The Evolution of Streetwear. From Subculture to Mainstream Fashion Trend

The Evolution of Streetwear. From Subculture to Mainstream Fashion Trend

The fashion industry has always been a constantly evolving landscape, with trends coming and going with each passing season. However, one trend that has managed to transcend time and become a staple of fashion is streetwear. What started as a subculture rooted in urban street style has now become a mainstream fashion trend that has taken over the industry. But how did streetwear evolve from a niche subculture to a global phenomenon? Let’s take a closer look at the evolution of streetwear.

The Origins of Streetwear

Streetwear as we know it today has its roots in the urban street style of the 1970s and 1980s. It was a fashion movement that emerged from the streets of New York City and Los Angeles, heavily influenced by the music and skateboarding subcultures of the time. At its core, streetwear was all about self-expression and individuality, with an emphasis on comfortable, functional clothing that could withstand the rigors of city life. One of the earliest pioneers of streetwear was the legendary designer and artist, Shawn Stussy. Stussy started out by making surfboards in the 1980s and began printing t-shirts with his signature logo to promote his brand. These t-shirts became a hit in the skateboarding community, and soon Stussy had a full line of streetwear clothing that was being worn by everyone from surfers to hip hop artists. Another major player in the early days of streetwear was the brand, A Bathing Ape, or BAPE for short. Founded in 1993 by Japanese designer Nigo, BAPE was heavily influenced by the colorful and playful aesthetics of Japanese pop culture. The brand quickly gained a cult following, with its signature camouflage print and ape logo becoming synonymous with streetwear.

Hip Hop’s Influence on Streetwear

The rise of hip hop in the 1980s and 1990s had a significant impact on the evolution of streetwear. As the genre exploded in popularity, so too did the fashion that came along with it. Hip hop artists like Run-DMC and LL Cool J were some of the first to embrace streetwear as a fashion statement, wearing baggy jeans, oversized t-shirts, and sneakers on stage and in music videos. The influence of hip hop on streetwear can still be seen today, with many of the biggest streetwear brands collaborating with hip hop artists and using their music and culture as inspiration for their designs. One of the most iconic examples of this is the Adidas Superstar sneaker, which was popularized by Run-DMC in the 1980s and remains a staple of streetwear fashion to this day.

The Role of Skateboarding in Streetwear

Skateboarding was another subculture that heavily influenced the evolution of streetwear. The sport, which originated in California in the 1950s, was all about rebellion and pushing the boundaries of what was considered “normal.” Skateboarders were often seen as outcasts and misfits, and their fashion reflected that. In the early days of skateboarding, riders would wear whatever they could find that was comfortable and durable enough to withstand the falls and scrapes that came with the sport. This often meant wearing baggy pants, oversized t-shirts, and sneakers that provided good grip on the skateboard. As skateboarding became more popular, so too did its fashion. SkatEwear brands like Vans, DC Shoes, and Thrasher began to emerge, offering clothing and footwear that was specifically designed for skateboarding. These brands were heavily influenced by the punk and DIY ethos of skateboarding, and their designs often featured bold graphics, bright colors, and unconventional materials.

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