With time, everything undergoes change— whether that means the rise of autonomous cars or digitized payment. For fashion, it means new trends, but more specifically the revolution of streetwear. Throughout history, fashion has been dominated and powered by established luxury brands, such as Chanel, Dior, and Louis Vuitton. Despite their new collections each season, these traditional brands maintained their consistency in their general aesthetic and mood that could be traced back to the brand’s history. These brands continuously practice exclusivity and seem more extravagant than practical. However, in the past few decades, the fashion world has become much more accessible and sought after due to a new window of clothing: Streetwear.
Streetwear sent an earthquake to the once strict boundaries of fashion. What can be defined as an urban casual look, featuring sweatshirts, t-shirts, sweatpants, etc., mainly decorated with logos or a brand’s trademark patterns, began to take over the industry. Not only were these clothes sought after, but their high prices and runway show display gave streetwear a more dignified presence than any other casual wear brand. Being more relatable than haute couture and pricey ready-to-wear garments that fashion was previously known for, brands such as Supreme, Off-White, Vetements, Bape, and Stussy have simply slapped their logo on a plain t-shirt, causing millions of fans dying to get their hands on one. This streetwear trend introduced a new wave of logomania, reminiscent of the 90s. Yet, this craze is ever so mystifying to onlookers and hypnotic for the consumers, who are willing to purchase even bricks and paperweights showcasing a brand’s logo. More than style, people seek the brand name, the emblem that automatically transforms their status. To give you an example of what I truly mean by craze, Supreme has lines and lines of people waiting outside their store for days before a collection drops and hundreds of thousands of people waiting in front of their computers to purchase something before it sells out within minutes on their website.
So why is a sweatshirt worth thousands of dollars and lines of customers? One of the biggest attraction factors is streetwear’s cultural relatability. Streetwear is greatly associated with hip hop, with artists rapping about these brands in their songs and sporting their looks on Instagram. Suddenly, what seemed like a closed off world of fashion becomes more of a pop culture reference. When someone wears an Off-White shirt, perhaps they see themselves more connected to their favorite influencers and musicians. Although the same logic could be applied to those older luxury brands that are still sported by many celebrities, there is nothing more relatable than comfort wear, such as a t-shirt and sweats. With streetwear, people don’t need to think about outfit pairings and styles, they can put on a logo t-shirt and feel equally confident and fashionable as someone who spent hours putting together an outfit. Over time, these streetwear brands have collected a strong following of loyal customers, willing to cash out what it takes to become a part of the community.
This fervor regarding streetwear clothes has become a large part of youth culture. Whereas fashion was once widespread in different trends among teens, streetwear has brought on a large niche of fans. With these streetwear crazed boys often being labeled as hypebeasts, comes along media websites and clothing resale networks, targeted at them. But that’s not to say that even many girls, older adults, and young children have been pulled into the trend, with the magnetic force of the bandwagon. Among these people, clothes are not simply pieces of fabric anymore, they are not even simply fashionable. To them, these logo dawning pieces are symbolic of a group of people, of a culture, and of a status, they hope to belong to.