How Consumers Play a Major Role in Streetwear

  • by Dean Jones

Many people believe that streetwear consists of fleeting trends that won’t make much of an impact in the fashion world. But on the contrary, streetwear is still around because of the people who inspire it - the consumers themselves.

According to a report by Strategy&, streetwear is more than just about the clothes, and in fact is a direct result of large cultural shifts. Not only that, but the report also found that the majority of people involved in the study believe that streetwear will continue to grow in popularity over the course of the next five years.

Social media also plays a big role in streetwear culture as it’s where people turn for fashion inspiration as opposed to magazines or even blogs. According to the report, the typical streetwear consumer listens to hip-hop, won’t hesitate to spend money on casual clothes, and is part of a community of like-minded people who decide what is and isn’t popular in terms of streetwear fashion.

Fashion experts have referred to this shift as evolving from what is known as an “affluence” model to one known as an “influence” model. This means that a few years ago, fashion was dictated by brands and fashion designers while nowadays it’s the consumers themselves who decide what’s in and what isn’t. This is being referred to as political streetwear.

Again, this is all thanks to social media, which gives consumers a platform to show off their own personal style, connect with others over mutual interests, and more. The report also notes that streetwear initially emerged due to the resurgence of art by artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring resurfacing in forms of graphic tees and hats. Rap and the culture surrounding only served as a push in streetwear, which initially started in California and New York and has now spread to places like London and Tokyo.

In order to purchase items from streetwear brands like Stussy, and Supreme, you won’t be able to simply walk-in to a department store and get what you want. Instead, you’ll need to focus your attention on online communities where brands “drop” their new lines in limited quantities.

The exclusiveness of these drops means thousands of people are willing to do just about anything to get their hands on these coveted fashion items. So willing in fact that they won’t bat an eye paying double the cost of the item on a reselling site like NikeTalk, BapeTalk, Strictly Supreme, and Sole Collector, among others.

Streetwear’s popularity has now started to trickle down into designer fashion as noted designers like Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones are incorporating streetwear designs into their own labels.

The report discovered that the majority of people interviewed admitted to looking to musicians, industry insiders and contemporary artists like Daniel Arsham, Kaws, and Takashi Murakami for their style influences, more so than celebrities and athletes. This drives home the fact that culture is beginning to play a huge role in fashion and will continue to do so for years to come.

 

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