The rapid commercialisation of streetwear, something that used to be viewed as the illegitimate child of ‘real fashion’, has resulted in a culture of a majority of people buying into the same trends and then end up wearing the exact same thing- think striped office trousers and generic white sneakers. It’s fair to say it’s no one person’s fault but rather a result of the acceptance of streetwear by the fashion elite e.g. the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration.
This is where personal style and streetwear go hand-in-hand because, what used to not be considered “fashion” enough was all categorized together as streetwear and secondly because once upon a time, streetwear was just a term used to describe the everyday looks of everyday people – which is at the core of personal style. Contrast this with today where streetwear has own very specific aesthetic with its own criteria for what constitutes as streetwear.
The commercialization of streetwear, something that used to be easily accessible to everyone, means that it is even harder for fashion to be inclusive for its consumers – which was the original reason for the rise of streetwear brands in the first place. Basic items that were once affordable and readily available at department stores and thrift stores, whilst being rejected by the elite as worthy for their floor spaces, are now slightly reworked and marked up 1000%. All this just because luxury brands decided that graphic tees and baggy jeans are a look. Now regular streetwear designers are being labelled as copycats by certain luxury brands because they too decided to screen-print some grainy images on basic t-shirts. Really?
Of course there are positives to streetwear being taken seriously – the streetwear designers in this field are finally getting the recognition they deserve and of course there are more brands to choose from. The only problem is that it’s now not as accessible purely because of how expensive it has become. The prices of a graphic tee should not now be the same as a pair of GUCCI loafers – how is that supposed to make sense. In this economy? Anyway – there’s nothing that can be done and we are all complicit in our small ways.
Author: Musa Nyangiwe