How Urban Street Apparel Hit Mainstream And High Fashion
2016 has been a big year in urban street apparel. From Paris Fashion Week to chain stores aping the look, everyone seems to be following in the footsteps of streetwear. Fashion is notoriously fickle so something blowing up like this is nothing new. The rise of urban street apparel can be put down to a few factors. Here’s our list of what they are.
The Kanye West Machine
Outside of die hard disciples of Yeezus, nobody paid too much attention when Kanye first announced his plans to get into fashion. His first lines weren’t well received by the fashion world but Kanye kept going. In 2015, Kanye released his Yeezy Season One and turned the critics. Three seasons into Yeezy, the reception has stayed strong. Someone with Kanye’s level of media attention has had a huge effect on turning lenses to streetwear.
Kanye crossed the streams by working on sneakers as well as clothing lines. This made an impact by hitting two sides of urban clothing. Sneakerheads and more clothing focused streetwear fans have become West’s audience. He’s got the media power and the money to turn that attention into something more by building up a high fashion audience too.
Streetwear’s been about to break for a while
Every generation has movements in art, clothing and music that define them, streetwear is a big one today. Successful movements say something that nobody has said before and have a lot to say about it. Streetwear has this in spades. From Kokon To Zai to Minimum, streetwear has versatility in its looks that few others match. This amount of choice left a lot to extract from streetwear.
As well as versatility, streetwear has the designers to make the most of it. Raf Simons, Rick Owens and now Kanye are among the many people flying the flag. The amount of creativity in streetwear combined with these names meant it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on.
Urban street apparel is a goldmine
Since the early days of the Air Jordans, sneakerheads have been willing to put down big money for their kicks. The birth of streetwear saw this spread to clothing. This wasn’t a high fashion audience so those who were buying pieces couldn’t be converted over to other styles. Once it was clear that the fans were in it for the clothing they liked, the fashion world had to accommodate them.
Names like Yves Saint Laurent have started repping streetwear for this exact reason. It’s easy to write off classic brands but most of them got their start by being on the pulse of what people were wearing when they came up. When streetwear started proving it could work as easily on the streets as the catwalk, high fashion took notice.
Streetwear has been gunning for high fashion
If high fashion hadn’t come to streetwear, streetwear would have come to high fashion. Fashion houses are by their nature elitist. They’re the places where styles for each season are decided and they’ll pick apart anything that comes to them. Streetwear is a rarity in the fashion world for doing the same back to them. Once people started buying high fashion pieces and pairing them with beat up jeans and graphic tees, they’d overtaken high fashion for versatility. The volume of streetwear brands, designers and fans cannibalizing high fashion meant there was only so long before they had to take notice.
In a few years, urban street apparel has pushed further than high fashion has in a long time. High fashion on the catwalk doesn’t translate into day to day outfits. When it comes to streetwear, the division doesn’t exist. You’ll see people dressing like anime characters because they’ve seen it on a catwalk.
The look covers everything from the most avant-garde to minimalist; with this much going on urban street apparel is unavoidable.