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Streetwear is a funny word. Most of us, even fashion experts, have a hard time defining the term tote which includes everything from retro Nikes and Supreme box tees to Carhartt work pants. But we do know that streetwear (whatever that means) is the biggest movement in fashion right now. And it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
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Part of the reason for the fluid definition of streetwear is the massive changes it has undergone over the years. Most fashionistas would identify the start of streetwear with the rise of hip-hop into mainstream culture (so, somewhere in the late eighties and early nineties). The two movements seem to have grown in unison, with streetwear informing and emerging from rap culture. And, like hip-hop, streetwear quickly moved from the bangs to the mainstream, with designers now producing bold logo tees, Grail-worthy sneakers and sport-inspired statement pieces.
In other words, streetwear is now a longtime giant of a trend. And it’s not just for rappers and skateboarders. Whether you’re a dad, college student, or Travis Scott, you can use streetwear pieces to be more stylish.
What are the best streetwear brands?
While streetwear can be hard to define, there are a few brands that are undisputed forces behind the megatrend. Check out the top streetwear brands below for new additions to your wardrobe.
With all the hype, resale prices, and overall fame of Supreme, it can be easy to forget that Supreme pieces are just plain cool. The New York-based brand has been around since 1994, dropping some of, if not the most sought-after pieces in streetwear history. By abandoning the ordinary model of supply and demand, Supreme allowed the resale market to dictate prices. This led Supreme to join the ranks of Rolex and Luis Vuitton in terms of desirability, and even collaborate with these two brands (among many others).
The combination of high skater style, British streetwear and Palace’s sense of humor has resulted in some of the coolest skate clothing to date. Some equate Palace with the UK’s response to Supreme, but, at the moment, Palace is easier to get hold of and a little less discussed than Supreme (maybe for the better).
Aesthetically, Palace is instantly recognizable thanks to its tri-ferg logo, sporty basics and bold pieces. We love the brand because you can be stealthy with something like a logo sweatshirt (pictured below), or you can go big with, say, a Gore-Tex x Palace waterproof jacket.
3. Off white
Virgil Abloh’s groundbreaking brand, Off-White, is a prime example of the manifestation of streetwear as designer clothing. Abloh started Off-White in 2013 after serving as Creative Director of Kanye West, and quickly gave the high fashion world the streetwear it needed. But Off-White hasn’t just joined the world of designer clothing – it has redefined it. Abloh and his team reinvented high fashion with hoodies, Nike collaborations, and design cues like wry bracketed labels and bold prints. Even though Louis Vuitton brought in Abloh as menswear creative director in 2018, he kept Off-White with pieces worthy of the craze, including sneakers, accessories and tees.
Incorporating streetwear into an everyday style was difficult for people over 25. That’s until Noah came on the scene (or really until they came back in 2015). Founded by ex-Supreme Creative Director Brendon Babenzien, Noah has succeeded in integrating the streetstyle aesthetic into adult clothing. It takes the form of back buttons, pleated chinos, and subtle t-shirts. Noah’s pieces are the kind of thing that earns as much approval in the office as they do in the skatepark, making him a true trademark unicorn.
Some of the biggest names in streetwear weren’t created as streetwear brands. A few brands, like Carhartt, have been embraced by streetwear culture for their authenticity and previously untapped styling potential.
Carhartt has adroitly adapted to its new streetwear brand personality with the launch of Carhartt WIP. While their classics (Ie Carhartt logo work pants and hats) are still streetwear staples, the WIP label is much more wearable for non-construction workers. Carhartt WIP took inspiration from the skate style – without losing the workwear character – to come up with great pieces like this one.refined work jacket where baseball cap.
A Bathing Ape (or BAPE, for short) is one of the oldest names in hip-hop fashion. The brand received constant shouting in the 2000s of the early days of Lil ‘Wayne, Pharrell, and Clipse, and still gets nods from Future, Drake, and 21 Savage.
Hailing from Tokyo in 1993, BAPE made a name for itself with bright and bold graphics inspired by toys and quirky designs (embodied by their shark hoodies covering face). Their Bapesta Air Force 1 remain among the most coveted sneakers in the world, but the Japanese brand is also producing new things that modernize the wonderfully strong character that made BAPE famous. For some statement articles, check out this disco shirt, or one pink camouflage t-shirt.
7. Aimé Leon Dore
Aimé Leon Dore is another brand that showcases adult streetwear. Although the pieces are minimalist and modern, the brand draws inspiration from everywhere: 90s hip-hop, sportswear and vintage preparation can be found in the brand’s collections. Think of the perfect thrift store find, only cleaner and better made, and you have Aimé Leon Dore.
In terms of build quality and materials, Aimé Leon Dore is doing very well. That feel – along with versatile, no-frills designs – means you’ll end up wearing Aimé Leon Dore all the time. The New York-based brand’s pieces can be hard to find, but we were able to score some great pieces on Mr. Porter, including this one. striped sweater and that puffy jacket.
Stüssy defined streetwear as we know it. The brand debuted in 1980 in Laguna Beach, Calif., With Shawn Stussy’s car, and catered to Shawn’s surf buddies (back in the days when surf style wasn’t much). The brand has since become a benchmark not only for surfers, but also for skateboarders, hip-hop artists and normal, stylish people. Despite its age and wide distribution, the brand is still going strong. In their recent collections you will find things like surf t shirts, bold Nike x Stüssy baggy pants and skate inspired jackets.
Streetwear has spawned countless new brands, but it has also breathed new life into sportswear giants like Nike. But Nike has stood out through the streetstyle boom with the hottest releases and collaborations, teaming up with top brands like Off-White, BAPE and Supreme, as well as artists like Kanye West, Drake and Tom Sachs.
Most of Nike’s offerings are loved by streetwear aficionados, but Nike sneakers are true streetstyle royalty – so much so that the cooler versions are scooped up and listed for higher prices on resale sites like eBay. This year we’re all trying to get our hands on new SB Dunks and, as usual, some Nike x Off-White Jordans.
10. Heron Preston
Heron Preston (the man) is a quiet force in the streetwear and hip-hop world with sought-after clothing drops, DJ internships at events such as Coachella, and mixtapes with Beyoncé. His eponymous label represents the conversion of his multiplied career, mixing fine arts, hip-hop and haute couture. Some compare Heron Preston (the brand) to Off-White, but the former has a distinct look, inspired by work clothes. They have good tees, as well as shifted, statement jeans.
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