I’D like to start by pointing out that, beside the enormous growth in the resell market, streetwear and fashion have become more prominent in every day life whether it be direct, or indirect to ourselves. Personally, I had never paid resell until early 2016; working within retail and luck of the draw meant I managed to secure many of the pairs dropping throughout the year for retail price, including two of four Yeezy 350 Boost colour ways. There are, however, a majority whom are not as fortunate as myself. Undoubtably, a reason for resell thriving is the constant collaborative releases- from Don C x Jordan Brand to Balmain x H&M, if it involved a major brand, name, or limited numbers then it automatically sold out. I will be coming back to the topic of collaborations later on in this article, after a categorical review on how 2015 panned out.
First of all, a strong area to start within (and staying relevant to resellers) would be to talk about the best sneaker releases. Now, this will be based purely on personal preference to keep it separate from other reviews. With 2015 being the 25th Anniversary of the Gel Lyte III silhouette, it would only be fitting to mention the 12 memorable collaborations that released monthly in limited numbers of 1990. There are three that stood out above the rest in terms of quality, detail and general colour choices; luckily the trio are part of my personal collection. In terms of colourway, ‘Squad’ by Footpatrol London was executed in fantastic fashion down to the slightest detail, with a golden speckled outsole giving a premium feel to the olive suede upper. In second place, Japanese sneaker store Mita released the ‘Far East’ colourway of which led the competition details-wise. By adding subtle changes to the OG silhouette such as a heel tab and piping to surround the toe box, this release (as pictured below) gives off a very different impression to the 11 others; similarly to the WOEI ‘Cervidae’ Gel Lyte III. A prime example where details are everything. In third place, and a very close contender for second comes from the US store Packer, whom gave us the ‘Dirty Buck’ colour way. Inner lining is a heavily overlooked aspect of sneakers in the modern day, so this particular pair enters the top 3 based on quality alone. The leather lining is of such a high caliber, it’s almost a shame knowing it will not stay as supple through wear. To change the brand topic, Adidas revolutionised the game completely with Boost Technology. Kanye West’s promotion of the Ultra Boost model now means that being fashionable can be comfortable; not to mention that the combination was used within his signature models. Last of all, Diadora were consistently strong throughout the year; powerful colour ways coming from Solebox, Ronnie Fieg and Packer in particular. The stand out colour way for many was the Raekwon x Packer N9000’Purple Tape’, and I would have to agree in this case. The colour blocking, combined with history behind the name make these a must have before the end of 2016.
To conclude this segment, my top 5 releases of 2015 were:
- Asics x FP ‘Squad’
- Adidas Yeezy 350 Boost ‘Turtle Dove’
- Diadora N9000 x Packer x Raekwon ‘Purple Tape’
- Asics x Mita ‘Far East’
- Asics x Packer ‘Dirty Buck.
After footwear, the next topic is naturally clothing; in particular which brands released my favourite collaborative clothing line between January and December. This year a few milestones were formed by major brands working with each other; Palace x Adidas, Supreme x TNF, and the most recent and possibly cleanest being the Patta x Stussy FW15 Christmas drop. This included a number of sweats, hoodies, tees, accessories and even a heavyweight, waterproof jacket which capped off the collection perfectly (pictured below). The dark pastel colour way is one of which Patta NL are very familiar with, having been used on a number of pieces in previous seasons; when brought together with his jacket model however it really shines. The only competitor I feel, in terms of aesthetic qualities can be Adidas x Yeezy Season 1. This, although a completely different type of streetwear as prices lean heavily towards high end categorisation, was the most influential apparel drop in recent history. The use of earth-based tones were seasonally relevant, which over the hype may have been a reason for the style being so popular. Tapered sweatpants became a common look, as did heavy layering- both of which work well in the cooler climates of winter. Season 1 had a major short-coming however, as I mentioned above the price tags were very high. This removed the availability aspects that the Patta x Stussy collection highlighted, and therefore bringing me to this conclusion- not to mention that high end fashion is much more difficult to style attractively whereas streetwear is FAR more versatile. Patta and Stussy released the best collaborative streetwear collection of 2015.
To put a small twist on proceedings, here is my verdict on the worst collaboration of this year; and to many it may come as a surprise. Initially, back in March Puma released teaser shots of their collection with BAPE. From these shots, the Disc Blaze sneaker model seemed as though it was the pinnacle of perfection when looking back through Puma sneaker releases; not to mention the full camouflage football kit which stood out for obvious reasons. When the date finally arrived in early December, in hand I assessed the football kit which led to pleasant surprise- quality was impressive in comparison to recent BAPE products, though I do assume that this was because of the Puma blanks used during production. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel the same about the sneakers in any way, shape or form. Quality was poor; an example of this is the Disc system breaking within a matter of minute on foot. Another aspect that I felt let down by was the suede used to cover the toe box, it was almost carpet-like and not what I would be expecting from a premium collab at £139. To conclude, this resulted in a returned product after 30 minutes. Yes, there are nice pieces that came from the collection; the velvet bomber springs to mind, but this could have been finished with a lot more finesse. I couldn’t help but think this was a half-baked effort… poor to say the least.
As this write-up comes to a close, positive points should really be brought to the surface. New York based brand Noah opened their online retail space in late 2015, the designs created by ex-Supreme designer Brendon Babenzien were highly anticipated with many selling out immediately- just like Supreme. Again, much like Supreme, quality within these products is high; with a very basic and plain red cross (reminiscent of the iconic Knights Templar cross) forming the standard logo. 2016 is going to be a break-through year for Babenzien’s vision, I personally hope to pick up a number of tees and headwear accessories to suit my Summertime outfits. Here, simplicity is key.
To conclude this article, 2015 has been a revolutionary year for street-fashion. Resell isn’t just a bit of extra money anymore, it’s more of a community event, maybe even a street lifestyle? Nobody is a fan of selling above retail for personal gain, but at the end of the day this is exactly how retail works; it’s how money is made. Put the hours in and you can purchase for retail, put the hours in and you may purchase for resell, it all works in the same way. Brand-wise, I’d like to see quieter names such as Cav Empt become more popular, seeing as their designs are consistently impressive with very attractive features. Stussy would be nice to see become very popular again; personally I love their minimalist pieces, so if these were to take hold of a complete collection then I feel it may build up an enormous customer base within streetwear fanatics as it once had. Most of all, I hope 2016 tops last year, it has a challenge ahead!