Luxury streetwear, or when the street dresses like Gucci

February 08, 2021 7 min read

Luxury streetwear, or when the street dresses like Gucci


There is a misconception that the public has no say in fashion trends. The reality is that industry giants do bend to the will of the crowd. For example, streetwear has made its way to the top, and the fact is, it's here to stay.

In this case, it's more like the opposite process. Having sprung from the depths of America's working class neighborhoods, urban fashion is now making its way into the most upscale stores. It's called luxury streetwear, a fashion phenomenon that has shifted the balance of power.

luxury streetwear

Why did the big brands get interested in streetwear? Has the transition to a more luxurious setting ruined the essence of urban fashion, or on the contrary, has it brought out the best of its philosophy? What are the best luxurious streetwear creations of the moment? We reveal you all there is to know about it.

How did luxury streetwear come to be ?

It's quite curious to see streetwear associated with luxury brands. Has this rebellious movement, which obeys no law and preaches simplicity, lost its luster? Or would it be the high fashion stores that have lost their way? We explain how such an alliance could be formed, and the strategic advantages that made it all possible.

The big brands come on board

How can two antipodes merge so perfectly? That's the question that comes up every time, especially when it comes to two diagonally opposed poles like Supreme and Louis Vuitton. While the former's history goes back more than 150 years, the latter was just a simple designer of printed T-shirts, famous among surfers and skateboarders in the 90s. What would have motivated such a giant to venture out with a new company? Well, several reasons.

First, in 2017, Supreme had nothing to envy them in terms of revenue. They had already come a long way since their debut. With the explosion of sales, and the craze of logomania, Supreme had more notoriety and was more "in" than the big brands, especially with the youth. 

Supreme and Louis Vuitton

Which brings us to our second point, the solution to the plot. What Louis Vuitton was really interested in is no secret: acquiring a new customer base. In order to continue its reign, the brand had to modernize as it went along. After all, you don't have to teach an old dog to make a face. They saw the potential of this frenetic trend, and that it was in their best interest to join in.

A young customer is a long-term investment. While they may not be interested or able to afford the main collection at the moment, they may one day. Smaller, lower-priced collaborations are more tempting for these affluent young adults, eager for exclusivity and modern luxury.

A real streetwear hunt

It's easy to generalize this little example. This successful collaboration unleashed the luxury streetwear collaborative trends. Soon, Gucci, Dior and Chanel were vying for partnerships with the urban fashion icons. Moreover, we still remember the capsule that they organized with Pharrell Williams.

gucci and dior in streetwear

The result has been an immeasurable financial impact over the past two decades. More casual and less classic looks have taken over the world stage. As a result, the big brands could not stay out of step with reality.

For the first time in modern fashion history, the street was dictating the inspirations of luxury clothing brands. Several major houses made their mark in this area, namely Balenciaga, Givenchy, and Gucci. Even the art world got involved, with a number of partnerships between contemporary artists and luxury streetwear collections.

The long-awaited opportunity to make your voice heard

Partnerships with well-known names are also very interesting for urban fashion designers. Many small streetwear designers dreamed of such a career.

Just take the example of the famous Virgil Abloh, founder of the legendary streetwear brand OFF-WHITE. No one would have thought it possible that an urban trend could bring a young talent to the top of Louis Vuitton

OFF-WHITE streetwear

And yet he has become the artistic director of the men's collections for this same brand! His creations bring together the best of streetwear and the fine pearls of luxury fashion that the brand is known for.

This is just one name among many others. Kanye West, Tom Ford and Nigo have all followed the path to fame. An opportunity to harness their passion to enter the big leagues, and showcase their artistic talents.

A fashion propelled on the networks

Finally, the rise of luxury streetwear is much more complex than one might expect. A lot of influence and power games are being played.

A little analysis of instagram posts shows a significant increase in posts promoting luxury streetwear in recent years. "By pure coincidence", of course.. 

luxury streetwear influencers

It looks like brands have cracked the code: to reach the new generations, the most interested in fashion, you have to play on their territory. More and more influencers are being recruited for partnerships and product placements with major brands.

Beyond the fact that the collections are topical, the stakes are even higher for these public figures. On social networks, they are forging this new image of streetwear, that of an upscale and chic style. On the one hand, it revalues this fashion trend that has long been underestimated by more serious models. But on the other hand, this targeting distorts the urban fashion that stands on its own, an inclusive trend born in the heart of the people.

The authentic ambassadors of luxury streetwear

luxury streetwear influencers

Still, it is clear that brands take the trouble to choose their effigies. The selected celebrities are (most of the time!) in agreement with the streetwear values. Sometimes, they are more insights into their life, and what really fascinates them.

In a way, it highlights the potential of luxury streetwear, and proves that it's a really malleable element that can be taken to the next level if you know how to do it. In fact, these beautiful creations already exist, and are not reserved for a certain category of people.

While many collections are overpriced, a true enthusiast can afford a collectible once in a while. There is plenty to inspire urban fashion lovers everywhere, and to serve as a look inspiration, even from more modest resources. 

Luxury streetwear takes everything in its path

Strangely enough, it turns out that streetwear and high fashion brands go together very well. This new harmonious duo combines a rigorous aesthetic quality with an avant-garde spirit, and thus forms a real fashion phenomenon. 

luxury streetwear with the brand louis vuitton

The richness of the materials, the delicacy of the finishes and the ingenuity of the designs make luxury streetwear a must-have on the current scene. Its impact is such that it has revolutionized mentalities and seduced even the most fickle customers..

A must have for the high class

Luxury streetwear collections are becoming more and more present, and are proudly displayed by renowned designers at each new season's fashion show. Those who have really adopted streetwear in their daily lives are of course the Gen Z. They love both Western streetwear and its Asian streetwear counterpart.

Nevertheless, luxury streetwear is still not very accessible for the majority of them. It's mostly their idols on the networks that make them dream about the latest brands and trends. For many, the outfits represent a mosaic of several origins finely chosen to create a coherent whole.

luxury streetwear in the middle of a fashion show

The more affluent don't have to worry about that. In Dubai and China in particular, fashionistas take the most fashionable looks as they are. This is where luxury streetwear comes into its own, because in addition to following the trend, they shop exclusively from department stores.

In addition to requiring a substantial budget, you must also consider following the news continuously. All this to say that it's a lot of work to stick to ephemeral trends, and it doesn't come without the right budget. You might as well say that luxury streetwear is somehow conditioned by the X factor, this craze we create that pushes us to always want to buy more.

Let's break the dogma in the professional world

The advent of luxury streetwear has also turned the dress code of the professional world upside down. In fact, streetwear has even challenged the traditional rules of dress in the workplace. While casual wear was frowned upon, especially by serious companies, urban fashion has freed workers from the grip of the classic suit and tie.

The first to prioritize comfort in the workplace were the big leaders in the silicone valley. When you see Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs coming to meetings in t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, you quickly understand that clothes don't make the man. These companies with astronomical sales figures set the tone for the rest of the business world. Nowadays, startups are rekindling this flame and putting a definitive end to the era where work dissociated the individual from his personality and his own clothing preferences.

The greatest streetwear x luxury brands collaborations

In view of the numerous projects between the big fashion brands and the urban fashion brands, it is difficult to select the best. We still retain the most memorable collaborations :

1. Louis Vuitton x Supreme

Louis Vuitton x Supreme

Here is a collection that made the news! The Louis Vuitton x Supreme project is one of the first associations of streetwear with a luxury brand. In addition to the originality of the idea, the resulting hybrid style completely revolutionized the fashion industry.

By maintaining the identity of both artistic giants, the designs were able to convey a message of peace. The two logos coexist harmoniously to create the most sumptuous finishes. A real treat, whether for streetwear fans or lovers of the French brand.

2. Dior Air Jordan 1 OG Dior trainers

Dior Air Jordan 1 OG Dior trainers

An unexpected association, to say the least, but one that was welcomed with open arms. The limited edition Dior x Air Jordan 1 sneakers, released as part of the Fall 2020 collection, were a runaway success. The fine artistic touch of the haute couture house combined with Nike's ultimate sports heritage, nothing could be more legendary.

Unsurprisingly, there were many casualties: out of the millions who tried to order a pair, only a handful of lucky ones hit the jackpot. At over £1800 each, it's a real treasure.

3. Moncler Genius

Moncler Genius

Honorable Italian fashion house, Moncler is ahead of the curve when it comes to artistic innovation. Founded in 2018, its Genius Project brings together the most daring designers in urban fashion, and aims to defy every imaginable obstacle.

They experiment with the nature of textiles, shapes and colors, all inspired by the most popular trends of the moment. In the same vein, the brand has acquired Stone Island, a pioneer in urban fashion in Italy. The designs are striking for their futuristic look and unparalleled artistic quality.

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