Streetwear creates an almost cult-like, tight-knit relationship with its consumer and perfects the direct-to-consumer model that the wider industry had been desperate to crack.
Many popular streetwear products can only be purchased directly from a brand through the “drops” model: customers are rallied to be one of the first online or in-store to secure products that are released at a particular place and time, as there are only a certain amount of quantity offered to people.
What began as a largely underground movement rose quickly to main street and unleashed what the fashion world was craving but not finding: a fresh take. Impacted were all facets of the industry’s creative development, marketing and distribution.
The ultimate driving force behind streetwear is its spirit. Core streetwear consumers do not have limitless income to spend. What they do have is the ability to create exclusivity tied to something much more potent than money. Authenticity!
Whereas most fashion labels struggle to redefine themselves every few years to remain relevant, streetwear evolves organically by staying close to the ground. As a result, more and more traditional fashion brands are trying to capitalise on streetwear’s particular brand of cool.
Streetwear emerged as an antidote to wider fashion trends, stemming from countercultures like skate, surf and hip-hop. They shifted fashion! But these shifts are not specific to fashion. Streetwear rose from the ground up, driven by the very direct and simple motivation to put a word on a T-shirt.
This thinking parallels the straight-forward expression that drives hip-hop and street art amongst other categories that have gone from outsider movements to main drivers in their respective industries.
Ranging from legacy luxury houses such as we saw recently at Dior's fashion show, to mall retail brands, now routinely include streetwear as part of their offerings. Once restricted to select brands producing T-shirts for a niche audience, streetwear’s mindset can now be adopted by any company and appeals to a wide demographic.
While interpretations of the style are wide and diverse, the original codes of streetwear still persist, and they are the driving force behind the larger market.