Streetwear : Just a fashion trend or real culture ?

April 12, 2021 7 min read

Streetwear : Just a fashion trend or real culture ?

For a few years, the streetwear look has imposed itself in the popular culture. But finally, is this rise in power a fashion effect that will fade with time? Or is it a sign of a certain culture? We propose you to discover it in this article.

What is streetwear?

Within modern fashion, we find the term streetwear. But what does it mean? This name refers to a style that has its origins directly in the street. It is finally said to be street fashion.

streetwear outfit

Streetwear has its origins in the Californian and skate culture of the 1980s. It is strongly associated with the world of hip-hop, which developed in parallel with streetwear. There are also elements of haute-couture. But these are more of an inspiration for the designers.

If it was something very local at the beginning, streetwear has become a phenomenon and a global business that brings in millions of dollars. The industry produces sneakers, t-shirts and other streetwear, such as hoodies, at low prices, without neglecting quality and beautiful design.

Streetwear is aimed at a young target and audience. The majority of the people who wear streetwear at the beginning are under 25 years old. And this audience is also male. In fact, men dominated streetwear fashion when it first arrived. Products were designed and made by men and for men. Men were also in charge of the design. At that time, the style of the products was not very developed. It is considered that this was a kind of "antidote" to the complicated looks that were in fashion at the time.

Streetwear is therefore a style that draws from several street cultures. In addition to hip-hop and skateboarding, there was also surfing. Today the style is still worn, for the same reason as when it first appeared on our shoulders, the cool side. If you ask someone to say why he wears a streetwear brand, he will say that it is cool. Maybe that's the case for you too?

streetwear style  tenshi

If young people from working class neighborhoods used to wear clothes from bourgeois backgrounds, streetwear soon found its way into their wardrobes. There was a time when young people dressed in Ralph Lauren polo shirts, or in Lacoste in France. This kind of brand does not hesitate anymore to associate with streetwear companies for collaborations.

For a while, it was the streetwear look that was popular. We saw it in the poor neighborhoods of California or those of Brooklyn in New York. So it's not surprising to see that streetwear has its origins here.

The origins of streetwear

The exact way streetwear was born is currently debated. It is difficult to know since at the time of its birth, many movements and artists were being born and developed. However, it is believed that this fashion was born in the late 1970s. During this period, several other movements were born, so it would not be surprising if the origins of streetwear were part of it. Punk rock and hip-hop finally have their origins at this time.

The streetwear brands of the late 1970s and 1980s borrowed things like the DIY aspect of punk, heavy metal and new wave cultures. DIY is an acronym that stands for "Do It Yourself". Many surfers and skateboarders liked this approach and started making cool products. They made their own boards and designs, which allowed them to have a unique look.

One person who contributed a lot to the DIY t-shirt is surfboard designer Shawn Stussy. He started selling t-shirts printed with the same brand signature that he had placed on his board. And it worked. His surfboards and custom t-shirts only grew in popularity and Stussy became a popular icon. One of the other pioneers is James Jebbia. You may know him as the founder of the Supreme brand. This brand is closely linked to the skateboarding world. The surfing world had Stussy to get quality looks, Jebbia did it for skateboarding.

Stussy's business was a springboard for the streetwear world. It allowed him to gain popularity and arouse curiosity. It is said that the designer has managed to create t-shirts based on the culture and subcultures of Southern California. But above all he managed to imitate the feeling of a limited and exclusive product, as it is the case with a high-end luxury brand.

We should also not forget the influence that the punk rock style had on streetwear fashion. This one echoed the rough and anti-culture style of the time. If streetwear could be such a success, it is thanks to the fact that it was against the culture that was in place at the time.


How to wear the streetwear look ?

In order to wear the streetwear style well, you should have in your wardrobe some essentials.

We start with the sweatshirt

The hoodie is intimately linked to the streetwear culture. When you wear this type of clothing, you should focus on sobriety, using plain colors. You can choose to wear a zip in the middle to keep it open.This is very practical when you have a t-shirt underneath to show off. Also, you should avoid too big prints on the hoodie. Most of the time, keep the zip closed all the way to the top. Don't put the hoodie on at all times, or you'll look like a punk.

 The hoodie, this hooded sweatshirt

Sneakers are the essential of a mastered streetwear outfit

These sneakers are once again inseparable from the history of this movement. Some people love them so much that they even collect them. In terms of sneakers, the offer is large and very diversified. If you don't want to take risks at the beginning, choose the biggest brands. They make very good quality pairs, and at affordable prices.

At Nike, there are 3 models. The first one is the Air Force 1. In low cut and white color, it is an essential to have on your feet. The Nike Blazer will adapt to all types of pants while the Air Max air bubble also seduces. The Vans catalog is inexhaustible. Related to the world of skateboarding, we recommend the Era model. It is the one that can be married with jeans or shorts. Moreover it is available in a multitude of colors.

the inevitable Air Force 1


For the sneakers, whatever your choice, you just have to have a style that you like, the models too flashy and too big are not a problem in streetwear, you should not be afraid to dare! The goal is that these shoes blend into your outfit and express your personality..

The last accessory of a streetwear look is the cap

While it's great for protecting you from the sun, it can also be the finishing touch to your outfit. The flat peaked cap was made popular by Jay-Z, who wore the New York Yankees cap. You can choose the Snapback model if you prefer to be able to adjust it. Finally, the choice of a stylish streetwear look should be made with the 5-Panel cap. Its shape and construction make it a great success..


The streetwear cap that Jay-Z loves

The evolution of streetwear style

Gradually the streetwear look has spread and has not remained only the clothes worn by the street. His casual and cool style seduced many people and today we see many people wearing streetwear.

We must also note the role of the designer Dapper Dan. This one allowed streetwear to rise and not to be only worn by young people of districts as well as surfers or skaters. It is thanks to him that the streetwear look has gradually gained the field of hip-hop, with artists adopting the look during their videos. Previously, they wore branded clothes and were sponsored by luxury brands.

 Dapper Dan

Combining the importance that rap and hip-hop have taken, and a style that is developing, streetwear has therefore experienced a meteoric evolution. All artists, or almost, of this musical genre dress with a streetwear style. If at the beginning the look was masculine and almost exclusively oriented towards men, it is not the case anymore. We see more and more women wearing clothes with a streetwear look. However, what has not changed since its creation is that it is a style of clothing worn mostly by young people.

Streetwear is now a respected style. It is easily combined with other styles, allowing for unique looks. High-end luxury brands are now partnering with streetwear companies for collaboration. This is the case with Louis Vuitton and Supreme, who have been seen offering caps, bags and all kinds of items.

In France, Lacoste has long wanted to get away from the image it had because the brand was worn by the street. However, the crocodile is no longer afraid to be in the suburbs. Its capsule collection with Supreme is moreover the highlight of bananas and tracksuits of high quality.

The designers are also at the head of these collaborations between luxury and streetwear. When they are not at the head of labels in luxury houses, they propose looks by themselves. We note for example Virgil Abloh who launched his brand Off-White, Heron Preston for the brand of the same name or Shayne Oliver with Hood By Air. Streetwear fashion is only growing.

More than a product, a real culture

Reducing streetwear to a few products would be too simple. No, streetwear is not just a fashion statement. For a few decades, the look has made its way into popular culture. But if it has been able to do so, it is because it is based on solid foundations.

Linked to the field of skateboarding and surfing, this movement is also linked to that of graffiti. We are not talking about vulgar tags made in a hurry, but a real street art, offering beautiful drawings. The young people who realize this are dressed in streetwear. And it still persists today, proof of a real way of life.

Music has also allowed the emergence of a real streetwear cult. Without the rap and hip-hop movement, would fashion be at the same point? Nothing is less sure. Streetwear corresponds to a real culture since the artists of this genre today all dress in this way. Today's skateboarders and surfers all have a streetwear outfit adapted to the codes of their sport.

streetwear style outfit

The streetwear fashion can finally correspond to a kind of identification. If a person is from the skateboarding world, he will necessarily dress in the right way. So it is also a way to identify with a certain social group. We can also notice the fact that it is something important for people since some of them collect streetwear objects, be it caps or sneakers.

Finally, the streetwear culture can be seen by the number of products that are offered. Today, a very large variety of clothes and accessories are available in a streetwear style. This way of dressing has still a lot of future, partnerships with luxury houses are the proof. Streetwear will remain in popular culture for a few more years, and who knows, forever?

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