What Is Designer Streetwear?

The term ‘streetwear’ refers to a style of casual clothing that originated in the hip hop music culture of the 1980’s centered in New York as well as incorporating elements of Californian surf culture. It focuses on comfortable clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, caps and sneakers often emblazoned with the cultural icons of the period or sports teams’ motifs.

Designer streetwear marks the entry of haute couture designers into the market. This leads to a disconnect between streetwear’s ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ philosophy and a designer brand’s goal of delivering longlasting value through deep meaning. By embracing streetwear these companies risk destroying what makes them valuable to the consumer. Some argue that designer labels should mimic the streetwear mode only in so far as it allows their customer to tap into underlying themes in the culture as a means of expressing their individuality but not as their overall design philosophy.