Streetwear started with casual wear and sneakers but has quickly become a worldwide fashion sensation that has left fashion designers scrambling to keep up with the demands of consumers. The world of streetwear, which was once an underground fashion movement, has gone global, with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior getting in on the hype. In this blog, we’ll see how streetwear became luxury.
But where did this level of exclusivity and luxury come from that caused streetwear to go global?
The fashion world was shaken when streetwear brands were popularised by young fashion stars, models, and rappers.
The likes of A$AP Rocky and Kanye West have brought streetwear to the forefront of fashion, which meant, casual clothing took the limelight.
Kanye even created Yeezy to incorporate streetwear and sneaker designs on his own terms to avoid interference from large established luxury brands.
How Streetwear Became a Luxury
1. The Drop
‘Drops’ became popular with fashion brands as a way of bringing a level of exclusivity to each of their products.
Unlike traditional fashion, a ‘drop’ model is where customers have to be first online to bag a product only available at that time and at that price.
This allows the brand to gain a reputation and a buzz around each ‘drop’ that they have.
This also is helpful for the brand as, following a drop, the product is often resold on online marketplaces. The higher the products resell for, the higher the brand’s status in the world of streetwear.
This exclusivity plays into the idea of streetwear becoming more luxurious. Drops and exclusivity lead to better quality clothes and materials, which leads to higher prices. Consumers respect this exclusivity and repeatedly buy from the same luxury brands as a result.
Streetwear fashion has transcended the previously non-inclusive world of fashion. It has brought a predominantly male fashion trend to the front and center of the fashion world.
However, as these luxury brands have more consumers and are more commercialized, the average consumer is not as rich as those previously buying from luxury brands. Streetwear has therefore stayed closer to its roots and the individual.
Creating exclusivity, allows authenticity to be created as a relationship between the brand and consumers needs to be formed. It also forms high demand and creates a discussion around the pieces.
Many streetwear wearers are skeptical of industry insiders and high street brands. This is true when considering which streetwear to buy, as many of these brands did not start as authentic streetwear brands.
Streetwear’s ability to strike up relations with consumers allows brands to promote authenticity. This is because consumers feel closer and more connected to the brand as it grows.
Many brands also come from humble beginnings or are promoted by their favorite performers, making connections seem genuine. This is in opposition to the pre-established luxury fashion brands, who change their clothes to fit trends that streetwear started.
Streetwear thrives on its connection with the people, once that is lost, so is the brand.
This also allows designers to get creative and create bespoke pieces that could be more expensive. Although originally started in the United States, streetwear has become a worldwide hit. Fashion brands all around the world are now emulating the styles of streetwear.
UK streetwear brands, such as Perverse Demand, have even branched out promising luxury, bespoke products that are ethically sourced. These brands show the changing nature of streetwear and show that it is here to stay. Streetwear is progressing with the times.
3. Musical Influence
Rap has specifically been a prominent force in promoting streetwear on the international stage. This can be seen with successful rappers such as Kanye West with his brand Yeezy.
Indeed, Yeezy encouraged a whole trend of artists releasing sneaker collaborations in a streetwear style, which have become essentials for fans of the artist and streetwear. Many of these have been on exclusive drops. When Kanye worked with Nike, the exclusivity and ‘drop’ model were also used to spark conversation and interest.
The Bottom Line
To conclude, streetwear can afford to become more bespoke and luxurious due to the exclusivity of its products. Providing ‘drops’ and selling limited runs of clothing allows for higher quality products to be made with a luxury price tag.
Written by Luthien on behalf of a luxury streetwear brand, Perverse Demand.