When most people think about fashion they tend to think about high end brands such as Marc Jacobs and Burberry, but to our generation’s fashion has been divided into many sub categories. One of these popular sub categories is streetwear.

Obey shirt a popular street wear brand. Photo by Matt Jackson
Obey shirt a popular street wear brand. Photo by Matt Jackson

The influence streetwear has had on hip hop culture certainly found its way on to college campuses throughout the country, including Niner Nation. If you pay attention to the logos on the beanies and t-shirts of your fellow classmates you will definitely come across at some of these brands.

Although, many street fashion experts would argue that streetwear is product of the West Coast action sports lifestyle, the origin of streetwear is uncertain.

The genres style reflects many metropolitan cities and their cultures including Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo. The most prominent of streetwear are centered on everyday clothing such as t-shirts, jeans, jackets, hats, casual shoes and backpacks. These classic staples of our everyday wardrobe are one of the reasons why streetwear has become increasingly popular for over two decades.

New Era Day of the dead hat. Photo by Matt Jackson
New Era Day of the dead hat. Photo by Matt Jackson

Since Shawn Stussy began printing t-shirts with his trademark signature that he put on his handcrafted surfboards, the rise of streetwear has taken off. Stussy began selling his branded gear in boutiques and department stores in Southern California in the early 80s and then later expanded the distribution to New York, Europe and Asia.

Many streetwear brands owe their success to the hip hop, skateboarding and hipster scenes. Many popular from the urban street culture include Supreme, Bape, Obey, Diamond Supply, Only, Primitive, Undftd, Crooks and Castles, Huf, Black Scale, Fuct, the Hundreds, Billionaire Boys Club, Ice Cream and LRG.

High profile celebrities are also a part of the reason why streetwear has remained so popular. Whether we like to admit it or not we look to celebrities for inspiration on the latest trends. Since streetwear clothing is reasonably affordable, the market for streetwear is continuing to stay popular.

“I mostly find brands through rap artists,” said sophomore Andrew Gibbs about his source of streetwear inspiration.

Charlotte Sophomore Brett Mier. Photo by Matt Jackson
Charlotte Sophomore Brett Mier. Photo by Matt Jackson

Even the most exclusive streetwear brands are now available in stores right here in Charlotte. Some stores specialize in streetwear fashion like Social Status, located off of Central Avenue. Popular chain stores have also begun selling streetwear brands in local malls including Zumiez, PacSun, DTLR and Urban Outfitters. In fact, Urban Outfitters recently began to sell Los Angeles women’s streetwear brand, Dimepiece, which has been seen on various celebrities including Cara Delevinge, Kylie Jenner and Cassie.

Recently streetwear has made many musicians into underground fashion icons, artist such as Pharrell Williams, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Tyler the Creator and A$AP Rocky. Although streetwear has been made popular by those in the media, many students have found a way to incorporate the street wear trend into their own unique style.

Bleached vest. Photo by Matt Jackson
Bleached vest. Photo by Matt Jackson

“Everyone likes the same brands, but we all add our own personality to them,” said freshman Beej Watkins.

The culture of streetwear will remain popular for years to come, simply because it is a form of fashion that can be effortlessly fitted into various wardrobes and styles. There are no limits as to what can go with a simple t-shirt or five-panel hat. It can be mixed and matched with high end fashion brands without looking like a carbon copy of the latest trend.

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