One might assert that street fashion defies aesthetic definition since it’s a style that picks on the heartbeat of what happens in the streets at any given time. But that can be said, more or less, for every category of style to have ever existed. Themes emerge out of identifiable patterns that occur either in isolation or in connection to one another, forming styles that may sometimes be hard to describe in words, but can be recognized when observed. And since style is never a static phenomenon, it evolves as it undergoes transformations to accommodate current ideas and concepts.
Street fashion started as a subculture that prioritized self-expression over trends imposed by external forces. Interestingly enough, authenticity in that sense is not undermined by pursuing prestige. If anything, brands such as off-white have proven that it is possible to find that sweet spot between staying true to yourself and being desirable and luxurious.
Given all the above, there are certain aesthetics and elements that make up the image of street fashion and we are going to explore its themes to help you find your version of urban style look.
Youthfulness at the Core
To stifle the idea right out of the bat, street fashion is not constricted by age, nor it’s exclusive to a certain demographic, but its philosophy of existence is intertwined with youthful energy. It has its roots in the carefree and adventurous spirit of the young manifested in sports and music. It owes its image to the subcultural movements, from the surfers in the west and the skateboarders in the east to hip-hop, punk, and graffiti art with a central idea of rejecting the society’s dominant set of values, trends, and rules.
When you want your outfit to represent your independence as an individual, it is natural to roll up your sleeves and get into the DIY mentality. Whether you come up with your own designs for your t-shirts which has become increasingly easier to print and produce, or mix and match various articles of clothing to come up with something both unique and special, street fashion is in part about experimenting with the fashion norms and borrowing from the contemporary art by incorporating pop-culture graphics and elements to make a statement.
Comfort and Flexibility
When we think urban fashion, things like crew necks, oversize sweatshirts, hoodies, sneakers, t-shirts, hats, baggy denim, and general loose-fitting garments come to mind. Basically, anything that doesn’t get in the way of movement and comfort is embraced.
Comfort and flexibility are pivotal in street style fashion and it is very common to see the combination of elements from sportswear, outdoor, and casual apparel in it. One of the reasons why streetwear has been ever-present since its inception is because of its extreme fluidity which is an inclusive quality that appeals to any lifestyle. So don’t be afraid to play with what is comfortable and already accessible to you, and to incorporate your interests into your clothing choices.
Sneakers have always been a focal point in the world of street fashion. The sneaker culture can be viewed as an intersection between the basketball and hip-hop cultures which were intrinsically connected through the same demographic group that cherished them. Nowadays, the sneaker culture has transcended its initial boundaries and the demand for them is so high that many luxury brands in the highest levels of the fashion industry have associated themselves with the scene by producing their own flavors of sneakers tailored towards the streetwear audience. Today, we can see all sorts of sneaker models from high and upmarket fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Versace, and Prada. Sneakers might be the most expensive part of a street fashion look, but they are unequivocally one of the most iconic aspects of it.
Hype and Scarcity
No conversation about streetwear is complete without mentioning the hype machine that moves it forward. An unprecedented devotion to brand names and the hypebeasts’ infatuation with tracking down limited-edition products is in the DNA of street fashion in this day and age. While you don’t have to spend a fortune to nail the streetwear style, having a designer item or two in your wardrobe can take the level of your style to another level. This is the kind of thing that you see in haute couture as well.
It is safe to say that streetwear has almost completely taken over the fashion industry. Gone are the days when fashion was predominantly reserved for a specific class of society who frowned upon whoever dared to enter the scene and have a say. Thanks to streetwear and the advent of social media that propelled it to the industry’s forefronts, everyone now has access to exclusive fashion. The urban style fashion is about having aspirations while being comfortable in your own skin.