Streetwear - its about connecting and about expressing who you are! - Image Magazine


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Streetwear - its about connecting and about expressing who you are!

Streetwear - its about connecting and about expressing who you are!

Streetwear - its about connecting and about expressing who you are!

Expressing who we are through fashion while influencing groups of people who want to identify and connect with a label or brand, is what the ‘streetwear’ movement is about.

Today PWC estimates put the total size of the global streetwear market at USD $185 billion in sales, making it around 10% of the entire global apparel and footwear market.  Streetwear today is one of the fastest growing segments in the fashion landscape and sits plum within the the world’s largest subset of consumers, Millennials or ‘Gen Y’s’.

Jon Field, Sales and Business Development Director at Kissel + Wolf says, ‘its been one of the biggest fashion trends since the new millennium, originating from the Skateboarding and Surf-ing cultures, and born back in 80’s and 90’s’ (one that he can personally relate to from his youth and love of surfing)   Now fast forward to today and when you think about the emer-gence of web-2-print digital technology, e-commerce, and social media networks, people can now source and unashamedly express who they are through what they wear to their own tribe of followers’.  He says, ‘its no surprise to him that the market has flourished globally and he believes it will only continue to accelerate in today’s present and ‘perfect storm’ environment’.

In its early days, streetwear was a rudimentary process created by the people who wore the end product, rather than created by the brands themselves.  Meaning that skaters and surfers stamped their own logos and slogans on their ‘kit’.  Then as these ‘back-yard’ companies ex-perienced strong growth and with it, their brand equity grew they diversified their product offering with an emphasis on surfer and skate wear fashion and accessories, and with it, de-livered substantial revenues to companies such as, Quick Silver, Billabong and Rip Curl.

Fast forward to today and the growth in streetwear now comes from grass roots, social media savvy graphic designers who are creating their own brands and brand identities. They are tap-ping into the urban Millennial generation (21-36 year olds) who have serious spending power (globally millennial spending power is expected to grow to USD $ 3.3 trillion in 2020) and are a collaborative generation dependant upon their peers, frequenting their online social net-works. Finally, two-thirds of Millennials prefer to shop digitally rather than in a physical or retail store and are not afraid to express who they are.

Trapstar is a great example of one of these leading urban streetwear brands who over a decade ago was printing pictures onto t-shirts in a Snappy Snaps in west London.  From their they graduated to a screen printer with a more graphics-led approach, selling and marketing their wares over social networks.

Over the past decade Trapstar has evolved into a world-wide streetwear success story, signing on with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation record label in 2011.  Then celebrity endorsements came their way over Instagram although ‘likes’ are only consequential – rather the key to the brands success.

From its early days of pop-up parties held in stores (what they termed “invasions”) they fos-tered a tight-knit community which Field believes is a key ingredient to theirs and other streetwear brands success. He commented, ‘part of fostering a community, is about identify-ing with its grassroots because this is what draws people in’. ‘They want to feel connected to and be an extension of the brand themselves.  No different to how we connected with and wanted to be part of the fledgling Aussie surfing brands and culture as kids’.

Back to Trapstar today and they have taken things to a whole new level with the streetware brand inviting its millennials and ‘Gen Y’s and X’s’ to design their own Trapstar branded gar-ments, calling the decision “a celebration of the people who wear it”.

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