The future of streetwear is community rather than subculture

The future of streetwear is community rather than subculture

The lines between streetwear, luxury and fashion are blurring, in part thanks to how consumers access and interpret information.

“To talk about streetwear, it’s really important to define streetwear,” Highsnobiety editor Thom Bettridge told Project Las Vegas during a seminar on the category.

Although the classic definition of streetwear ties the fashion genre to club music, skateboarding, and hip-hop, fashion watchers would be remiss to dig the category solely at youth culture. In a period that saw street style come to a standstill, demand for loungewear and tastemakers like Ye grabbed hold of Balenciaga and latex masks, the streetwear label now means a lot to many demographic groups.

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“I think one definition that we talk about a lot is the idea that streetwear is something that’s tied to design and consumer behavior in the internet age,” Bettridge said. Regarding “cultural fit,” he said streetwear brands are now defined by how they appear on platforms like Instagram or TikTok, where they grow their community instead of trying to capture the audience. everyone’s attention.

“Brands have much less control over their own messaging than before,” Bettridge said. “But I think a lot of brands are starting to realize that if they can find ways to show up in people’s lives where they’re most interested, they can suddenly take on new meaning.”

In-game fashion is a space where brands like Balenciaga, which created digital fashion for the Fortnite gaming platform in 2021, are strengthening their connection with consumers. When fashion brands first appeared in video games, Bettridge said the gamer was unlikely to encounter the brand for the first time. But by being in a place that interests the consumer, brands can “redefine” their relationship.

Showing up in unconventional places means that streetwear now has a broader generic definition that can be applied to more styles of clothing, as it is no longer limited to specific subcultures.

Luxury or “new luxury,” Bettridge said, are categories that benefit from the ubiquitous nature of streetwear. “For a lot of young people, streetwear is synonymous with luxury,” he said, noting that luxury brands copy the characteristics of streetwear.

Here, “knowing rather than possessing” is the key. “I think a lot of the way we interact with fashion these days doesn’t involve buying things,” he said. “We think of fashion as a kind of hobby and follow it almost like…people who love sports watch ESPN, even if they don’t play sports.”

This “passion for fashion,” he added, is just as valuable as the flexibility of an actual purchase.



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