High End Streetwear: Mediocrity Meets Oversaturation
15 April, 2023
Growing up in the 90s allowed me to see and participate in a lot of the fashion trends that popped up throughout the years. I remember going to kindergarten and being fitted in the big plaid flannel shirts that were made popular by artist like Aaliyah, TLC, and Bone Thugs and Harmony. Then there was the basketball windbreaker sweatsuit era where I just had to have one. Everybody's favorite was the Chicago Bulls sweatsuit because it made you feel just like Michael Jordan. Then there were the Reebok sneakers with the pump-up tongue where you swore if you pumped them big enough you could jump high as hell and slam dunk. Fast forward a few years and there were the basketball jersey dresses and name belts in middle school, the Beef and Broccoli Timberlands with the Marmots & Moncler puffers in High School and a number of other iconic pieces that shaped how I grew up.
These were the times when the world of streetwear and designer fashion had not yet crossed. Legends like Dapper Dan were using prints from luxuries brands to pioneer his own style of streetwear, but it was still something that was unique and paved the way for many others like him to make a name for themselves. Once streetwear started to grow into something bigger than just urban neighborhoods and skaters, it found its way into Hype beast culture and with the start of Hype beast culture came the end of an era of creativity and expression.
With such a great demand in the consumer market Streetwear piqued the interest of High End fashion company Louis Vuitton. This gave way to Louis Vuitton collabing with well-known New York Streetwear giant Supreme. This collab is what fueled hype beast culture and opened the flood gates to numerous high end fashion brands now partnering up with whatever streetwear brands agreed to join forces. I have no problem with "interbrandial" relationships lol, when it's done right. The results of these collabs have just left me feeling like these brands didn't even try. The levels of designs have either been minimal or non existent while the creativity lacked drastically.
Brands like Balenciaga are seriously out here pushing dirty ass destroyed Converse for $1500 and people are eating it up. Their collab with Adidas also left me longing for more than just pasting their logo on an already common Adidas tracksuit. Then there was Adidas and Gucci who basically did the same thing with each other not adding any flair or design elements to any of their pieces, just a name. Let's not even mention the laziness that has gone into the designs of these high-end brand collections on their own. Louis Vuitton's recent collab with Yayoi Kusama has me dreading seeing another pumpkin for the rest of 2023. I digress.... I believe that luxury streetwear can be a new category, but it needs to be executed correctly. It shouldn't be through collabs with already established high end brands, but through a network of creatives who have always been admirers and enthusiast of the streetwear culture.
Brands like Lychee Kimono are the true heirs to the Luxury Streetwear space because they are run by those in the culture, fueled by creatives and stand by the fact that streetwear should be a true expression of self. Streetwear is raw, edgy and doesn't follow trends set by high fashion standards. No smoke and mirrors, just a real passion for design and individualism.