Last week, a fellow classmate mentioned the term “streetwear.” Not knowing much about street wear, I wanted to delve into this fashion category some more and check out its origin and how this style of clothing made a splash unto the general fashion scene.
Streetwear is used to describe high quality clothing that draws influence from its surroundings and today the street is also likely to place great influence on fashion. These inspirations tend to be straight from the “street” taking in everything that surrounds them on a daily basis. Examples include, graffiti and such graffiti would often express social and political issues at hand.
The origins of various styles, cuts, themes, and trends were first recognized at the end of the 1970’s and early 1980’s. This was a vibrant time for the emergence of punk and what later on became hip-hop. Such diverse musical styles inspired “independent” ethnic attitudes that were captured by punk and hip hop music fans. Streetwear primarily began in California with the surfing and skating scene and was originally known as skatewear and surfwear. Brands of clothing began to come out to fulfill the demands of young crowds. Soon after, Japan was the next market niche that picked up this trend and appealed to the larger youth audience. Japanese designers drew on influences from anime, toys, gadgets, as well as their own style of Japanese street art.
By the mid 90’s streetwear had established itself in the world market. It created a great appeal among the youth population due to its unique and individualized style. The innovative designs of hoodies, sneakers, t-shirts, jeans were a hit. “Streetwear is a market segment that is rapidly becoming larger,” Claire Dupuis states. She is the manager of fashion apparel marketing for Cotton Incorporated.
Now, streetwear draws a huge array of consumers and popular brand names such as Triple Five Soul, Rocawear and Enyce that have helped define the category and put the clothing on the backs of consumers and, well, right on the streets. These particular brands were inspired form the hip hop and rap music genere, while MbyM, Volcom and Hurley were inspired more form the punk and alternative rock category.
So now that I have educated my audience, as well as myself, on this particular style of fashion, I think it is interesting to see how streetwear evolved throughout the decades and how it is still a very prominent option of clothing among youth and even adults. It is quite fascinating to see how something as simple as “the street” can inspire a huge sector of fashion to develop. Streetwear, in my mind, will continue to develop, grow and constantly have an impact on our everyday lives.