 80’s has been an emerging and upcoming trend amongst youth culture, influencers, creatives, and artists. This grassroots fashion movement is inspired from what is happening on the streets and constantly evolving.
From Dapper Dan who inspired the trends back in the 80’s to today’s brands like Stussy, Supreme, and A Bathing Ape, street fashion has been taking over the industry. Street fashion encompasses streetwear, hip hop fashion, and Japanese street fashion, inspired from the DIY aesthetic of punk, new wave, heavy metal, and later hip hop cultures. Cities that inspire street fashion include New York, California, London, Milan, and Toyko.
• Streetwear was heavily influenced California among surfers and skaters, usually causal comfortable pieces like jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps, and sneakers. Shawn Stussy created this modern expression by combining a t-shirt lifestyle brand with the limited feel of a high-end luxury brand. The integral components of a streetwear brand are T-shirts and exclusivity.
• “Hip hop was the genre of music where it was accepted, promoted, and preferred that the artist looked like the fan.” – Frank The Butcher. High end brands like, Tommy Hilfiger, Louis Vuitton and Gucci traditionally did not market to minorities but the integration of hip hop artists in these brands provided a bridge to the gap. People were able to live vicariously through their favorite artist by owning a luxury piece. This fashion began with Dapper Dan creating pieces in Harlem to bring high end fashion to the hood to supply rappers and influencers with unique pieces to showcase. His work integrated high end and affordable pieces, also bootlegging pieces. Now artists like Ava Nirui and Virgil Abloh are using their creativity to redesign clothing from high end designers into new pieces. Music artists and rappers began signing with high end labels and brands to inspire their popularity and began to influence the fashion industry as well. Hip hop artists are now becoming the biggest commercial influencers of our generation.
• Japanese street fashion is heavily influenced by Yamamoto and Kawakubo, and brands like BAPE. The style is heavily focused on the art behind playing with mixing patterns and using fashion as an art.
• Contemporary sportswear fashion mixes formal and active styles together to create a comfortable and trendy look. Common items are hoodies, jackets, track pants, leggings, and sneakers. The 1990’s hip hop fashion also is incorporated with elements like bomber jackets and dad hats. Nike also has a huge influence on the street fashion scene with shoes, active wear, and tech pieces. Luxury and minimalism are the key components of sportswear street fashion.
• What pieces create a street fashion look?
Layers are everything in street fashion. Basics are skinny jeans or tight pattern pants, graphic t-shirts, patterns like checkers and plaid are in, and any coordinating sneaker or boot. For accessories, jewelry such as chains, watches, rings, and earrings are statements. Sunglasses and hats are also necessary to complete a look. Street fashion is basically comprised however you can coordinate colors and patterns into a new and unique look. Street fashion breaks the traditional ideas of couture fashion and high end fashion and redefines fashion into grungy, urban, one of a kind looks. Street fashion is creating your own form of art through personalized fashion pieces and looks that you put together.
“Streetwear embodies the past, present and the future. I want to break necks when I walk in the room with my outfits.” – BREAMO
• Street Fashion Photography
Another aspect of street fashion is the newfound type of photography where the inspiration is the streets. Street photographers look to regular, everyday people as well as influencers and artists for their muse. Usually the photography is candid photographs of individuals wearing urban clothing. During fashion shows, photographers like “Streetpeeper”, who is famous for covering Vouge’s fashion weeks, stand outside waiting to capture fashionable guests. “These fashion shows are one of the few times when fashion and the real world intersect just for a little sidewalk on Sixth Avenue between the show venue and the model’s car.” – Mr. Phil Oh “Streetpeeper”.