Streetwear History: Streetwear Fashion Over The Years

Fashion and clothing has always been an expression of someone’s personality, and over the years, streetwear has become a powerful cultural force, defining the way we dress, express ourselves, and even state our identities. Streetwear, which originated from subcultural movements, has now become a mainstream occurrence. In this guide, we will take a look at the history of streetwear and how streetwear fashion has evolved over the years, also looking at where streetwear originated and how it has influenced the fashion world  as we know it today.

The Birth of Streetwear

Streetwear, as we know it, finds its way from the 1970s and 1980s. It emerged as a response to the strict and conventional fashion norms of the time. Urban youth, particularly in the hip-hop and skateboarding scenes, began to rebel against the established fashion rules, creating their own unique style.

One of the pioneers of streetwear fashion was Shawn Stussy, who started by creating handcrafted surfboards and then transitioned into designing t-shirts that bore his signature, scrawled logo. His designs gained a cult following, laying the foundation for a new style that was both rebellious and authentic.

The Rise of Hip-Hop Influence

The hip-hop movement played a significant role in shaping streetwear. Icons like Run-DMC and LL Cool J embraced this emerging style, wearing oversized t-shirts, baggy jeans, and snapback hats. Logos and branding became a central theme in streetwear, with bold and eye-catching designs becoming the norm. Brands like Adidas, Nike, and FUBU became synonymous with the hip-hop culture.

Skateboarding and the DIY Aesthetic

Skateboarding culture also left a profound impact on streetwear. Skaters needed durable, comfortable clothing that allowed for movement and protection, leading to the popularity of baggy pants, graphic tees, and sneakers. The DIY aesthetic was vital, with skaters often customizing their clothes with spray paint, patches, and other personal touches.

The 90s: The Golden Era

The 1990s marked the golden era of streetwear. The fusion of hip-hop and skateboarding cultures continued to influence fashion, leading to iconic brands like Supreme, Stüssy, and A Bathing Ape. These brands embraced limited releases, collaborations, and exclusive drops, creating a sense of urgency and hype around their products.

Logos and graphics remained prominent, with oversized logos, all-over prints, and bold branding defining the style of the era. The 90s also saw the rise in sneaker culture, with brands like Nike and Jordan releasing iconic designs and products that became coveted items in the streetwear world.

The New Millennium: High-Fashion Collaborations

With streetwear continuing to grow and expand, it began to feed into high fashion.

High end fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Balenciaga started working with smaller streetwear companies/designers, blurring the lines between streetwear and high end fashion. These collaborations have helped showcase streetwear clothing and products to a much wider audience, pushing the limits as to what was considered to be high-end fashion.

The Influence of Streetwear on Contemporary Fashion

Streetwear's influence on contemporary fashion is undeniable. Today, you can see streetwear elements in almost every aspect of fashion. Athleisure, a style that combines athletic wear with casual clothing, is a prime example of streetwear's impact. Brands like Off-White, Y-3, and Fear of God have taken streetwear to new heights with their unique designs and innovative materials.

In recent years, sustainability has also become a significant focus in streetwear. Many brands are now incorporating eco-friendly materials and ethical production practices into their designs. This shift reflects a growing awareness of environmental and social issues within the fashion industry.

The Streetwear Community and Social Media

Social media such as Instagram, TikTok, & YouTube has been a critical part in the spread of streetwear fashion across the world. Streetwear fans are using and working with social media apps and websites to showcase their unique style, review products, and connect with similar users anywhere in the world. Brands are using social media to build hype around their product releases as well as collaborating with influencers and celebrities to promote their products.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Streetwear is no longer limited to one specific culture or demographic. People of all backgrounds, genders, and ages now follow the ever-growing streetwear movement. This inclusivity has led to a wider range of styles and takes on streetwear within the community.

The Future of Streetwear

As we look into future, it's clear that streetwear fashion and clothing will continue to grow. Sustainability, inclusivity, and innovation will likely be driving forces in the industry. We can expect to see even more collaborations between streetwear and high fashion brands, continuing to blur the lines between the two.

In conclusion, streetwear has come a long way since its early days in the streets and cultures of the 70s and 80s. It has evolved into a global phenomenon that impacts fashion, culture, and even the way we express ourselves.