Streetwear is everywhere. And at the moment, it’s no longer just popular in the alleys; it can also be found on the runway shows of big fashion houses. When a crossover of street and high fashion is mentioned, one would immediately think of Vetements as its proprietor. Quite recently though, Balenciaga and Givenchy are hopping onto the bandwagon.
So now we ask: Is streetwear’s ascendance to high fashion a short-lived stint?
Let’s discuss the word streetwear first. This isn’t essentially a fad or a passing trend. In fact, it’s the embodiment of real fashion. It’s irreverence against formal dressing, an authentic individual expression. It may not always be popular, but it never fades. It flares up once in a while, like it did in the ‘90s when grunge grew big and then in the aughts when hip hop was widespread. And in that sense, I believe streetwear as part of luxury fashion is just another flared up version of it.
Ironically, this cycle isn’t like anything we've seen before. Streetwear is gaining insights from the streets up to high fashion. Collapsing the known hierarchy in the fashion landscape, this can also mean the breaking of high fashion’s grip on consumers.
This flow can actually be traced back not just to the refreshing Vetements brand but to Kanye West. Blurring the gender lines by mixing womenswear and menswear, Kanye basically champions designs that uphold this shift often advocated by streetwear designers, among which are Public School, Astrid Andersen, and Pigalle. And in a larger sense, this forced luxury fashion houses move with the influence of designers that are once considered outsiders.
In essence, it all comes down to one thing—maintained relevance—which can be achieved by nothing more than just clever branding. I guess we’re not just seeing another flare-up but an evolution accompanied by a more fluid flow of creativity wherein streetwear learns from the veterans, and the big fashion houses listen to the new pulse on the street.
Main image from @balenciaga on Instagram.
Photos from @givenchyofficial, @balenciaga, @vetements_official on Instagram.