Streetwear style is very popular in recent years both in Europe and North America and east countries in Japan and korea. But there are many differences between these countries.
History of Streetwear culture
Streetwear is roughly defined as common clothing items for casual wear that gain significance in the lifestyle of a people. Usually, one can trace the roots of streetwear culture to California in the 80s when skating was quite in fashion. Later on, it was affected by hip-hop culture which took over everywhere including Japan. However, in the past few years and especially in 2018, streetwear became more commonly appreciated and prominent with H.M., Supreme, LV and others.
It is important to view streetwear as a movement because it is a cultural phenomenon. 90’s graphic tees, loose-fitting jeans, and statement sneakers were created purposefully as an expression by their consumer: the rapper, the skater, and the rebel. In the 1980s and 1090s, many traditional brands would not dress some musicians or sports stars, so the community had no choice but to make their own clothing and define what fashion meant to them. In the context of street culture, nowadays the millennial and Gen-Z are now the growing consumers of the fashion and they look for products that offer a sense of community along with trend by jumping onto the bandwagon. It can be witnessed that streetwear culture is about an attitude towards trends and fashions. Therefore, nowadays, streetwear culture can be a symbol of a prevailing lifestyle rather than a reduced fashion statement.
Starting from the theory where luxury implies being elegant and noble, we can see that modern society has stopped regarding wearing as super fancy dresses and clothes. Nevertheless, denim and sweatshirts rule social media, which is what has made this style a cultural phenomenon today.
social media and technology are not the same as it used to be. Once a trend is adopted by famous people, it is then hyped by fans and social media influencers. On Instagram, it is easier to see the trend of social media influencers and celebrities to promote a common style or trend which later trickles down to the common man before the next new thing is introduced. Most of the people who hype up the culture are young people who share their taste for certain things.
Differences of Streetwear Culture in London, Korea and America
Streetwear Culture in London
Being around the music scene has been attractive as it does have a big influence on streetwear, especially in London because it’s a very lively and fun city. In London, there are brands like Palace that started as young guys printing t-shirts. Rock culture and band t-shirts are also a big part of streetwear, but bold colors and prints that are quite funny show there is a great humor.
Streetwear in London is also based off of early hip-hop in New York, and how rappers used to dress in the ’80s and ’90s. Many musicians that loved skating, like Pharrell, were known to brands as friends so these brands could just give out clothes. Many London people want to look like their celebrity idols or people who they love and that’s how streetwear became big and exploded, sspecially when music travels all over the world.
Streetwear Culture in Korea
South Korea has always been considered a modern country, known for its vibrant nightlife and legendary pop culture. Those who take a closer look at the fashion industry know that it's also a veritable treasure trove of luxurious, cutting-edge stores.
Having cultivated strong ties with the United States recently, this country has experienced an influx of Western culture, having access to Western culinary, film, music and, of course, fashion. Seoul Fashion Week, for example, only debuted in Korea in 2000, years after Paris or New York Fashion Week
In general, Korean society is focused on taking care of their appearance from head to toe, and it shows clearly on the streets. For both formal clothing and casual wear, the clothing style is usually planned further than simply throwing on the first clothes they find in the closet. They are also fond of enjoying colorful clothes. They’re not afraid to use various clothing materials to express themselves and their modern artistic sensibility. If you check out K-pop music videos or have watched a Korean drama, you see that there’s really a burst of colorful clothes.
Streetwear Culture in America
Cultural power can be regarded as a major factor that brings the global market and youth culture to the forefront of American culture. In allowing youth consumers to subconsciously get inspiration from the established classic street or skate scene of North America, there is an effort to keep a unique approach to the market (Rajendran, 2012).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New York b-boy culture largely dominated fashion in hip hop. B-boys were those who helped establish and give birth to hip hop culture in its early days. Many artists of this time, began popularizing tracksuits, chains, and kangol hats, among other items, giving birth to a new and exciting street fashion culture unique to the New York hip hop scene. The group most responsible for establishing and defining hip hop’s trademark “street” look was Run-DMC, who famously adopted Adidas tracksuits and laceless shell-toed sneakers as their signature uniform.
In the mid-1990s, influences included skating and gangster rap. Professional American sports franchises capitalized on this. They had a great impact in the scene. Notably New York Yankees, Los Angeles Raiders, and Chicago Bulls. With their production of oversized team jerseys, caps and jackets as well as boots from The Timberland Company and the latest shoe design releases from Nike, Inc.