Popularized in the 1990s, streetwear is an urban fashion trend that blends comfort and style. It often features graphics, oversized silhouettes, and sportswear, although many distinct variations exist.
The first streetwear brands emerged in Southern California in the 1980s. Printed T-shirts aimed at promoting hand-shape surfboards caught on more for their look, and inspired streetwear’s association with logos.
The following decade, the urbanized aesthetic of LA skateboarders inspired skateboarding shops to manufacture their own designs. At the turn of the millennium, sneaker culture emerged and became a crucial facet of streetwear outfits.
Despite being over 40 years old, streetwear continues to thrive in contemporary fashion. This article looks at the best of men’s streetwear, including iconic looks and contemporary trends.
The Most Influential Streetwear Trends
Graphical sweatshirt and T-shirt designs have been a staple of streetwear since its inception. These are often bold and colorful logos or slogans inspired by pop culture, music, and sports.
Another trend is denim, which is often incorporated into streetwear outfits. This usually takes the form of trendy skinny jeans, but a looser fit is equally viable.
Denim jackets are another popular choice and fit seamlessly with other elements of the style. In larger sizes, they can be worn over a hoodie, which is a very typical look for men’s streetwear.
Although contemporary streetwear has changed drastically from the style’s inception, there is a recent attempt to recapture the original look. Retro-streetwear is becoming increasingly popular, often to resist how commercialized and expensive modern streetwear has become.
Modern Day Streetwear Outfits
Within contemporary streetwear, there are many sub-cultures that opt for very distinct looks. Generally, outfits mix casual and sporting attire, with loose fitting, soft fabrics that maximize comfort whilst still looking good.
Hoodies, loose tees, joggers, cargo pants and sneakers are common pieces that can be combined in various ways. Accessories are equally important, with caps, beanies and even backpacks contributing to an overall look.
An individualized style is also achieved through a mix of different expensive and affordable brands. Demand has seen the price of many streetwear brands skyrocket, with items from Supreme and Off-White sometimes costing thousands.
Another foundation of men’s streetwear is striving for a look that incorporates some element of pop culture. This has birthed countless clothing collaborations from a host of different musicians, artists and athletes.
Streetwear Role Models
From the people who design the clothes, to famous faces often sporting the attire, modern streetwear has several important role models.
Musician and producer Pharrell Williams has had a major impact on streetwear culture. Pharrell has collaborated with multiple staple brands including Adidas and Billionaire’s Boys Club.
The ‘Godfather of Streetwear’, Hiroshi Fujiwara is a Japanese DJ, designer, and entrepreneur. As well as collaborating with Nike, Levi’s and Converse, his designs are ever present in the style’s culture.
American designer, DJ and entrepreneur Virgil Abloh is the founder of luxury streetwear brand Off-White. His designs have been extremely influential and are some of the most sought-after around.
The Future of Streetwear
The future of streetwear looks uncertain, with some predicting an inevitable decline whilst others claim it’ll be ever present.
A common argument is that streetwear is defined by its distinction to fashion. Modern streetwear has been totally absorbed by high-end fashion to the point that the line between the two has disappeared.
Others say that the fundamentals of streetwear have become saturated. People already own countless graphic tees, hoodies, and pairs of sneakers, with repeatedly matching the three becoming stale.
On the contrary, the opposing view is that streetwear can never die. Many people argue that young people will always love the ease and comfort of casual streetwear, and they will ensure its survival.
Men’s Streetwear Remains Very Popular
Despite questions over the style’s future, streetwear remains very popular today. As well as being casual and easy, sporting streetwear can produce some very trendy looks.