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Streetwear Market Breakdown | What’s Next for Luxury Streetwear Brands?

The History of Streetwear

According to HypeBeast, streetwear is “fashionable casual clothes”. This simplified definition should not undermine the impact and magnitude of this category in the fashion industry. It has become a staple of modern fashion. This now famed style can be traced back to the 80s and 90s within the Hip Hop and funk scenes of New York with slight influences also from the surfing and skating community of Los Angeles.  At this time the Hip Hop culture was in its prime and there was no fashion to represent it. Traditional luxury fashion brands at the time were not equipped or interested in providing styles to outfit this community. So, within this community emerged their own style and therefore their own brands that were built on what represented them best. Similar to luxury fashion, the success of a streetwear label depends on the position they have as cultural symbol statuses. Factors such as casual fashion and community becoming so popular have helped allow streetwear to become such a large movement in the fashion space.  Stussy and Supreme are examples of pioneer brands in the streetwear space that were some of the first to emerge with this successful fashion that so keenly represented the skateboarding, punk, and hip hop communities.

Specifically the rise of hip hop music in the 1980s played a significant role in the emergence and success of streetwear. The clothing that was worn by these hip hop artists included mostly baggy pants, oversized shirts, and sneakers. This trend at the time became very popular among young people. You can later see brands such as Adidas, Puma. and Nike capitalizing on this trend by creating the footwear and clothing lines that catered so well to the hip hop market. Skateboarding played their own influence in this development of streetwear fashion. Skateboarding as a community valued individuality, creativity, and self-expression. This was reflected in the clothing worn by skateboarders. You can see in this space specifically brands such as Vans and Thrasher were some of the first to curate clothing for this demand. Clothing that was both functional and considered stylish by this culture. Punk was also a subculture that played some role in the emergence of streetwear. They also valued individuality while also encouraging rebellion and anti-establishment ventures. Brands such as Doc Martens, Converse, and Levis became popular among the punk crowd and were eventually incorporated into other streetwear enthusiasts.

Later, in the 1990s you can see high-end designers catching on to this movement of streetwear and start incorporating these styles into their collections. You can see this in brands such as Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger as they do this to increase their own popularity. Today, streetwear is as popular as ever and continues to push the boundaries of fashion and style. They have built this high demand and success on exclusivity and highly-coveted limited edition collections.

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Defining Streetwear 

Streetwear style is a fashion movement that combines elements of hip-hip, skateboarding, and athletic wear to create a unique and desirable look. It is characterized to be a combination of comfortable, casual, and stylish clothing. It is known for usually being oversized with bold large graphics on the clothing pieces. Streetwear has become a global cultural phenomenon as recognized and embraced by all people, regardless of age, gender, and cultures. 

Well known streetwear brands include Supreme, Off-White, Addias, and A Bathing Ape (BAPE). These brands have established themselves as leaders in the streetwear market by creating innovative designs that push the boundaries of fashion and style. They often collaborate with other brands and artists to create limited-edition collections that are highly sought after by streetwear enthusiasts.

Lesser known streetwear brands also exist and have gained a following among these streetwear fanatics who want to be fashion forward in this space. Examples include Brain Dead, Palace Skateboards, and Carhartt WIP. These brands also have a unique take on fashion that sets themselves apart from mainstream streetwear brands. They, too, collaborate with other brands and artists to create the sought after limited edition collections.

Streetwear style is not defined by a specific look or style per say but rather a combination of clothing pieces and accessories that are worn in a certain way to create a distinct look. It is a cultural phenomenon that is both comfortable and cool while its popularity continues to grow substantially worldwide. 


Market Changes and Trends 

The streetwear market has experienced significant changes over the years, driven by demographic trends and consumer preferences. According to market research, the streetwear market has seen significant growth in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.6% between 2019 and 2025. This growth is expected to continue, with the market projected to reach $204.3 billion by 2025.

One of the significant demographic trends driving the growth of the streetwear market is the increasing influence of millennials and Gen Z. These generations have a strong interest in fashion and are more likely to value individuality and self-expression. They are also more likely to be influenced by social media, which has played a significant role in the promotion and marketing of streetwear brands.

Another trend in the streetwear market is the growing popularity of sustainability and ethical fashion. Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry and are seeking out brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical production practices. Many streetwear brands have responded to this trend by incorporating eco-friendly materials and production processes into their designs.

In addition, the rise of streetwear-inspired designs from mainstream fashion brands has also impacted the streetwear market. Many high-end fashion brands are incorporating streetwear elements into their collections, blurring the lines between streetwear and high-end fashion. This trend has opened up new opportunities for collaborations and partnerships between streetwear and fashion brands.

In conclusion, the streetwear market has undergone significant changes in recent years, driven by demographic trends and changing consumer preferences. The growth rate of the market has been substantial, and it is expected to continue to grow in the future. All of these demographic trends listed have all contributed to these changes. As the streetwear market continues to evolve, brands will need to stay attuned to these trends to remain relevant and successful in the industry.

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Creating a Successful Streetwear Brand

The luxury streetwear industry is a highly competitive space where brands must find ways to stand out and stay relevant to attract and retain customers. With population growth and rising demand for high fashion, brands must ensure that they are meeting customer expectations and staying up to date with trends and preferences. The key things that a brand should ensure they are doing to remain relevant in the luxury streetwear industry in 2023 are as follows.

Quality of Product

One of the most important things that a brand must prioritize is the quality of their products. Customers in this industry expect a high standard of craftsmanship and materials used in their clothing. Brands should ensure that their products meet these expectations by using high-quality materials and focusing on the details of their designs.

Clear Mission or Cause

A clear mission or cause that a brand stands for is essential to connect with customers on a deeper level. Brands should consider the values and beliefs of their target market and develop a mission or cause that resonates with them. Customers are increasingly looking for brands that align with their values and beliefs, and a clear mission or cause can help a brand build a strong connection with their customers.

Thoughtful Business Model

A thoughtful business model is another key factor that can help a brand stand out in the luxury streetwear industry. Brands should consider sustainability, ethical production practices, and fair wages for workers when developing their business model. Customers are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of fashion on the environment and society, and brands that prioritize these factors are more likely to resonate with their customers.

Effective Marketing

Effective marketing is critical in the luxury streetwear industry. Brands must create a strong brand image that resonates with their target market and effectively communicate their message through various channels. Social media is an essential marketing tool in this industry, and brands should maintain an active presence on these platforms to engage with their customers and build brand awareness.

Staying Up To Date with Trends and Performance

Staying up to date with current trends and customer preferences is essential to remain relevant in the luxury streetwear industry. Brands should research and analyze the latest trends and customer preferences to ensure that their products and marketing strategies are in line with these trends.

Excellent Customer Service

Exceptional customer service is essential in the luxury streetwear industry. Brands should focus on building strong relationships with their customers by providing excellent customer service, responding to customer inquiries and feedback promptly, and offering personalized recommendations and experiences.

About the Blanks 

Working with a trusted supplier who aligns with the values of the streetwear brand is key in a successful streetwear brand. Blanks, even though often overlooked, are a key element to a brand. The quality of the blanks speaks volumes about the quality of the brand, as it is the physical garment that will be worn. Even though the design is usually the main point of focus, the quality and type of blanks chosen will either help communicate a brand’s worth to their clients or hurt it. Working with a supplier such as Original Favorites takes out a lot of the guesswork in choosing the right blanks for your luxury streetwear brand. You can communicate both the quality of the physical garment and the sustainability of it as well. As discussed, this goes a long way in the main audience of streetwear and is highly valued in the streetwear community. In order to flourish, you must match or elevate your brand with the appropriate garment blanks.

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