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Streetwear

RC’s Complete Guide To Streetwear In 2018

Jo KwokYee Lee
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guide to streetwear

Our guide to streetwear explores the current streetwear scene in 2018 and everything you need to know about it.

Streetwear is an evergreen trend in fashion. A decade ago it might be serving the minority only – a niche clothing for small groups of people, like skateboarders, break dancers or what not. Now, it is the go-to outfit for many of us. But streetwear is more than just apparel, accessories & sneakers, it is a modern culture which prompted youth trends, new sets of behaviors and the birth of websites and apps. This guide to streetwear will give you some insights into street culture in 2018 and what you should be paying attention to, in order to keep up with the ever changing scene.

streetweae guide

Above: @eastsouth99 shows us what 2018 streetwear is all about with Gosha Rubchinskiy & Balenciaga.

 

The escalating popularity of street-active apparel.

Streetwear and activewear used to serve different demographics. As the two evolved, their paths more or less overlapped and the hybrid has become as big as ever. According to a fashion analysis report, the launch of new product in street-activewear has increased by 136 percent when comparing December 2017 to the same month in 2016.

Some examples of street-active footwear are Nike x OFF-WHITE Air Max and adidas’ Yeezy 360. Even though sometimes these releases have seemingly un-affordable prices, or some would say they are ‘overpriced’, the same report suggests that many are willing to buy street-activewear that are four times more expensive than average activewear. This trend is very likely to extend to the rest of 2018, as long as designers are at the forefront, such as Kanye West and Virgil Abloh, carry on with what they are doing.

 

The blurring boundary between premium fashion and streetwear.

Last year we all saw the huge success of the Balenciaga Triple S trainers, which captured the heart of many sneaker heads with the chunky midsole ‘Dad’ style. Instagram streetwear influencers have experimented mixing and matching the versatile shoes with outfits with various brands from Supreme to Vetements. Similarly, OFF-WHITE’s iconic yellow Industrial Belt has been used on blazers and other formal attire.

In 2018, the line drawn between high and street fashion will become even blurrier. Because of the precedent success, it is likely that more brands will model the approach and further fuse the two into one revolutionary style.

guide to streetwear

Above: @aripetrou mixing Supreme, Stone Island and OFF-WHITE x Nike.

 

Tech in streetwear.

Performance is a key element of good apparel in activewear, much the same for streetwear now. Techwear became more popular in the casualwear scene because it allows wearers to travel across cities easily with comfort. Thanks to brands like Stone Island and Acronym, techwear is both functional and very practical. One of the head-turners in techwear last year was the Supreme x The North Face Mountain Baltoro jacket, which incorporated the graphics of a magnificent mountainside with goose down fill that ensured optimal warmth.

In terms of footwear, last month adidas released the model Futurecraft 4D that utilised 3D printing technology for its midsole.The midsoles are customised to offer various degrees of support for different sports. It seems probable that the trend will continue in 2018 and more brands would consider adopting innovative technology in product construction.

 

Fanny pack/bum bag.

If you’re from the 80s and 90s, the fanny pack, also known as the bum bag, should be no stranger to you and was probably something that your dad would wear. What used to be outdated has returned as a hidden gem in streetwear. Many in the nu-wave prefer to wear the ‘fanny pack’ as a cross-body bag, while still some rather preserve the original flavour, wearing it around the waist.

Now premium fashion brands like Chanel, LV, Balenciaga and streetwear brands such as Supreme, Nike & Kappa have all released their iterations of the classic accessory. It’s more likely than not that fanny packs will be making a even more profound impact in the coming year.

guide to streetwear

Above: @oh_weezy given one of the many examples of how to wear the OFF-WHITE industrial belt.

 

Instagram.

Instagram’s popularity among the younger bunch is gradually surpassing Facebook largely due to the appeal of imagery and how Instagram is easier to navigate. The powerful app is serving as a broad platform for young streetwear enthusiasts and influencer’s to post their #OOTD (Outfit-Of-The-Day), which often features them posing in their latest streetwear cops and drops.

To accompany the photo there will be a long list of hashtags just so more people can locate their account, brand name tags that inform the audience where the products are from and sometimes streetwear magazine tags which could possibly earn them a guest feature. The goal is to put themselves out there, construct their identity and build a fanbase. Because if they succeed, they could be rewarded with sponsorships from brands or even endorsement opportunities. There are even tutorials online on how to be street-Instagram-famous. This trend will go on and on, perhaps until another app replaces Instagram.

 

Scarcity of products and release day queues.

Big streetwear brands have a very strict quota on quantity. It is a strategy to raise the social status of the label because scarcity of products could make a brand seems more valuable and desirable. It also gives off a sense of pride to their fans because not everyone could get their hands on these items. It is just like the psychology behind selling limited editions.

Therefore there’s nothing new to seeing long queues outside streetwear shops when a new collection drops. Fans of all ages would pull an all nighter on the street regardless of the weather and the location. All in all this is not necessarily a tough journey because streetwear fans could gather, have a good chat and meet like-minded friends. This is a new culture that has been born in the rise of streetwear.

 

Resale market and e-marketplace Grailed.

Obviously after long queues, fans get to purchase the long-awaited collection. Some will keep it to themselves, while some would put it out on the resale market to make profit. It’s because some fans would rather buy at a much higher price online than to queue up. Sometimes it could be double or triple of the original retail price, depending on what brand it is and where on the world map you are. This practice has grown its roots deep in the streetwear ground now.

In light of the thriving resale market, cult e-market space Grailed was started to facilitate the good transactions. It is said to be a community marketplace for all fashion enthusiasts. Between members they can negotiate a price to complete their transaction, and all of them are eligible for full protection whenever they buy or sell on Grailed. Overall it is a friendly website for ‘hypebeasts’ to do their shopping safely online at their ease.

But bear in mind, shoppers will always need to keep an eye on potential replicas on e-market sites. Although Grailed has clearly warned that any fake items sold would get the seller banned, it is critical to be attentive to detail and not fall for counterfeits.

guide to streetwear

Above: @gullyguyleo going mad for check with Nike Air Max 97’s, The North Face x Supreme & Louis Vuitton.

 

All of these changes and by-products have resulted from the transforming streetwear industry and have become trends in themselves. Everyday streetwear fanatics, designers and brands are experiencing the culture and confronting new challenges. We are all a part of the evolution that will gradually bring streetwear more diversity and possibility. We hope this guide has given you some insights into the streetwear scene in 2018 and it has inspired you to make the most out of your streetwear wardrobe.

In other similar type features you can also check out our article which explores whether the streetwear resale market has gone too far.

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Jo KwokYee Lee
Jo KwokYee Lee

Jo is a Hong Kong-native and a graduate in MA International Journalism at Cardiff University. She is a big sneakerhead who always keeps an eye on new trainer drops. Previously interned at other streetwear magazines, she is excited to talk about modern street fashion, music and youth culture on RC. Jo's favourite brands at the moment are Vans, Stüssy, Nike and Anti Social Social Club.

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