Brands and Street Wear

While the term street wear might seem edgy or overly hipster, it has actually become a multi-billion dollar industry. It combines elements of fashion, music, art and culture to create a unique look.

The style first gained popularity in the ’90s among youth cultures such as hip-hop in New York, surf-skate culture in Los Angeles and the nightlife scene of Tokyo. Designers like James Jebbia and Shawn Stussy were influenced by the styles they saw in these subcultures as well as their travels overseas. Streetwear is also popular with artists and musicians who want to express their own creative identity through the clothing they wear. They often release their own line of branded T-shirts and accessories that reflect the anticulture and rough around the edges vibe of the genre.

For this reason, many established fashion brands have embraced street wear. From high-end brands such as Loro Piana and Officine Generale that craft cashmere baseball caps, to luxury retailers that now stock streetwear brands in their pajama departments, it seems that the industry has finally realised that streetwear isn’t just about ripped jeans and oversized knits, but a whole lifestyle.

Streetwear flips the traditional fashion model on its head by empowering consumers to dictate trends. Previously, designers and trend forecasters determined what styles made it to the runway, buyers decided what ended up in stores and magazine editors told consumers which trends to buy. Now, with streetwear’s mostly direct-to-consumer business model and social media driven culture, the consumer decides what is cool. This new power balance has resulted in an increase in brands embracing streetwear and tapping into its customer base.

Aside from incorporating a streetwear aesthetic, brands can take other cues from this subculture such as the importance of building community and brand loyalty. Creating an online community, whether it be through a Facebook group or TikTok audience, allows brands to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and build trust with them. This community can also serve as a platform to promote and sell merchandise through social channels such as Instagram.

Brand loyalty is key for streetwear companies and can be created through a range of activities, including offering exclusive product drops or promotions to loyal followers. By hosting a pop-up shop in a local location, brands can engage with their audiences and drive sales at the same time.

In a world where every user is a creator and can easily share content, it’s important for brands to build their social presence. By enabling users to upload photos and videos from their mobile device, brands can create engaging social content that’s backed by real-world customer data.

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