Streetwear has always been popular. It’s edgy, boxy style a perfect mix of stylish but casual and giving the perfect aroma of ‘I’m stylish but equally – don’t give a fuck.’ Rooted in typically American skate and surf culture, Streetwear has evolved to encapsulate elements of Japanese style street fashion, hip hop and even merging slowly but surely on to the modern couture scene.
But with rising demand, designer dupes and a swift increase in pricing, are we even allowed to label our clothing ‘streetwear’ anymore?
With the objective nature of streetwear being accessible, simple and generally concentrating on the perfect balance of casual and comfortable (with jeans, oversized shirts, caps and chunky trainers featuring heavily on the scene), does the new modernisation of streetwear, both in design and perhaps even concept, defeat it’s initial intention?
Naturally, trends grow and expand and get shoved into new boxes that they perhaps don’t necessarily belong in, but streetwear in particular has really taken on a whole new calibre, audience and definition.
The high street has been taking on and adapting up-and-coming trends for years, and the Streetwear category is no exception; clothes are being labelled as ‘streetwear’ left right and centre, with baggy t-shirts, thick soled trainers littering the shelves of our high street shops… but is this sense of overpopulation killing the so called ‘you can’t sit with us’ trend? Similar to the sudden ungodly demand of avocados amongst the world of bearded, tattoo covered hipsters, the popularity and thus steadily increasing trend and desire for streetwear style clothing has resulted in it becoming homogeneous, and perhaps no longer serving its purpose. The purpose of streetwear being defined perhaps more by culture and origin that the clothes themselves; it’s supposed to lie outside of the traditional system of fashion, evoking a sense of uniqueness and intrigue whilst simultaneously blending into the comfort of the streets.
The evolutionary nature of the fashion industry is so important, but with the integral components of Streetwear being casual but unshared, and with the endless mimicking of traditional Streetwear styles (ironic perhaps as it could be argued that Streetwear attempts to mimic the limited feel of high-end luxury brands, with modern streetwear brands tailoring their releases to match the quality of designer clothing, but grasping still on to the traditional styles and fits of streetwear), both on the high street, and now also emerging on the high-end couture scene, the exclusivity of Streetwear style is slowly being squashed.
Does this evolution of Streetwear devalue its initial definition? Or is this new wave of modernised street clothing a step in a positive direction of expansion and development of the style? Naturally, trends are forever coming in and out of fashion, expanding and collapsing… but are we in a rush to kill Streetwear?