Streetwear traces back its beginnings to the skate and music culture in California as early as the '70s and '80s, when only a few pioneering brands thought to use the aesthetic of street fashion and blend it with influences from hip-hop and elements of high fashion. These days, streetwear is quickly becoming the go-to daily look for the style-conscious and luxury brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and countless others are developing custom lines to sate the younger market's desire. There are original brands that have endured, and newer ones that have made their mark in the last decade. Here are the luxury streetwear labels you need to know now.
1. A Bathing Ape
A Bathing Ape, or BAPE, is one of the more enduring streetwear brands, having been around since 1993. It was created by Japanese designer and DJ Nigo at the height of Harajuku fashion. Having long been in the streetwear business, BAPE has expanded its reach, putting up outlets in major cities such as Hong Kong, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. Many of its followers await its many collaborations with other beloved brands, with the most recent one being with Swatch. Other notable partnerships include BAPE with Adidas, Uniqlo, Highsnobiety, Marvel, Supreme, Pharell, and Disney. The brand also now caters to womenswear and children's clothing as well as affiliated cafes and hair salons. Nigo left the brand in 2013 two years after Hong Kong-based I.T. Group bought the company.
The Beastie Boys Mike D and Spike Jonze are two of the more popular personalities that supported XLARGE's beginnings in the '90s. The brand, which is instantly recognized for its gorilla logo, draws inspiration from the Los Angeles lifestyle. It offers a wide range of basic tees, hoodies, and beanies all sporting its iconic branding. Its women's line is called X-Girl.
Relative newcomer Off-White is the brainchild of creative genius Virgil Abloh, one of the most celebrated designers of the past decade and the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear line. Off-White takes a more outlandish and stylized approach to streetwear, making use of pops of color and loud patterns against monochrome canvasses. It's been a favorite of global retail giants such as Jimmy Choo, IKEA, Nike, Moncler, Champion, and more, which it has collaborated with.
While Supreme has been around since 1994, the American brand has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the last decade. It took 10 years after the opening of its first skateboard shop in Manhattan for it to gain momentum and open the second branch in Los Angles, but Supreme has since grown into an internationally recognized brand and a standard for premium streetwear. It has since partnered with brands such as The North Face, Nike, Comme des Garcons, and Coleman. One of its most notable collaborations was with fashion house Louis Vuitton in 2017, which further skyrocketed the brand into retail stardom.
5. Human Made
After BAPE, Nigo focused his attention on his new brand Human Made, which has a more toned down aesthetic compared to his pioneer line. The reason behind its simpler designs is that it's based on American workwear from the 1960s. Human Made designs have an androgynous vibe about them, which can perhaps be attributed to its signature color scheme and fonts.
Popular designs intersect with some of the untamed elements of streetwear in both MSGM's women and men's collections. It wasn't always like this for the youthful Italian brand, but it has in recent years shifted to take an edgier approach on its designs. But at its heart is the unmistakable Italian style and impeccable craftsmanship sewn into modern apparel.
Imagine if the creatives behind Maison Margiela, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Celine got together and formed a streetwear brand. That label is now upon us with the "design collective" known as Vetements. A mere five years in, Vetements has captured the attention of trendsetters everywhere with its minimalist take on everyday wear.
Newcomer Kith presents a more playful line of apparel, calling itself a "multifunctional lifestyle brand" that caters to both genders. It offers its own in-house designs, which never shies away from bold colors and a curated selection of products from premium brands. Stepping into a Kith store is an experience on its own, as customers enter a modern space designed by Snarkitecture. Shelves of stark white contrast with accessories, footwear, and clothing of vivid colors and contemporary styles.
The styles associated with the surf, skate, and music factions have converged in Brendon Babenzien's Noah. The outcome is a clothing line with an obvious amount of soul. What's unique to this label is that it's socially conscious about the sourcing and the production of its clothing, footwear, and accessories, working only with partners that honor craftsmanship and human dignity. What's more, it donates a portion of its process to its select causes.
Founded in Laguna Beach, California in the early 1980s, Stussy is clearly influenced by the time and place where it was born. Characterized by tie-dye, prints over print, bucket hats, and baggy pants, Stussy does not hold back on vintage flavor.
11. Billionaire Boys Club and ICECREAM
Artist Pharell Williams formed a creative partnership with Nigo and Japanese graphic designer Sk8thing to create what are now known as the Billionaire Boys Club and later, ICECREAM. One can easily cop one of the sister brands' products at a reasonable price. Today, Billionaire Boys Club, or BBC as it's also known, has flagship stores in SoHo, New York, Soho, London, and Tokyo, Japan, apart from its regular stores across the world.
Undefeated, which is also stylized as UNDFTD, began as a small retailer in Los Angeles in 2002. Its line spans from curated footwear from partner brands and its own brand of apparel. Today, there are four standalone stores in California, two in Japan, and one in Las Vegas.
Breaking from the trend on this list, Underground was established in Manchester in 1981 and originally sported a post-Punk look influenced by the people in the area. Today, the brand continues to take from the "independence and freedom of the burgeoning movements" evident in its surrounding city. One of its design philosophies is to "do everything but stick to one style."
Kanye West has created one of the most influential sneaker brands in the retail industry today. The rapper's collaboration with sneaker label Adidas has become one of the most coveted with sneaker sales projected to go beyond $1.3 billion this year. West, who makes five percent from the royalties, is expected to get $65 million by the end of 2019. The Yeezy Boosts were first released in 2013, which eventually made way for a clothing line of the same name.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.