Fashion and culture in streetwear, featuring perspectives from Milan, Paris, and London

Streetwear is a term that is frequently used without giving it any thought as to what it actually means, what ideals it upholds, or where it originated. With a basic understanding and consensus that most people subscribe to, many fashion genres can be described. Luxury from high-street, bespoke from rapid fashion, and formal from casual clothing can be distinguished rather easily. However, it might be challenging to describe fashion subgenres that are formed and selected by consumers rather than being created for them.

To design and market top-selling collections that are not only current but also eternal rule-breakers, it is crucial to understand what streetwear is, where it came from, and what it means to community insiders. Streetwear influencers, editors, and stylists are a voice of recognised authority because of its community-based character; as a result, they make excellent brand partners. Streetwear is a versatile fashion category that allows innovative brands to communicate important messages to the globe via their designs.

Unintentional Fashion Pioneers 

What is Streetwear?

According to Hypebeast, streetwear is defined as “fashionable, casual clothes,” although this definition contradicts the “multi-billion dollar” industry that streetwear has grown into. In the 1990s, streetwear as we know it today first appeared in Japan’s nightlife, New York’s hip-hop scenes, and Los Angeles’ surf-skate and graffiti communities. According to James Jebbia, “the young skaters in New York were absolutely the effect on me as a designer. visiting Japan as well as admiring their fantastic fashion. a journey to London. It was a mix of those things. With their companies Supreme and Stüssy, designers Jebbia and Shawn Stussy helped establish streetwear in the US, while Nigo and Hiroshi Fujiwara, also known as “the godfather of Harajuku,” spearheaded the movement on the other side of the Pacific.

Given that streetwear is a cultural phenomena, it is critical to see it as a movement rather than a fashion trend. The hip-hop artist, the skateboarder, and the rebel were the target markets for the 90s graphic t-shirts, baggy pants, and statement sneakers. Many traditional labels refused to clothe particular athletes or singers in the 1980s and 1990s, leaving the community with no choice except to create their own apparel and define what fashion meant to them. In an interview from last year, Virgil Abloh described this cultural shift, saying, “I grew up in the 80s and 90s and in that generation we had our own idea of what a fashion designer is, and we had our own idea of what a musician was.”

Streetwear is still dominated by a close-knit community of musicians, skaters, artists, and now social media influencers that design clothing and curate looks as a form of self-expression, culture, and communal knowledge.

An Ever Growing Movement

Why is everyone talking about streetwear?

Over the past couple decades, streetwear has become more popular in mainstream fashion. Unlike most other fashion subgenres, businesses did not drive this expansion; rather, consumers who wanted to “in” on the exclusivity of streetwear clothes sought out labels. Streetwear’s distinguishing characteristics are exclusivity in the form of capsule collections, limited editions, and creative partnerships. Limited editions are a common sales strategy used by luxury firms today in an effort to increase the perception of exclusivity among customers.

In the past, luxury firms used autocratic top-down communication and high price points to convey the idea of exclusivity. Streetwear has taught the business that, instead of raising prices, limited editions do foster a sense of exclusivity. Established luxury fashion businesses are launching streetwear-influenced collections more frequently. Traditional brands have been inspired to design “fashionable, casual clothes” by names like Off-White, Nike, Balenciaga, and Palace.

What is a streetwear collaboration?

In 2017, Louis Vitton and Supreme collaborated on a collection that was unequaled and was dubbed “one of the collaborations of the century” by GQ. Given that the Air Diors were described as “the most-wanted trainers of all time” by British Vogue, it is no surprise that Jones has blessed sneakerheads once again this year with Dior x Jordan. The definition of streetwear is inevitably evolving as the market for streetwear apparel expands. For instance, the male looks started to be worn with a dramatic feminine touch as more women started to embrace streetwear. Due to this, there was a gap in the market for streetwear companies operated by women who catered to the needs of the women who had been dressing like males. This is one of the causes of how unisex streetwear seems nowadays.

Insight from the Fashion Capitals: London, Paris, and Milan


Stylist and visual artist Simone Beyene, 25, uses photography and film in her work. She is currently Mabel’s stylist and will complete her studies at Central Saint Martins in the summer of 2019.

It has been amazing to be around the music scene since it has a significant impact on streetwear, particularly in London because it is such a vibrant and enjoyable city. Skate culture, in my opinion, has a significant influence on what we would now classify as streetwear. There are companies in London like Palace and Places+Faces that got their start as young men making t-shirts. For me, a printed t-shirt that has undergone a million washes is the foundation of streetwear. Streetwear includes a lot of rock culture and band t-shirts, but it also has bright colors and graphics that are little wacky or quite amusing.

Streetwear in London is also influenced by early New York hip-hop and the attire of rappers in the 1980s and 1990s. Many skate-loving musicians, such Pharrell, were well-known to manufacturers as pals, allowing these companies to just hand out clothing. I believe that’s why streetwear has become so popular and has exploded: we all want to appear like the celebrities we like or the individuals we adore. Especially considering how widely music is distributed.

What I find to be particularly intriguing is that I consider streetwear to be more of a unisex style. It’s entertaining to play with proportions, crop baggy clothing, and create feminine shapes to make big items more girly. Women’s streetwear includes a lot of “matchy-matchy” tracksuits and crop tops with gold body jewelry, and we saw a lot of it in the late ’90s with celebrity hip-hop firms.


Creative director, press contributor, and influencer Selma Kaci Sebbagh. Numerous prestigious newspapers have taken notice of her outstanding sneaker collection, which she often highlights on Instagram.

Streetwear is difficult to characterize right now in 2020; ten years ago, I would argue, it was simpler to do so. Streetwear is something that can be shared because it can be worn by both men and women, and it can be mixed. I formerly believed that the phrase “streetwear” might be derogatory in some sense since it might be a convenient way for people to describe something as fashionable. Streetwear is not just a big logo with no significance behind it; it is wearing the brands that are behind the clothing. Given how crucial it is to consider the effects on the environment, I frequently ask clothing brands where their garments are created and how they are made.

More and more women’s brands are thriving, particularly through social media, which is altering how streetwear is defined. We might have a different perspective on style and streetwear when we see that girls and women are truly able to choose how they wish to dress every day. It prevents businesses from becoming exclusive so that they can help us more, which I believe is fantastic.


Editor Amanda Margiaria works for i-D Italy, one of the most renowned periodicals in Italy that focuses on streetwear culture and fashion. She covers a wide range of topics, including culture, politics, music, and industry news in addition to fashion weeks.

Due to the wide range of social strata and subcultures that Milanese streetwear represents, there is no one description for this fashion. Milanese influencers, Milanese hype-kids, and Milanese skaters all dress in streetwear, yet their outfits have little in common with one another. But all of these people’s attitudes exhibit the fil rouge. They dress how they do because it is a certain statement. Their clothes say:

We don’t want to homologate to the Italian style, something you’d associate to tailor-made suits, eccentric hats, and the Pitti Peacocks. We are unique, we are outcasts and we wear streetwear because we want to be underdressed in every social situation.

The message you want to send through your streetwear is everything. Wearing streetwear indicates that you reject societal expectations. The main characteristic of streetwear will always be the rejection of social standards from whence it sprang. However, from a style perspective, I believe that streetwear is moving toward more distinctive and eco-friendly apparel and accessories because, really, what could be better than an Off-White sweater? a sweater made to order from used Off-White fabric. Streetwear will continue to be something unique while also being very democratic since, as we indicated in a recent piece, a political and social commitment is of the utmost significance if this style wants to remain relevant. Streetwear will only survive if the expectations of the customers are realized.

Listen to the People 

It is obvious that streetwear can no longer be characterized as a “urban style” or something that is inapplicable to well-known fashion Maisons as it becomes more and more entrenched in the mainstream fashion market, propelled by the force of customers. The actual voice of the fashion customer is expressed through streetwear, making it an essential expression that modern fashion firms and their product portfolios should reflect. As customers become more aware of concerns relating to equality and sustainability, streetwear will continue to push the boundaries of fashion. Therefore, the secret to the hearts of streetwear consumers everywhere is sensitivity to cultural phenomena and a transparent attitude to the connected challenges.