Streetwear is said to have originated from the rise of punk culture in the 70s, with bands like Joy Division and The Ramones dominating the music scene. Others think streetwear stems from the rise in popularity of hip-hop and the bloc party sub-culture – which gave rise to the name ‘streetwear.’
Although its origins are widely debated, Stüssy is one of the brands that made streetwear a real concept. The owner, Shawn Stüssy, implemented elements of the self-made culture that started with punk rock by adding his designs when making surfboards for his friends and locals in California. To promote his work, Stüssy then prints the designs onto t-shirts and shorts to sell along with surfboards. What started as a small side job exclusively for friends and family soon turned into one of the largest clothing lines in the world.
In Japan, the punk and hip-hop waves are shaping the fashion world in Tokyo. Brands like A Bathing Ape (BAPE) and NEIGHBORHOOD emerged from the alleyways of Ura-Harajuku and rocked the world of Tokyo street fashion. BAPE founder Nigo drew inspiration from early hip-hop groups, such as Run DMC, while Shinsuke Takizawa, founder of NEIGHBORHOOD, took the military jacket and punk and rock & roll culture as a starting point.
Streetwear culture is more than hypebeast. Streetwear is all about purpose. For most streetwear supporters and fans, buying the latest Supreme or Travis Scott Nike collaboration collection is a way of understanding the culture. Streetwear is all about sharing the same values, so wearing a Yeezy or a t-shirt with a box logo, intentionally or not, shows their identity and the group they belong to. These brands have the ‘it factor.’
Streetwear entered into luxury fashion when designers, fans and celebrities legitimized the culture into a cash cow industry. Streetwear is given its own platform to grow and develop, which allows them to collaborate with various luxury brands. The collaboration between streetwear and luxury fashion blurs the boundaries of what a trend should be. This ignores the ancient rules of fashion, which then attracts consumers and a wider perspective on what streetwear is and how they can coexist. This is a testament to the streetwear community that they can also bring appeal, exclusivity, and luxury.