WHEN I WAS A KID, I USED TO GO TO THE HIP HOP CLASSES AND I WAS OBSESSED WITH THE STREETWEAR: I WOULD GO INTO A SHOP AND GET SOME BRIGHT SNEAKERS, T-SHIRTS WITH LOUD SLOGANS, BOMBER JACKETS AND SOME BAGGY TROUSERS. THAT WAS THE LOOK MY FRIENDS AND I WERE TRYING TO SHOWCASE. I HAD NO IDEA ABOUT SUPREME BACK THEN, THOUGH I ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE A SKATEBOARD, AND THERE WERE NO DESIGNERS WHO WORKED WITH THE STREET CULTURE DIRECTLY. THESE DAYS AS A GEN Z (THOSE BORN IN MID-1990S TO MID-2000S), I STILL AM ADDICTED TO THE CULTURE OF STREETWEAR, THOUGH IT NO LONGER COMES FROM A LOCAL STORE IN METROGRAD, BUT FROM BINGE SHOPPING AT GUCCI, BALENCIAGA AND VETEMENTS.
Streetwear is a rather established phenomenon that has been on the market for more than 40 years. It all started with skateboard subculture and hip-hop tribes in LA, California, where the comfort of the clothes was key. Streetwear then moved to New York in mid 90’s where the first Supreme store – selling branded clothing and skateboards – was open. That feels like ages ago before current massive obsession with clothes that looks exactly like what my parents were wearing when Soviet Union fell apart and colorful leggings were once again a thing.
Femininity was evolving too: while rapper culture was experiencing a real boom in 2000s, it-girls were trying to stand out with Louboutins, Herve Leger dresses, fur coats and Birkin bags – all projected as attributes of a successful and attractive woman – yet being a questionable combination. Back then Victoria Beckham was a style icon to all of us, living her jet-set life and glamorously styling her bob. That was all subject to a change: LA was on the rise once again and the famous Kardashian-Jenner clan played a major role in the way we, women, dress these days. Forget the suits and stilettos – it is time for Yeezy Boosts and Fila jackets.
If in the 90s we had supermodels and Carrie Bradshaw, who brought the aura of femininity through their elegant and classic style, it is not the case today: Manolo’s are traded up for Balenciaga Triple S and Vetements hoodies are chosen over Versace dresses. Instead of dreaming about men like Saint Laurent, we are obsessed with Kaney West and Demna Gvasalia. This urbanism in fashion brings simplicity and ease of picking an outfit as no additional styling is required: you put on the coolest things and immediately become the center of attention. Everyone, from the runway to streets is obsessed with the beautiful ugliness out there: street style images are full of hoodies and chunky sneakers, while haute couture shows no presence of couture at all. Yet, it is purely understandable: from what’s going on in the world these days we no longer need complications of being overdressed but prefer to focus on important aspects of our lives.
On the other hand, obsession of luxury brands with streetwear is a pure marketing trick to get us, millennials, engage with their original offering. We, consumers, forget ourselves and get indulged in the possessions that indeed bring no value to our lives. We got used to go from one edge to another, having no deep thoughts on what is true to us. We forget about beauty and engage in ugliness, conspicuously spending money on all the clothes that we will dump after wearing two times. We change our style thinking that it will help us figure out our life, but eventually we get lost even more.
Instead we should keep the balance: no one says that Supreme hoodie would make you less feminine, however the question is whether it is necessary? Luckily the modern world is shifting away from such standards as “heels lower than 12 cm are not feminine enough”, “girls should always wear dresses” as well as “make up and blow dry are not an option” and gives us an opportunity to choose – something that our grandmothers necessarily did not have. If Marilyn Monroe said that in order to take over the world women needs a pair of nice heels, she was completely wrong, because we girls take the world wearing sneakers.