British streetwear, versus American streetwear trends. Who influences who?

TO start, I’d like to make the point that there is a clear separation between streetwear, and general street-wear. Streetwear in my eyes is more towards the specified interest in fashion; this includes such cult followed brands such as Supreme, Stussy, Palace, Nike, and Bape, as examples. These brands have built up powerful reputations through globalisation and staying true to their roots (Bape could be argued by the hardcore ‘Bapehead’), and progressively gathering more interest through collaborations; a prime example is Bape crossing over into sportswear by working with Puma. General street-wear is far less exclusive, with retailers to be found on the high street and more than likely self-branded produce rather than the brands noted above.

Now as I link back to the original topic, I feel that the biggest influence in streetwear and fashion globally right now is the music industry. Social networking plays a role in identifying trends- for example, SS15 was built on pastel and earthy colours, tucking shirts and staying as monotone as possible. As shown by A$AP Rocky below.

Being in the limelight means that Rocky has the ability to both enhance, and reduce the impact certain brands have on U.S. fashion, as well as the UK’s. This was the case with the Hood By Air diss in ‘Multiply’, leading to a clear reduction in sales. A positive impact from music can be seen with Kanye West, the self proclaimed fashion guru whom signed contracts with Adidas last year to release YEEZY season clothing, and footwear for the next 6 years. Not only has this increased sale of Adidas products to a record high in footwear, but with this came a completely new hype that had never been linked to any Adidas line prior; inevitably leading to queues of Sneakerheads lining the street of Oxford St. London for 3-4 nights with the object of obtaining a pair. Many left empty handed and disappointed, enforcing the pure influence that West can have worldwide.

Virgil Abloh, founder of both OFF WHITE and PYREX has a lot to thank the music industry for. A$AP Mob, Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, Chris Brown and lastly Tyga have all been captured wearing OFF WHITE attire- in Europe this was followed by the creation of ‘OFF WHITE TALK UK/EU’; a place to buy, sell, and ID piece of Abloh’s clothing. I feel as though this would not have been possible without the American music industry’s influence on not only British fashion trends, but to the scale of Europe- and certainly Asia.

Moving away from music now, but staying with social networking and Internet forums as a whole; Europe can actually influence the U.S. in a number of ways. The main way is through, in my opinion, The Basement Facebook group. This collective of Streetwear enthusiasts 22,000 strong share topics from ‘LPU’ (Latest Pick Up), ID on pieces worn by celebrities or general fashion icons, and even release information leading to queue updates at certain drops. As a whole, the community is constantly growing and progressing. Articles in Complex, Hypebeast, The Daily Street and Dazed Digital have charged mass interest from Europe, the main audience of the group; and most recently an American following. The articles noted above were written following the Basement pop-up shop on Peter Street, in Soho. This event brought together hundreds, even thousands of members whilst attracting evidently global attention from influential magazine based in the U.S… hence how the UK/Europe is currently influencing American street fashion trends.

The gap between international streetwear trends is slowly shrinking, with influence coming slightly less from models themselves- but now Music artists, social networks, and even just the increase in events that are widely accessible. Next up, Crepe City; Europe’s largest sneaker gathering.

Links for thought:

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