From Pavement to Runway: How Streetwear Transformed Luxury Fashion
Think of influences in fashion like a dialog. High fashion houses take inspiration from nature, current trends, and previous trends. Fashionable people see what designers make and put their own spin on it. Then, the cycle continues.
Constant transformation and conversation allow designers to show creativity and express how they see the world. Once reserved for the chic and elite, high fashion inspiration began to come from a surprising source: the streets.
Streetwear began with urban culture in large, gritty cities. Subcultures like skateboarding, hip-hop, and graffiti were of sudden interest. Learn how streetwear influenced luxury brands to create runway styles we know today.
Streetwear, in its original form, was never meant to be a luxury fashion statement. The style originated in the 1990s in large cities like Los Angeles and New York.
In these cities, the casual style of surfers, skaters, and hip-hop lovers was the standard. The original wearers were seen as rebels in society, wearing loose-fitting clothes, loud sneakers, and graphic tees.
The dress was casual and comfortable, reflecting their lives and hobbies and emulating celebrities within the subculture. The style grew and quickly became associated with a particular way of life.
Traditional brands, at first, were not interested in associating with street style or celebrities that dressed that way.
This rejection led to the rise of the first streetwear brands, as people in the community began creating for people of that community and defining their sense of street fashion.
There is a lot of culture behind street style originally worn by skaters, musicians, and artists. Once rejected from the mainstream, it's now one of the most imitated styles in fashion.
Rise in the Luxury Market
As with anything that becomes popular, designers begin to take notice. They began to take inspiration from the skate and hip-hop subcultures and incorporate elements into their own work.
Soon, high-fashion brands adopted oversized jackets, graphic tees, loose-fitting pants, and bold sneakers into their lines. Often targeted at the youth. These easy-to-wear pieces were laid-back and cool while maintaining exclusivity.
These elements were adapted into established brands such as Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Gucci. These brands often sold their products in "drops" rather than collections to create scarcity and hype.
The rise of streetwear style also created new brands. Supreme and Off-White, two of the most well-known companies of this style, began as luxury streetwear brands since their creation.
Traditional fashion houses and these new streetwear brands often collaborate to create casual, on-the-go collections. Each curated piece becomes an exclusive essential and status symbol of streetwear style.
Staples of Streetwear
Streetwear, like every style, is subject to trends. However, most core pieces of streetwear style are basics that can be mixed and matched. This allows for stylish yet flexible dressing and a way to show off an individual's style.
There are some staples of streetwear that all dressers of the style tend to have in their closets. Sneakers are one of the quintessential aspects of streetwear and are often considered a closet essential.
There is a whole culture of sneaker designs, collaborations, and drops that run parallel to streetwear style trends.
You'll also find graphic t-shirts and hoodies, sometimes oversized or loose-fitting. Loose-fitting sweatpants, joggers, cargo pants, and jeans are also common. Plus, matching sets of tracksuits and sweatsuits.
Outfits are often layered with windbreakers, bomber jackets, and denim jackets. As for accessories, bucket hats, baseball caps, and gold jewelry are common.
However, while there are staples, much of the style is left up to interpretation and individual taste to pair pieces.
Street Style Photography
Streetwear as a style also gained popularity with the rise of street-style photography. Street style photographed what people were wearing in cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.
These images showed how regular people, not models, designers, or celebrities, were pairing items in their closets to create a unique outfit. They were taken right on the streets of major cities rather than on sets or runways.
Raw and genuine, many viewers resonated with these average people and took inspiration from their extraordinary style. Soon, many celebrities and fashion icons were being photographed in the same way.
Rather than posing in a studio, celebrities were captured walking down the street, caught going out to dinner, or photographed on their way to an event. The more laid-back images still showed stylish and on-trend outfits.
Now, many influencers take photos of their looks, purposely capturing this original vibe.
Luxury Streetwear Today
Streetwear today has grown into one of the largest and most worn styles. With fashion brands completely centered around the style and others doing collaborations, it's certain it's not going anywhere anytime soon.
At its core, streetwear is laid-back and casual while still being stylish, which draws many people to it. Polished flexibility and magnetic dressing are what make the style so captivating.
Plus, streetwear has an element of individualism, which allows wearers to express themselves as they dress. You can mix and match your pieces, curating a wardrobe from both high-fashion and thrift store finds.
You can lean into brands and logos or dress more understated. Wear bright colors or feature mostly neutrals. Bring in elements of other styles to create something completely unique.
Though there has been a transformation to create the luxury streetwear we know today, it still retains many of its roots.
How Streetwear Influenced Luxury Brands
High fashion and runway clothes were once chic, unattainable, and only for the ultra-rich. That is only partially true today. While some luxury brands maintain an elegant, sophisticated style, others have turned to the streets for ideas.
How streetwear influenced luxury brands has an interesting history. With roots in city life with skateboarding and hip-hop subcultures, these two seem like polar opposites. Yet, somehow, they mesh into a luxurious, casual style.
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