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The History and Progression of Streetwear: From Stussy to Supreme

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Did you know that streetwear has been around for almost 40 years already? What was once a humble aesthetic has now substantially flourished into a soaring rank of fashion, organizing itself as a retail force that can’t be ignored.

We can see how celebrities are continually selecting athleisure atop all else. Tracksuit bottoms are worn as if they’re jeans, turning streetwear into a much more than a trend or phase. If you are familiar (we are sure that most of you are) with designer brands such as Off-White and Vetements who are successfully marketing these style signatures, these brands have been recognized as the most prominent properties in the fashion industry and they’re not even slowing down!


Interested how this small fashion movement influenced the way we dress today? Keep on reading!

What is Streetwear?

Streetwear is well-associated with casual clothing that normally revolves, and links with niche urban subcultures and their correlated lifestyle. It is a way to depict comfortable clothing mainly by those following surf culture and skateboarding in Los Angeles. The wonderful thing about streetwear is that it’s a mix of culture and fashion. It’s not by accident when various brands plead to different subcultures.

Fashion and culture in streetwear are very much correlated with each other. Streetwear brands analyze trends by profiting on present-day events that impact human behavior such as skateboarding, music, and social media trends are all good examples.

The revenue of brands progresses as long as streetwear increases its popularity. Triumphant brands have a disparity with how they strategize their pricing. Frequently, the direction is, to begin with cheap pricing until the brand becomes recognized.

 

Shawn Stussy

We are sure that most of you are already familiar with who Shawn Stussy is. He was just a normal surfer back in the 80’s–the era where skating or surfing is known as “punks” who would dominate their humble neighborhoods. Streetwear always comes with a youthful influence because these people are the target.

Courtesy of hypebeast.com

How this started was when Stussy started creating streetwear tees by effortlessly printing his board logo onto shirts. Before, he was just earning from selling hand-made surfboards which weren’t enough, so selling t-shirts out of the back of his car became the moneymaker.

Most of the time the more the scarce and rare streetwear clothing is, you can be sure that it would be one of the most adored things in the world, with shoes and particular pairs of clothing that are priced over $500 a piece. Normally, either these items are customized, or they are released on a very limited scale.

Stussy is significantly the pioneer behind every single streetwear brand we know to this day. See, he was the first one who understood implied that having a limited number of pieces would increase for demand and he knows exactly that by having a unique design was necessary too (which plenty of aspiring streetwear designers are missing out).

FUBU

Short for “For Us, By Us”, is also a streetwear brand that was established in 1992 by Draymond John which rapidly became one of the biggest brands in the history of streetwear which represents the culture of hip-hop and African-American. The brand was established based on pride and self-identity that has built a strong emotional connection with its followers as a result.

Courtesy of kingstonbelle.com

What Draymond did to increase his brand’s growth is by taking out a mortgage on his own home to fund it. His confidence and self-investment have allowed him to expand the brand like a bushfire. Numerous artists with platinum-selling records wore the brand in magazines and music videos. This is one of the main reasons why so many people were captured by FUBU as it became a source of self-identity and pride, which many can relate to. The brand has produced over $350 million in revenue-making by 1998 and is still surviving today as one of the greatest enterprises in the history of streetwear.

SUPREME

Almost all of us already know this brand and how expensive it is. Supreme debuted in 1994, owned by James Jebbia that has gained popularity with skateboarders and music artists. You can say that this brand has taken gigantic risks using edgy designs and also releasing limited pieces that were speedily embraced by its skater-based followers. And for over 25 years, Supreme has progressively been one of the biggest streetwear brands globally.

Courtesy of theidleman.com

James Jebbia is not just a person who created Supreme, but he personally has this passion for skateboarding and a vision to provide skaters clothing that will embody their lifestyle. This pushed the brand to open a store in New York and featured branding clothing items around the borderline of the store, devoted to the heart of skateboarding. Jebbia has learned that skateboarding was the center and soul of its target audience and streetwear was the answer to that.

Like Stussy, Jebbia confidently understood the power of exclusivity. He used the term “FOMO”-fear of missing out-by only selling a limited amount of clothing pieces. Jebbia incorporated economics to his business by leveraging supply to increase demand and product prices. And surprisingly, look how Supreme became a billion-dollar brand!

The brand also has a multi-million dollar black market. Resellers of Supreme items sell items that they bought for more than double their original price. This is the reason why we cannot argue why Supreme has produced more demand for their products than any other streetwear brand in the world.

How it Became Mainstream

Although we can gratefully credit Supreme with playing a big role to move the streetwear trend forward, there are certain factors we need to consider. Fashion has allowed democratization where more people are participating in an industry that has historically had towering barriers to entry.

Since there is a smaller emphasis on needing to wear certain designer labels and anyone being open to launch their own fashion line, it only means that traditional gatekeepers no longer dictate the rules. Meanwhile, we can also imply another factor that the reason why more people are wearing streetwear clothing is that society’s dress codes have relaxed. It can also be that it’s becoming the logical way of dressing. For instance, no one goes out wearing a suit on a Friday, right?

On the Note

The huge question here is Will this trend last? We all know that fashion will always change and perhaps at some point, streetwear’s recognition might not work out soon. So what do you think? Would it go or stay? Let us know!

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Ivandrea Ollero
Ivandrea Ollero is a content writer who researches and writes custom content about home improvements, travel, finance, law, fashion, health, and beauty. She graduated from St. Scholastica's College, Manila, with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2016. Ivandrea provides helpful tips and hacks on various topics for her readers. If she's not in the mood to write, you can find her eating ice cream while listening to rap music.

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