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Has Streetwear stopped being original?

Maria Velasquez
Blog / Fashion

Is street style what it is because of the accessibility it has? Is it interesting because of the community it brings with it? A feeling of rebellion, just like Punk and Grunge had in the 1970s?

Streetwear – Also known as Urban-wear or “Fashionable Casual Clothes”, has found itself “Moving beyond the counterculture that first defined it” (Vogue. May 2019).

As Angelo Baque, the former brand director of Supreme indicated to Vogue “streetwear barely existed before 2010 (prior known as urban wear) when brands favoured rappers, surfers, graffiti artists and skateboarders became interesting to the fashion industry” (Vogue. May 2019). Street wear was used by a particular community with its own values and reasons to use the product. Moving forward a few years, Influencers have been the main marketing ambassadors for this type of trend, or at least this is what the industry has thought.

A Streetwear Impact Report has been published by Hyperbeast and Strategy&, where 40,096 streetwear enthusiasts have been surveyed in order to better understand the place and the influence this style is having on society. The report showed that 65% of the surveyed saw musicians and “industry insiders” as credible figures in streetwear. While only 32% chose influencers as the true inspiration for using the product. Not only that, but “half of the respondents said that they would stop buying a brand due to inappropriate behaviour by a label representative” showing a bad activism of not only the brand but of the style as well.

Although the way streetwear enthusiasts hear about the latest trend is interesting, the report also focuses on why this community chooses to follow this particular style. “70% of today’s streetwear followers revealed they liked the category because its “cool”, while only 24% believe in the community values behind the products” (Vogue.2019). This sounds merely familiar… Kind of like what happened in the 70s & 80s when bands like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were the main idols and forms of aspiration for this particular style. Punk was a form of anarchy, a rebellion to the masses and to the corporate establishments. Punk Fashion started in a community where street clothes and working class outfits were adopted by the Punk enthusiasts.

The trend became even more popular given the introduction to high fashion and luxury brands such as Vivienne Westwood, while other brands like Converse created the famous Chuck Taylors and Dr.Martens brought hard rock to army boots. The initial values of Punk were undermined by popularity of the style and the amount of capital behind the trend.

Could we say this is similar to Streetwear Style? Street Style has been greatly marketed through Social Media by Influencers and Celebrities like Bad Bunny and J Balvin, but Brands have also taken part in creating Street-wear products to increase credibility and create a space in this growing community. Brands like Off-White, AMBUSH and Vetements have become widely popular, “…Streetwear is backed by two thirds of the consumers.. That the product will never go out of style” (Vogue. 2019)

Although, we are assured that Street Wear will never go out of style, how do we feel about certain trends undermining the initial values that they were created on? Should it be normalized? Should we follow through because that’s what happens? Or should Street-Wear enthusiasts in the industry include people from the original Street Style communities and place them as the true Brand Representatives?

Let us know what you think!


Love fashion and want to make it your career? JCI Institute Vancouver’s Fashion Business & Creative Arts Diploma Program provides students with a comprehensive overview of the fashion industry, combining creative and business elements. This diverse approach gives our fashion school grads a distinct advantage both in knowledge and skill. Prepare for many jobs in the fashion industry, including becoming a fashion buyer, fashion stylist, or for work in fashion merchandising. If becoming a fashion designer is more your speed, choose our Core Fashion Program. This course at our fashion design institute will give you all the skills you need to be a fashion designer. Choose between our fashion programs to find the best fit for you!

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