Look inside any fashion lover’s closet and you’re likely to find baseball caps, sneakers, hoodies, and T-shirts, as the rise of streetwear has become one of the biggest storylines in fashion in the last few years.
A recent study done by US investment company Piper Jaffray found that when shopping for clothes, American teenagers tend to buy streetwear, which combines influences from hip hop, skate and celebrity cultures.
Streetwear isn’t only about cool clothing, but also about gaining recognition.
Today’s young people are looking for fashion items that show off both their style and their status. “There’s a lot of interest today in exclusive products,” US sneaker expert Matt Powell told Retail Dive. “You have the younger shoppers, who are concerned about being unique and having a product that others don’t have.”
When a popular brand releases a streetwear item like a hip hop artist drops a mixtape, chances are that there will be a lot of young people queuing to buy it.
The relationship between streetwear and hip hop dates back to the 1990s. When young black and Latino people in the US experienced various forms of racial and class inequality, their music became their shelter and their clothes became their uniform. “Hip hop was the genre of music where it was accepted, promoted, and preferred that the artist looked like the fan,” US fashion lover Frank Rivera told streetwear site Highsnobiety.“With any other genre of music there was a costume or some sort of uniform that separated the entertainer from the average person.”
Similar to hip hop, skating has roots in black and Latino communities. But during the last three decades, skating has attracted attention from both the fashion industry and celebrities.
In his 2002 song Rock Star, US rapper Pharrell Williams wore a skate T-shirt, and performed with skaters all around him. The music video was a hit and went on to strengthen the relationships among hip hop, skating and streetwear.
Valuing individual expressions, both hip hop and skating have their own styles that influence streetwear fashion. “Because they don’t want to blend in, they come up with the style that will speak up where they are from and who they are representing,” skating blog Skatecide noted.
(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Ji Yuan)