Introducing Different Types of Streetwear
Streetwear has become increasingly popular in fashion these days, evolving from being seen as a more casual, everyday style to making appearances in high fashion. Today, streetwear is one of the most popular styles but the term itself can be confusing. There are so many different types of clothing that fall under streetwear, and so many subgenres of streetwear style.
Streetwear also varies across the world—with the looks in Tokyo differing greatly from what you’d see on the streets of London or New York. However, to make it easy, we’ve broken down the main types of streetwear and their key features, pieces, and brands. These are Skate, Techwear, and High Fashion (also known as Hypebeast). However, there are so many different kinds of streetwear styles out there so don’t be afraid to look it up by designer or even city to find tons of different inspiration!
As the name suggests, this look was popularised by the culture of skateboarders around the world. This style originates in California, where skater culture was born. Skateboarding, in its earliest form, was created when surfers wanted something to do when there were no waves to ride. Therefore, the skate style originally took a lot of influence from the American surfer style’s casual, easy looks that focused on graphic T-shirts, baseball hats, and shorts.
While the style has evolved since then, these basic tenets and the casual feel of this style has remained the same. Summer skate style is the closest to the original, with the main looks featuring graphic tees, baseball hats, wide leg shorts and the quintessential skate sneaker: Vans. In the winter, the look remains casual but incorporates hoodies, loose, cargo-style pants, flannels, and beanies. The goal is a relaxed, personalised look that embodies the relaxed spirit of a Californian summer no matter the weather.
Usually, skate style incorporates humour or pop culture references through graphic T-shirts or slogan baseball caps. The main thing is to be casual and have fun with it! This makes this style really personable and fun. An easy go-to look I’d recommend is a graphic tee featuring one of your favourite bands, shows, or any cool logo you like, a pair of Dickies, a baseball cap, and some Vans.
As you can tell, there are definitely a few brands that are synonymous with skate style! The two that spring to mind for me are Vans and Dickies. Other brands include Carhartt, Stussy, and Huf. For those of you lucky enough to be living in Tokyo, I’d highly recommend X-Large or X-Girl, both of which embody a mix of skate and Japanese street style by infusing classic skate silhouettes with bright, modern logos and colours.
For more inspiration, I’d recommend the Holy Grail of skate magazines: Thrasher Magazine. You’re sure to find not only information about skateboarding, but tons of inspiration for skate-inspired streetwear.
Photo Credit: J. Grant Brittain
Techwear is an ultra-modern style that has risen in popularity in recent years which focuses on both style and functionality. Basically, it takes extremely functional pieces such as military vests and cargo pants, and puts a sleek modern twist on them by styling with luxe fabrics and/or with a modern colour palette like blacks and greys. The functionality of these pieces take inspiration from outdoor wear and sportswear. Therefore, a lot of silhouettes and materials such as technical vests and GORE-TEX are found in techwear. Because of its emphasis on high-quality materials, functionality, and sleek modern style, techwear is oftentimes expensive—especially key pieces such as a hardshell jacket. However, cheaper techwear looks can be achieved by focusing on a monochromatic palette with sports-like or outdoors-inspired detailing (such as reflective highlights) and by shopping at a variety of places.
For techwear basics, I’d recommend shopping at clothing retailers like Uniqlo. Their simple designs and functional fabrics make it a great staple for finding affordable techwear basics. Another great place to shop are sports stores such as Nike and Adidas; focus on their all-black options or find items of clothing with minimal colours and logos. These stores are a great place to find bottoms, backpacks, shirts, and shoes that all match with the techwear aesthetic. Lastly, the most important aspect of a techwear fit is a functional yet cool jacket such as a hardshell jacket. Since these can be expensive, I’d recommend layering up a thin hoodie underneath a thrifted windbreaker. This achieves a similar look without having to heavily invest in a well-made—but expensive!—hardshell jacket.
High fashion, hypebeast, hip-hop—whatever you wanna call it—this is probably the most popular and influential style of streetwear today. This style is embodied and promoted heavily by hip-hop celebrities such as A$AP Rocky, Future, Kanye West, Migos, and more. Many even mention their favourite high fashion streetwear brands and designers such as Raf Simons and Rick Owens in their songs. This style is embodied by designer logowear mixed with classics of streetwear such as sweatpants, graphic tees, and sneakers. There’s no shortage of runway inspiration for streetwear nowadays, with tons of brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Balenciaga embracing the streetwear trend and incorporating it into their runway looks. Other highly influential Hypebeast brands include the classic Supreme, which has a cult-like following, A Bathing Ape (also known as BAPE) which is famous for its iconic shark hoodies, and new-comer Off-White which has gained the favour of tons of celebrities since its debut in 2012. There’s no shortage of high fashion or hypebeast style inspiration—all you have to do is look at celebrities such as the ones mentioned or famous websites like HYPEBEAST, Complex, and more. Since this is arguably the most popular type of streetwear, just a quick Google search will have you swimming in inspiration! Unfortunately, because of its reputation as a high fashion and elite style, even “cheaper” brands of hypebeast fashion such as Palace or Supreme will still cost you upwards of $100 a piece—some even up to the thousands. To try and embody this look on a budget, I’d recommend steering away from showing off logos and brands and instead trying to find pieces such as Nike sneakers, ripped jeans, hoodies, bombers, etc. that replicate this look without the high price tag. Since this style is so popular, some more affordable shops feature hypebeast-inspired pieces like Urban Outfitters, H&M, and even thrift shops.
Let us know your favourite types of streetwear and tips for keeping to the budget in the comments below!