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Streetwear Consumers Just Want Cool and Comfortable Products

Streetwear’s cool factor is also its key selling factor, according to Hypebeast’s “Streetwear Impact Report.”

The new report finds that 70 percent of consumer respondents like streetwear because it’s considered “cool.” More than half favor the category because it’s comfortable, while others like streetwear for its exclusivity, its role as a status symbol and for the community built around it.

Made in partnership with Strategy&, the report demystifies the influence the once undergrown fashion category is having on the fashion and retail industries. The report is based on a survey of more than 40,000 consumers across the globe (80 percent being male), while the industry portion of the report surveyed 763 respondents from a range of companies, including high street, luxury and resale sites.

And despite best efforts by brands and media, the report finds that it’s the consumers that are determining what’s cool.

“With streetwear, the tastemakers are not only taking direction from style that comes from the streets, they are taking direction directly from the audience,” the report stated. “It’s the consumer who has the power to determine what’s cool as much as the industry insider. The muscle of traditional fashion institutions—such as print publications and revered editors—has dwindled, while the opinions of general audiences have gained weight.”

Brands from all tiers are taking note. More than one-third of industry respondents surveyed said they believe streetwear will continue to grow over the next five years, Hypebeast reported.

While original streetwear brands like Supreme, Bape, Stussy and Palace continue to resonate with streetwear consumers, the report finds that sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas are encroaching, particularly for footwear, which is streetwear’s biggest product category.

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And then there’s the luxury players that toe the line of streetwear like Off-White and Vetements, which have captured their share of the market with accessible items like belts and screen-printed T-shirts.

Though some of the players have changed, the report notes that streetwear is still considered an affordable category. Just 8 percent of consumers surveyed said they would buy a streetwear item priced $500 or more. Rather, more than half of consumers said they would spend $100-$300 on an item and another 16 percent said they would spend $300-$500, according to the report.

These price ranges are in line with popular streetwear purchases. Boosted by frequent drops and collaborations, footwear is the product streetwear consumers are most likely to buy followed by tops like T-shirts and hoodies. Hypebeast urged companies to introduce sneakers to their product offering as a tactful way to meet the consumer’s demand and to enter this market.

Meanwhile, the popularity of hoodies and T-shirts may boil down to practicality.

“These items can be worn year-round, in nearly all weathers and environments,” the report noted. “Not only are they comfortable, they also function as blank canvases for the printed and embroidered graphics that inform streetwear clothing.”