Streetwear gave brands, retailers and analysts endless stories to gush over in 2018, including genre-crossing brand collaborations, unisex ‘It’ items and the rise (and quick demise, according to some naysayers) of luxury streetwear.
It was enough buzz for trend forecasting firm Trendalytics to name streetwear as the fashion category to watch in July, estimating the category to be valued at $309 billion.
Here’s a look back at three streetwear stories that caught the attention of the entire fashion industry, and that serve as examples of where the streetwear category is going next.
Virgil Abloh’s debut at Louis Vuitton
In March, Louis Vuitton announced it would shake up its design by appointing Off-White designer, Kanye West alum and one of Rivet’s 50 Influential Virgil Abloh, as the men’s artistic director, replacing Kim Jones.
It was a move widely considered by industry insiders as an effort by the French luxury house to reposition itself with millennial and Gen Z consumers and to secure its place in the ongoing movement for luxury streetwear. The man who made yellow industrial belts and zip ties on sneakers status symbols was now taking on the iconic LV monogram.
And Louis Vuitton got what it was aiming for with Abloh’s first collection for Spring ’19, a range of rainbow-colored luxury sportswear and new icons like iridescent monogrammed Keepall bags. The minimalist collection marks a new and exciting chapter in Louis Vuitton’s 164-year history, while lays the foundation for streetwear’s foray into adulting.
Kith teams with everyone
What do you get when you combine New York’s premiere purveyor of cool, Kith, with a roster of heritage brands and designers? Kith Park, an experimental runway show that showcased Kith’s next batch of collaborations with brands like Levi’s, New Balance, Ugg, Bergdorf Goodman and more.
Kith unveiled the collaborations in September during New York Fashion Week: Men’s, alongside its up-and-coming collaborations with Tommy Hilfiger, Greg Lauren and Versace.
With ‘It’ items like Levi’s Trucker jackets lasered with the Kith logo, and signature Kith athleisure items adorned with Versace’s iconic Medusa logo, the partnerships usher in a new age where brands from opposite ends of the fashion spectrum can cohabitate and generate new levels of intrigue and buzz.
Diesel trolls hype beasts with bootlegs
Diesel proved that streetwear junkies will queue for anything, including items with misspelled logos.
Taking a page out of the playbooks of hype machines like Supreme and Vetements, the Italian denim brand opened a shop named, Deisel, on New York City’s Canal Street in February. Designed as an intentional send up of the many ways brands and their logos are misprinted on counterfeits, the limited-edition items became coveted streetwear items, generating long lines for the bootleg items.
The rouse served as a statement on the industry’s counterfeit problem. Diesel CEO Renzo Rosso estimated that more than a million Diesel counterfeits are sold each year.