What is Streetwear? The 101 on Fashion’s Biggest Buzzword

Before we start, let’s make one thing clear – streetwear is not urban wear. If you’re visualising baggy jeans and white basketball sneakers – you’re thinking of ‘urban wear’.

Not many people agree on what ‘streetwear actually is, but most people agree that streetwear was born in Las Angeles in the late 1970s to early 1980s with heavy influence from the surf and skate cultures. As with all ‘street trends’, the style and definition of streetwear have continually evolved and today we see a style that is influenced by things such as hip hop, the ’80s and ’90s, and even couture fashion. The fashion-conscious generation today is managing to effortlessly blend all three influences together, combining smart cuts and tailoring with classic streetwear pieces.

Due to the combination of designs and styles that would have previously been considered contradictory, streetwear brands have begun to include items that are a lot more refined, but still, keep the authentic relaxed look of original streetwear. This shift in perception and acceptance has meant that high-end companies such as Burberry now include streetwear products in their runway lineup.

The people behind Unparalleled Apparel give their interpretation of the changes we see in the streetwear trend: “It’s like, the owners of the brands start the companies as teens and twenty-somethings and the designs reflect that. But as the owners and consumers grow up more, so do the brands. We see more fitted cuts becoming prominent, fewer materials, button-up shirts appear more in lookbooks. It’s because you can’t just be baggy jeans forever. Someday you have to grow up, at least just a little.”

In saying all of that, possibly the most attractive element of the trend of streetwear is that it is different for every person and encompasses so many ideas and interpretations. “There is so much opinion visually apparent on the street; its restless nature means that it is constantly evolving but in a totally disordered manner that can only be controlled by one’s personal style.”

One thing is for sure, in a world that seems to grow smaller every day; streetwear will be increasingly influenced and interpreted by people, trends, and cultures from all over the world. This is the beauty and the heart of streetwear.

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

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