The leaves may not be changing and we’re only treated to such twice a year, but Yeezy Season is fast approaching. Though some may argue, “When is it not Yeezy season?” for there’s always a new sneaker drop, a The Life of Pablo cut, collaboration or a controversy. This phenomena is hard to avoid, and almost impossible not to embrace. High fashion influenced by streetwear is at the forefront of each and every Fashion week – and it’s time for to celebrate the hype culture.
Fashion and its ability to impact society will always run parallel. Life imitates art, after all, and the opposite is also true. Fashion has always looked to subculture but here the subcultures are being both appropriated and created by the luxury brands. In 2017, much like 2016, it appears the most exciting and influential brands are those paying homage and coming from The Street.
The brands changing the attitudes towards dressing are the ones that do not try too hard to be clever or conceptual. They don’t try to re-invent new garments and they don’t charge couture prices. What they are is aware of their market – but they mould their market season by season.
While the highstreet has always looked to the catwalks for inspiration, here we are seeing a reverse effect, the trickle up effect, if you will. This, in turn, makes the high street’s capability come full circle, and there is no need to lust after the unattainable anymore.
This accessibility then in turn leads to a shift in what people are actually wearing.
Though this makes us come across as impressionable, that’s exactly what we are, and this kind of cult following hasn’t happened in a very, very, long time. Thus, the ‘streetwear’ brands taking on luxury are proving to be more progressive in terms of influence than their traditional contemporaries. Still conceptual, the likes of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White creates narratives and complex concepts but channels this into desirable, covetable, affordable, and above all, wearable garments. Arguably the most exciting major brand of the minute, an all encompassing culture is created – as with most of the brands concerned – and that notion is more forward thinking yet currently relevant than most.
Collaboration is key, think Supreme x Louis Vuitton, for example. While it may have split opinions, what is does is prove high fashion’s respect for the culture that once ripped it off, and recognises its credibility and appeal. Want to sell more silk shirts? Add a box logo. When irony is done? Find a new way to be ironic. Rip-off culture in high fashion, now ironic for the rise of these brands, becomes symbolic of the culture and fashion’s associations.
At Vetements, Demna Gvasalia is changing and updating classics – hoodie sleeves are lengthened, shoulders are reformed and jeans cut and chopped to contemporary perfection, pushing boundaries of what it means to be wearable. Gvasalia has then taken this ethos and charged it through his work at Balenciaga; a house that is known for its evolution per creative head, this time the appointment of Gvasalia is furthering the street appeal through luxury fashion. Gosha Rubchinskiy and his soviet inspired namesake label take explicit inspiration from the teens in the streets of Russia, and with that have created an aesthetic; sporty, boyish, progressive of Normcore if we will, that is undeniably impacting the Way We Dress.
In the debate between leader and follower, streetwear will always win. For it is both an influencer and a response to youth culture and real people.
Words: Jess Lumb
Photography: Sam Wilson