The Rise Of Designer Streetwear

Lately when we have been scrolling through the ‘gram, all we see are designer t-shirts, designer belts and designer sneakers everywhere! Luxury streetwear has now become the fashion norm of our generation and we are not sad about it!

Previously we only saw designer items on middle aged (and older) people who happened to be in the top 1 percent of the population, and could afford to spend upwards of 4 figures on accessories and clothing. Back then, designers were only producing traditional luxury items that seemed only suitable for formal events and never for the streets.

Designer brands are now targeting a younger demographic, which in turn is shifting the image of the luxury market. We no longer associate designer brands with maturity but now on trend and somewhat attainable for many more of us. 

The casualization of fashion is in full force as the crossover of athletic wear and high fashion reaches young and trend focused shoppers. This fashion seemingly developed from the growth of the hip-hop and skating culture where the youth look to their idol’s street style for inspiration. 

As said by Federica Levato, a partner at Bain & Company, “There are two factors driving this [growth in casual apparel]: firstly the trend of ‘casualization’ of the dress code in many companies that were traditionally more formal, and secondly the growing importance of millennials (Gen X, born 1980-1995) and Gen Z (born after 1995) as buyers of luxury goods.”

In the past few years we have also watched as the line between genders blur, where androgynous collections have begun to evolved on the high fashion runways and now no item of clothing belongs to one gender.

Casual apparel just has to be rare and make a statement for it to be desired. This rarity is established through its price tag and low quantities made on a regular basis to trickle in to stores. As stock slowly becomes available for purchase it creates a buzz for the brand, as eager customers wait for their limited, one of a kind purchase.

Demna Gvasalia, the creative director of Balenciaga, discussed in an interview with the Financial Times how luxury products have changed. “The emphasis has gone from quality and craftsmanship into the uniqueness of the product,” he said. “The younger generation are looking for something that stands out and makes them special rather than necessarily an amazing finish that you would find with some traditional brands.”

The appeal of buying designer items is that it differentiates individuals from every other millennial wearing regular chain store clothing. If we can afford luxury items then we will treat ourselves to feel a sense of individuality.

Last year’s sale figures are an indication of how popular the luxury street style has become. As mentioned by the management consulting firm Bain & Company’s 2017 report, it is estimated that the market for high-end sneakers grew 10% from 2016 to 2017, reaching €3.5 billion (about US$4.2 billion), and t-shirts grew 25% to €2.5 billion (about US$3 billion).”

When Vogue asked 5 online powerhouses about their top sellers in 2017, the logo t-shirt obviously ranked at the top, with the Gucci t-shirt being a stand out of the year. Customers are taking charge in the way they dress, sticking to personal style choices above what is trending for that season. Logo t-shirts are easy to wear and style, so in a world where many of us are time-poor it is a no brainer.

Looking at what people are wearing this season, it seems that luxury streetwear will continue to be on trend for the foreseeable future. When brands meet the needs of the millennials, it will no doubt be successful. We are just glad that this trend is super comfortable and practical, so we are all for it!

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