We all know, generally, that people with an elaborate sense of style wear the “best” brands, or the brands that are most spoken of. This new age of the internet allows everyone from all over to draw inspiration from, or straight up copy each other. This eventually breeds a generation of more style influenced people. With the year 2015 coming to a swift close, many could argue that this year was one of the most interesting and impactful years when it comes style and fashion, and culture in general. Streetwear brands at the top like Supreme and Bape became more accessible and more popular to the general public that might wear lower end streetwear brands like Stussy and The Hundreds. People who have been on a streetwear level already rose to more fashionable heights like Raf Simons, Undercover, or Rick Owens. These brands or houses still have ties to streetwear. The founder of Undercover, a high-end fashion brand, Jun Takahashi has ties to Bape, working with Nigo as a consultant and designing before founding his own label. This comparison can be the focal point to dividing streetwear from high-end fashion.
With that being said, what can everyone do to separate themselves from a pack of brand prisoners and culture vultures? Be original and stay true to the style you consider being the best for you. Whether it’s Alexander Wang’s F/W 15 ready-to-wear collection or cool vintage denim you picked up at your neighborhood thrift, create an array of palettes and silhouettes and style yourself to a tee, artistically. Your outfit could flop or stand out to the masses, but at least you can be you. That in itself can spark a trend.
To be the best, study the best. Some of the most hyped up brands haven’t lived up to quality. For example, the number of people who come out to concerts usually determines the headliner and their fan status. If you hear the name “Kanye West” is performing, most people would go. If the quality of this concert is bad, they’d be disappointed, and ponder whether or not to go if he returned. Same goes in style and fashion. The latest Supreme drop will be bought regardless because Supreme is a historic brand, but is significantly built off of internet hype. Most wouldn’t consider the fact that a brand that lacks in popularity could be better in fabric and design. With high-end designer houses and brands, quality is very important. Streetwear typically lacks color palettes and silhouettes, it’s more about the fit of the clothes and attachment and logo placement. High-end houses like Margiela and Balenciaga have creative directors and designers that format every detail of a garment. The only difference between a Supreme Box Logo tee from 2006 and a sample tee from your own clothing brand is a heavier set cotton and thicker screen-print along with a generation of backing. The difference between an archive Alexander McQueen dress from his 1996 “Dante” collection and a Rick Owens F/W 2015 topcoat is in garment difference, design, fabric, and added detail.
Popular creatives like A$AP Mob’s KILLV K and Cleveland’s Lil Backwood lead a generation that defies exactly what branding entails, but lack popular recognition. Both have done work in A$AP Mob branch concept store NOVA Ohio and VLONE founded by A$AP Bari and A$AP K. Lil Backwood is also a Stylist and Creative Director for the Fredo Santana founded Savage Squad Records, and Cleveland’s own Ben West.
I had the pleasure of connecting with the two creatives and I asked them to share their opinions on the matter.
Q: What do you think should be the main focus kids when looking for inspiration and do you think the quality and design of a garment is more important than the brand? Also your difference between style and streetwear?
Lil Backwood: I think the main focus should be doing whatever the fuck you want, and not caring about what other people think but always remain yourself. Man, with brands I usually only fuck with shit that is inspired by the same things I am, if you look at the brands I wear, you can kind’a guess what I’m into; unlike streetwear where it’s just stupid hype “cool guy” stuff. You should do your research, and if you fuck with a brand that has shitty quality, it is what it is. Nobody buying retail anyways, you know the deal, streetwear isn’t a style really, it’s all hype. I think thrifting, or if you actually know clothes, you’re gonna fit your aesthetic. Your style is gonna be on point, you can tell if someone knows off back.
Q: What do you think is the difference between streetwear and high fashion? Why are brands like supreme and bape followed so heavily and exclude other streetwear brands? Is there a lack of originality in the game rn and why? Advice on styling yourself and forgetting what people think of your style?
A$AP KILLV: I feel that the barriers between streetwear and high fashion have all but melted. Nobody of our generation really cares about the catwalk or avant garde and haute couture designs. We are a ready-to-wear generation, which is why the best designers of our time are teaming up with sports brands to reach a broader market of buyers. Brands like Supreme & BAPE were some of the front runners of streetwear culture, but in my opinion are now some weird mixture of watered down and over saturated (if that makes any sense). I feel like the logos have become bigger than the meaning behind them. Everybody wants recognition and they know those logos have recognition, so if they wear those logos they get what they want. I can’t explain why we live in a world of followers but we just do. I don’t feel there’s a lack of originality, I just feel like the consumers are scared to step away from the norm or status quo. I try not to give people advice on style because subconsciously I’m telling them to do what I do or what makes me feel comfortable, and that’s not the point of style. But in conclusion, I”d say “do what you do”.