Aesthetics Exploration- Streetwear

I chose the streetwear aesthetic because it resonates with my daily style and I believe many others. It is a very casual and comfortable style yet trendy. This aesthetic includes very expensive shoes, graphic t-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, mom jeans, and vintage accessories. This aesthetic first became popular in the 1990’s surrounding the hip hop rise and rap culture. This mainly originated from big cities like New York hip hop fashion, California surf wear, and elements of Japanese punk fashion. Categorized by comfortable clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and caps; major sportswear companies helped be the face of this new trend. Notable logos like Nike, Adidas, Dr. Marten, Stüssy, Carhartt, and Fila combined characteristics of scarcity in the hype beast world of sneakers, contemporary art, and comfort to create this coveted style. This element of creating product scarcity intentionally rallies economic demand surrounding seemingly every day casual products. This aesthetic still has its impact 30 years later and can be seen in the sneaker culture bids on limited production shoes, labeling 10 year old Nike t-shirts as vintage, and playing into the sizing disproportions to create a still prevalent look. The term hype beast has become very popular since the early 2000’s. It originates from an online magazine that writes stories about the latest streetwear culture. A person defined as a hype beast is someone that is engrossed in acquiring fashionable street clothing. However if you ask one of these sneaker heads you will find that this aesthetic is not just a look but a lifestyle. Currently the fashion industries biggest buzzword, the global market is about $309 billion since 2017 (Mayberry,2021). At first glance, streetwear seems oddly simple to garner so much revenue. Mainly those who follow pop culture, are under 30, and live in urban areas can be found with the streetwear look. A lot of substyles can go into this look. Surf and skate culture, haute couture, hip hop, sports and Korean pop are just a few of the these. As you see, these looks come from a broad socioeconomic consumer base. It seems an aesthetic brewed from laziness however; hour long lines for sneaker releases, cheap plain white t-shirts slapped with designer logos and sold for much more, and wearable NFTs are more than what meets the eye. Consumers drive the trend and it becomes a status symbol. Compare a Balenciaga to a Zara knock-off, this symbolizes the haves and the have nots. Beyond an aesthetic, streetwear resembles your status, your income level, and your personal values. In the end, streetwear is a reflection of so much more beneath the clothing that gets its influence from all around the world.






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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Peter Jakubczak
    January 28, 2023 7:34 pm

    Rachel, this is a super cool post. I didn’t know that streetwear has origins from Japanese punk fashion. I really like how you said “streetwear is a reflection of so much more beneath the clothing.” You did a great job explaining the culture behind it; streetwear is much more than just a nice outfit.
    I’m familiar with NFT’s, but I’ve never heard of it as “wearable.” Could you elaborate on this concept, or maybe include a picture?

    • Yes thanks for asking! I guess I should have specified that it is something fully virtual however an avatar within the metaverse can have its own sense of streetwear style. It does play into the status/income level side of fashion. Even though its virtual, its like an extension of physical identity however maybe its better off a completely separate aesthetic. Thanks for pointing that out!


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