Fashion seems to be at a crossroads today where larger & more esteemed brands such as Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, & Burberry are suddenly sharing large portions of consumers with less-seasoned but equally revered brands like Supreme, Palace, & Gosha Rubchinskiy. In the last two years we have seen a volt of energy shock fashion fans & participants alike with everyone benefiting from the storm of new ideas. Among the aforementioned collaborations a few more notable ones have been Tommy Hilfiger x Vetements & Alexander Wang x Adidas Originals.
This recent trend in collaborations between street-wear & luxury brands has made for some of the most coveted & expensive items we’ve seen in the past years with Supreme & Louis Vuitton’s collaboration of 2017 being most notable. Boasting a red version of the world famous LV monogram pattern this collection has seen some of the most expensive pieces of the year especially involving a street-wear brand. Their red monogram trunk-box retailed for almost $70,000 USD and unequivocally hangs over the fashion world as a testament for the new age. One of the beautiful aspects of street-luxury is the untouchable history and highly desirable elements of luxury combined with the modern relevance & youthful appeal of streetwear. Clearly it can be a deadly combination.
“The one thing that I think the luxury market needs to understand is that culture has changed,”- Virgil Abloh, Menswear Art Director at Louis Vuitton
Since 1856 Burberry has been a testament & living example to any ambitious fashion house eager to take the test of time. By 1870 the brand was known throughout Europe for their penchant in stylish outerwear after only being around for 12 years since Thomas Burberry, at the time only 21-years-old, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. Over 160 years later their collaborations with Gosha Rubchinskiy are coveted by 21-year-old's all over the world along with their peers ranging from 16-35. Although this should seem like the natural cycling of the fashion world, this was instead another viral headline towards convergence for the street-wear & luxury realms. Christopher Bailey the President and Chief Creative Officer of Burberry said in an interview last year, “Gosha is not only an incredibly talented designer, he also has a unique sensitivity to and awareness of the “now”, which he captures so brilliantly in everything he does “. This beautifully sums up the value that street-wear brands & designers are bringing to the table when they work with luxury brands. This ability to capture & capitalize off the "now" and what's trending is one of the very fibers that make up the fashion industry & helped it grow to the estimated 2.5 trillion dollar industry that it is today.
“Youth culture is the engine that moves fashion,” - Darren McKoy, global category director, footwear and accessories, at Dr. Martens
It should be noted that fashion has always been dictated by the youth with skateboarders often being one of the core subcultures to take inspiration from. One of the most recent street-luxury collabs was between Palace & Ralph Lauren. Their lookbook featured plenty of stylish skaters & horsepower which captured the elegant energy of their project. This came as somewhat a surprise to the industry as these two brands didn't seem to have much correlation at first. In an interview with Business of Fashion Lev Tenju, founder of Palace Skateboards, stated (in regard to the influence Ralph Lauren had on him), “It’s the only brand that you can wear to a board meeting, a funeral and go to the football in — and all in the same day,”. This is exactly the look they went for & upon seeing the collection it all made sense.
“This should be in bold writing — that luxury by a 17-year-old’s standard is completely different than his parents. His version of luxury is streetwear.” - Virgil Abloh
Overall it seems that street-wear has married luxury fashion without any signs of breaking up in the near future. The last 2 years has seen many luxury brands from Balenciaga to Versace adopt more street-wear focused style into their runway shows & even going as far as to hire notable street-wear designers like Demna Gvasalia to help them integrate the new wave. Although luxury brands were the first to introduce high-end street style it is the actual street level brands which cater to the younger audiences providing more affordable & often more creative options in the industry. They have won the trust & dollars of youth across the globe & continue to build their reputations through these luxury collabs. On the other hand the luxury giants of past decades are giving themselves a breath of fresh air & validating themselves to the next generation of consumers who are more persistent in resonating with a brand than their older counterparts. Everyone seems to win in this equation so we expect to see more advancements during the 2019 year & 2020 runway shows.