Streetwear has long been a popular choice among the style-conscious, particularly those of the younger generation. Typically characterised by its casual yet edgy appearance, modern streetwear has grown out of an interesting history to become one of the most iconic ways to dress, and its popularity shows no signs of waning any time soon.
So why is streetwear so popular in recent years? The ever-changing fashion landscape and also social media trends have had a big impact which have led to some of the best streetwear brands being worn around the world.
Why is streetwear so popular?
It’s easy to see why streetwear is so in-demand and on-trend. This informal, contemporary way of dressing is often associated with the urban environment and city living, and is heavily influenced by pop culture. It’s often linked to rap, hip-hop, R&B, skateboarding and sports, cherry-picking elements from all of them to create a slick street style which appeals to many.
The history of streetwear
Streetwear has a long history, with its origins in the post-war era when people began to veer away from earlier utilitarian looks to embrace individuality and self-expression through clothing. By the time we reached the 1970s, California was seeing a rise in skateboarding culture which fuelled a more open and easy style of dressing. This fashion trend quickly made it to New York, where the city’s influential rap scene made its mark on the new street dress code.
Clothes became looser fitting, baggier and more comfortable, and some big-name sports brands saw a way to tap into this growing market by creating new lines of clothing and sneakers. The 1990s was a really big decade for streetwear, made popular by stars such as P. Diddy and Notorious B.I.G. In the 2000s, streetwear moved online and became part of mainstream consciousness, with the likes of Kanye West and Virgil Abloh fusing street style with extravagance to create clothes which had mass appeal yet remained edgy and cool.
A post shared by Carhartt Work In Progress (@carharttwip)
It’s also worth considering brands that first introduced the style. A prime example is Carhartt, which is
often regarded as one of the pioneers of the streetwear scene. The original workwear brand was
founded in 1889 and developed durable clothing for railway workers using denim and canvas as its core
materials. Its adoption by the emerging streetwear culture, and subsequent expansion into Europe led
to the creation of the iconic Carhartt WIP (Work In Progress) brand. Since then, the label has been
adapting classic Carhartt items to appeal to style conscious individuals and has been instrumental in
helping streetwear crossover to mainstream consumers.
Best streetwear brands to wear right now
There are some incredibly popular men’s streetwear brands out there, and some sportswear companies also carry lines of clothing and footwear which might be classed as street. Nike and Adidas, for example, have both created incredibly well-loved streetwear sneakers and are constantly pushing the boundaries to create new products. In recent years, there have also been iconic fashion collaborations between luxury and sportswear brands, such as the latest Gucci x Adidas sports collaboration.
A post shared by Supreme (@supremenewyork)
One of the most iconic streetwear brands has to be Supreme, with its familiar red logo and its incredible range of high-end or luxury streetwear products. Founded in New York, Supreme releases new clothes every week and leads the way when it comes to the most modern urban clothing. Close behind you’ll find the likes of Stüssy, famed for their t-shirts, and Off-White, which creates luxury streetwear inspired by Kanye West.
Trending types of men’s streetwear
Streetwear has been in fashion for decades, but certain trends within the culture are now more pronounced than ever before. Every year there is much fashion inspiration to take from social media trends, celebrities, and even fashion events like the recent Milan Fashion Week. At the moment, baggy hoodies and sneakers from big-name sports brands are a must-have, so the likes of Nike, Adidas and Puma are seeing huge sales of streetwear. Collections designed by iconic rap and R&B singers are also in vogue at the moment, with these newer brands having gained a cult following around the world.
The best streetwear brands are constantly innovating and creating new, ever-more desirable garments. Streetwear outfits have exploded in popularity not just in the United States but right across the world, with men’s streetwear brands based in countries in Europe, Asia and Australia.
Streetwear arguably appeals to people of all ages, and not just the Millennial generation. There is
something timeless about streetwear because it embraces the pop culture of the moment yet remains true to its sport and music roots, making it one of the most enduring and well-loved of all urban styles.
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