Monday, February 7, 2011

History of Streetwear On a Personal Level

Streetwear Grew Up I remember when streetwear was not my thing, but this was around the birth of this era (mid-90’s to mid-2000’s), when “streetwear” was the attire generally frowned upon by society and defined as “ghetto” and hip-hop centered. However, like hip-hop, streetwear culture has totally evolved transforming itself into something of a cultural sponge. It has taken all the cool bits and pieces of other popular cultures and combined them to make a bridge that blends different styles together. Baggy jeans are obsolete. Jerseys are now limited to sporting events. The hoodies, chains, and “fitteds” that were once looked upon with disdain have now become the exact remnants that many attribute to the very essence of this new definition of urban style. Streetwear has gained an intellect, a wit about it. And the beauty of it all… streetwear has managed to keep its grasp on the grit that spawned its movement while creating an ever-progressive, fresh trajectory for the future.
Let’s be honest, streetwear is defined completely differently than it was five years ago. There is so much variety that it has surpassed its street roots. It’s not that the culture is becoming uppity. Streetwear has matured. It’s taking the trends and making them gritty. Gone are the days of wearing clothes at least three sizes too big for you. Streetwear has gained coordination that surpasses those dated attempts of fashion. Streetwear is a style. Yeah, I said it, style. Baggy pants and tall tees were not style. A Crooks & Castles pullover, Benny Gold jeans, and a pair of Supra Muskas, that’s style. It’s all about personalizing your look. There is literally a label for everyone to create a contemporary yet urban influenced aesthetic. So, there is no excuse to be dressing like you’ve been living under a rock since 2006.
Now, best way to see this new definition of urban style is to look at the tees because if you’re anything like me, it’s the first thing you notice in a person’s wardrobe. Then, you say to yourself, “Man, I MUST get that shirt.” I can’t mince words; its apparent streetwear borrowed some inspiration from the skater scene by adding more artistic merit into what goes on your back. Skater culture is reputed with the incredible art of expression with notes of graffiti and other associated surfer/skater attributions, and so is streetwear culture. It was only inevitable that these two concepts marry to create some of the best brands offered today. These t-shirts are more like walking graphic design exhibitions that use needles and threads as opposed to ink and spray paint. There is some real printmaking magic happening at labels like RockSmith, Crooks & Castles, and LRG. However, my favorite tee right now would have to be The Burr T-shirt by RockSmith. Yeah, it’s simple, but this is a great example of that wit I mentioned earlier. It’s a Gucci Mane inspired t-shirt, but Gucci is not the most aesthetically pleasing person to have on display. So, what RockSmith does is take the images and fonts associated with luxury label, Gucci, to imply that you are wearing a t-shirt about Gucci Mane, himself. It’s sophisticated irony. Plus, it says “burrr” with a little Gucci Mane caricature holding duffle bags. Is that not the dopest thing you ever heard?!
See, streetwear is upwardly mobile. Your favorite rapper is wearing Crooks right now. I bet your neighbor is ordering a snapback off the Fly Times website (You should too, by the way). I mean, I saw an Asian kid, the other day, rocking 10 Deep, and I high-fived him. He deserved it. Streetwear is a positive epidemic. It will continue because there are always new ideas and new designers trying to keep the streets alive. All the cool kids want a piece. This is great because it means people are getting smart and dressing better which will, in turn, aid in a better world for all of us. Seriously. A secret scientist has proven it.

--Worded by: Sequoia Barnes

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