On her: Undefeated baseball jacket from The Stussy Shop @ Alcoholiday, $179.90; American Apparel crop top, $35, American Apparel skirt, $159, both from PREVIEW at The Editor’s Market; New Balance sneakers from P.V.S, $99; Supreme beanie, from stylist; necklace, $39, from www.prowlwow.com. On him: shirt, $39.90, T-shirt, $129.90, Bounty Hunter hat, price unavailable, all from The Stussy Shop @ Alcoholiday; jeans from Bape, $489; Bounty Hunter glasses, $79.90; Nike Dunk Hi Pro SB from LE Way, $149. — Photos DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES; Fashion Stylist EVON CHNG; Fashion Assistant LAUREN TAN; Make-up & Hair MELISSA YEO using Urban Decay
Shimmery bomber jackets, structured parkas, leather baseball jerseys and baggy silhouettes – these were just some of the looks from last month’s Spring 2014 menswear shows as well as the women’s Resort 2014 collections in London, Paris and Milan.
Off the runway, street-style photographers captured off-duty models, fashion editors and the style savvy dressed in a combination of street and designer labels, mixing sneakers and snapback caps with suits, or beanies and oversized sweatshirts with dresses.
Streetwear has been rising in prominence in the fashion world of late, as designers incorporate street-inspired pieces into their collections, and the fashion crowd embrace a look once confined to skater boys and hip-hop musicians.
Designer labels such as Givenchy, Kenzo and Alexander Wang have become known for their street-savvy aesthetic – think Givenchy’s printed T-shirts and bomber jackets; Kenzo’s tiger-emblazoned sweatshirts and snapback caps; and Wang’s sweatpants and loose silhouettes.
On the rise of high-end streetwear, Mr Earn Chen, creative director of local multi-label boutiques Surrender at Raffles Hotel Arcade and Salon by Surrender at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, says: “It’s due to the new generation of designers such as Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy and Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton. Big fashion houses hired them to take their brands in a different direction.”
Mr Chen says that many of these designers come from a streetwear background or have heavy streetwear influences.
“Hedi Slimane is inspired by mod and indie subcultures, while Riccardo Tisci draws his inspiration from punk,” says Mr Chen, who declines to reveal his age. His stores carry brands such as popular streetwear labels Wtaps from Japan and Saturdays Surf NYC from New York, alongside high-end names such as Thom Browne and Maison Martin Margiela.
The streetwear trend has been fuelled by the myriad of celebrities seen working the style. American singer Rihanna is frequently photographed in oversized bomber jackets and beanies while rapper Kanye West is known for mixing Nike sneakers with Givenchy’s street-inspired pieces.
“Many hip-hop stars, such as Kanye West and Rihanna, are making the trend a mainstay in fashion right now,” says Mr Alvin Lim, who is in his 40s and owns local multi-label streetwear boutique Ambush at Mandarin Gallery.
On him: Hooded shirt, $489, blazer, $599, both from Bape; black jeans from Burberry, $340; Nike Air Force 1 Sneakers from Limited Edt Vault, $299; Undefeated snapback cap from The Stussy Shop @ Alcoholiday, $49.90. On her: Biker jacket from Burberry, $1,429; MinkPink bralet, $59, American Apparel blue jeans, $99, both from PREVIEW at The Editor’s Market; Haterz cap from P.V.S, $129; sneaker wedge from Giuseppe Zanotti, price unavailable. — Photos DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES; Fashion Stylist EVON CHNG; Fashion Assistant LAUREN TAN; Make-up & Hair MELISSA YEO using Urban Decay
Models such as Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delevingne are also frequently spotted in sporty chic off-duty looks – beanies, oversized printed T-shirts and designer It bags.
As Ms Linda Hao, 23, a fan of the trend and owner of local online womenswear store Yesah, points out: “Many runway models have been wearing a mix of designer and streetwear labels for many years now as part of their off-duty looks backstage and after the shows.”
Mr Andrew To, 34, who runs SomeDaze, the Singapore-based Japanese streetwear, fashion and culture website, adds that the widespread use of social media in recent years has given the streetwear trend even more of a global audience and is responsible for launching it into mainstream culture.
High fashion’s infatuation with streetwear is also an attempt to emulate the real-world appeal of streetwear.
“The fashion establishment gets inspiration from looking at how real people create their own fashion in the streets or in the clubs,” says Mr Lim.
Mr To adds: “A big reason why high-end designers have started hopping onto the streetwear bandwagon is because they want to be cool.
“Streetwear has always had the ‘cool kid’ factor. With expensive price tags, their items become highly coveted pieces as well.”
Certain streetwear labels, such as Supreme from New York and Neighbourhood from Japan, have attained cult-like status because the brands have limited distribution, with only a handful of stores in cities around the world.
One of the biggest aspects of the streetwear trend is the rise in popularity of sneakers, the official footwear of street style, says Mr Mark Ong, 34, a custom sneaker designer who operates under the moniker SBTG.
Mr Ong, who has designed capsule collections for Nike, says: “In recent years, sneaker companies have started to inject more of a fashion flavour into their designs. They have also collaborated with fashion designers to release special versions.”
For example, American streetwear brand Vans has collaborated with Kenzo; Nike with French fashion house A.P.C. and Opening Ceremony; and Adidas with American designer Jeremy Scott.
A spokesman for popular Boston-based sportswear brand New Balance says global sales for its casual sneakers have increased by 35 to 40 per cent over the past year, with prices for a pair of sneakers ranging from $89 to $299.
He also notes that in recent years, New Balance has drawn more discerning, high fashion-oriented customers. These customers, he says, are usually attracted to the high level of craftsmanship and heritage qualities of the brand’s Made in USA and Made in UK sneakers.
Here in Singapore, the high-fashion streetwear trend is popular mostly among 20-somethings.
Mr Lim says that sales at Ambush, which has been around since 2001 and stocks streetwear labels such as Ssur and Hood By Air from the United States, have gone up by 50 per cent over the past year.
He says that teenagers who grew up on streetwear are now adults with spending power, and are able to afford high-end streetwear. He declines to reveal sales figures but notes that customers are usually in their 20s and can spend anything from a hundred to thousands of dollars. Prices at the store range from $90 for a cap by American brand 40ozNYC to $1,070 for a pair of jeans from Japanese label Whiz JP.
This trend is also reflected over at Givenchy, although its spokesman in Singapore declines to reveal sales figures. “We’re now seeing more young, streetwear-conscious customers in our store, apart from the usual affluent fashionistas.”
The mainstream appeal of dressed-up streetwear, according to fans of the look, lies in its casual but stylish appearance and wearability.
Mr Jamie Png, 32, owner of local clothing store, Inc, says: “Dressing in high fashion can be a little too excessive for daily wear, in terms of cost and appearance. The combination of streetwear and high fashion creates something more wearable.”
It is a “win-win situation”, says Mr Lim, as consumers are presented with more variety now with streetwear and high fashion mixing things up.
Adds Mr Ong: “Being associated with high fashion provides streetwear with sophistication and quality. Most people feel good being associated with a bit of luxury.”
Expert tips for nailing the look
Tips provided by fashion stylists Martin Wong and Evon Chng
1 Start by incorporating comfortable, fuss-free pieces into your wardrobe. For example, an oversized T-shirt is a simple streetwear staple to start with. Also, accessories such as baseball caps or beanies will instantly add the streetwear factor to any outfit.
2 For men, try wearing sneakers with a suit or matching casual streetwear pieces with menswear, such as a blazer with a hoodie.
3 For women, to avoid looking too much like a tomboy, try incorporating a feminine element into your outfit, such as through your choice of colours in clothing and accessories.
4 Know your proportions. Streetwear tends to have a looser fit so shorter people should avoid looser fit pants as they can make them look pudgy.
5 Avoid piling on too many things as not everyone is able to pull off heavy layering. Keep it simple by sticking to a maximum of two layers.
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on July 19, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.