Colliding Worlds: How Streetwear Became Mainstream

Colliding Worlds: How Streetwear Became Mainstream

Tessuti menswear buyer Nabz was joined by leading experts in the fashion industry, Romario Chevoy and Kish Kash to discuss streetwear in the mainstream at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week.

Both panel speakers begin by describing their background in fashion and streetstyle. With a background in music and football Kish Kash describes hip hop as being part of a culture that is very visual and goes so hand in hand with fashion and streetstyle as it is a part of their identity. Football in a similar vein is a street sport where people from impoverished backgrounds essentially peacock and use their clothing to make a statement about who they are. Romario has a background in dancing, where fashion is part of the performance. It is all about being synchronised with the performance you are giving and the message you want to portray with the clothing that you wear.

They begin by discussing why streetwear has become so appealing. Romario starts by pointing out that it has now become so accessible with fast fashion brands emulating the once unattainable and exclusive streetstyle items that would sell out in minutes. This has catered to the masses but then the question arises, is this authentic streetstyle?

A huge number of people are aiming for those designer streetstyle pieces and would rather save up to get that special designer item rather than playing into fast fashion. It is important for people that their style is cool and authentic. But what is cool? Cool is the lengths you will go to get something, often living beyond your means. So, if buying the new drop means that you will live on beans on toast for the rest of the week then so be it says Kish Kash. It seems that the reason designer streetwear continues to flourish, is because luxury is associated with luxury and people are wanting the best fabrics and cuts that are not achievable within the fast fashion realm.

Many big fashion houses such as Polo Ralph Lauren are redeveloping their brands to tap into the huge streetwear trend. This seems to be a smart move for brands as more and more people and wanting to invest in items that will withstand the test of time. Thinking about the topic of sustainability, this can help to encourage people to be less throwaway with fashion. Kish Kash informed the audience that 380,000 tonnes of footwear ends up in landfill. He put on a sneaker convention where people can bring their old shoes and trade them with other sneakerheads. With more quality materials, streetwear items can be traded and have a second life, rather than being thrown away after a couple of wears.

The topic of conversation then moved on to social media and how this affects streetwear today. Romario pointed out that social media and streetwear go hand in hand. They both thrive when working together. The only problem is though… how do you filter through the noise? How do you know what is real?

Social media has allowed new streetwear brands to pop up every day. It’s about finding streetwear that pushes the boundaries amongst the masses which is a challenge. It is hard to find uniqueness within the masses but what Kish Kash points out is, with mediocracy comes the new. Someone will spark a new idea, and this is where many fashion graduates who are at Graduate Fashion Week today will be vital in propelling the streetwear industry forward and keep it thriving.

For the full panel talk, head to Tessuti Youtube channel.

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