Some say streetwear is a dirty word, others say it’s merely a subculture in fashion and finally, others say those titles are demeaning to designers all over the world. Either way streetwear has been trending for the last 30 years, so it might not be a trend as much as a lifestyle by now. Brands like Off-White or Fear of God have made streetwear more sophisticated in the recent seasons. However, the problem lives on when it comes to lists. Lists of the greatest streetwear brands, lists like Complex’s list of the 50 greatest streetwear brands, “Most of them are known for little more than printing graphic tees” Says Aleks Eror writer at High Sobriety. It’s hard to invest into a piece and have it be labeled as something equal to a graphic tee. Or to be a designer and have the world see your work as simple as that- it becomes a sensitive issue. Bobby Hundreds, cofounder of archetypal old skool streetwear brand stated, “Every line on this list with a few exceptions, has built their brand off T-shirts”. Streetwear is more than that.
Yoji Yamamoto, an influential Japanese fashion designer, who is a master tailor alongside those such as Medeleine Vionnect, who has won dozens of awards as Master of Design by Fashion Group International understands the importance of streetwear. Since 1981, Yoji Yamamoto has been a part of high fashion, recently collaborated with Adidas in Y-3. Yamamoto is only one of dozens of fashion designers in Pairs participating in collaborations in streetwear as Raf Simons and Rick Owens both have worked with Adidas as well.
In 2014, GQ labored John Elliott+Co as the best designer of the year. John Elliott designers range from hoodies, thermals, and raglan pullovers richly fabricated in gauzy French terry, flannel, or leather patchwork. His latest collection described in Vogue as, “the fabrics were complex and textured- one in particular, a wool bonded aluminum made into flight jackets and shorts, enabled the wearer to bend and sculpt them if he so chooses. Only exhaustive research could result in something like that”. In the same issue of GQ, the other designer of 2014 was a suit-and-tie specialists Brooklyn tailors, lines are blurring as other magazines as J.Crew and Aime Leon Dore both have a strong cross over between the two worlds.
Designer, Gosha Rubchinskiy are walking his models down Pairs fashion Week in FILA’s paneled sweaters and Tennis Classic sneakers that were given a post-Soviet makeover topped with oversized rave-ready sunglasses. Streetwear, working class fashion, sneakers, call it what you may, but I would say streetwear is a part of the fashion world or maybe, it’s always been there.
Thomas Jordon Raybell