After the European menswear shows, there seemed to be a return to the the classic. Colors were more muted, tailoring was all the rage, and men were buttoned up, more traditional, and looked more ready for the boardroom than the streets of Williamsburg. This was an aberration compared to past seasons where streetwear was the style almighty, the one king to rule them all, and almost seemed immortal. Editors and buyers were then left scratching their heads asking themselves "Is the streetwear craze finally over?"
This week at Liberty Fairs New York, one of New York's premiere menswear tradeshows, brands were out to show us that streetwear is still very much thriving, although its most major moment might be over, but the demand is unquestionably there.
On whether or not streetwear is declining and there's a return to more formality, Ash Hester, sales manager of Bridge & Burn said, "That's preference. Streetwear had a hype and the sneaker phase had a lot of traction." She added that, "The international markets had a lot of influence on that, but again heritage brands have always had a market, and the voice for them just hasn't been as loud. What the influencers are putting out there also affects what you're watching and pay attention to. Streetwear will always have a voice, it just might not be the loudest in the industry."
The menswear market is also on the rise, and studies are saying that menswear could eventually outpace womenswear. Lisa Kesselman, professor at FIT, believes that part of that is not because women aren't shopping, but rather you have more women buying menswear. "I think what's going on is we're getting away from traditional men's and ladies wear, and menswear is actually going to become more unisex," she said. "Streetwear I don't think is completely dead, but it's going to be changing. I think it'll be less structured, more casual, and intimate looking. They'll find themselves having to be more mainstream."
Kesselman also sees the rise of convertible clothing happening next, specifically meaning long- sleeve shirts that can convert to short-sleeve shirts and pants that can convert to shorts.
Max Amadeus, creative director of streetwear brand Control Sector, believes it is completely false that streetwear could go anywhere anytime soon. "If you just look at Virgil Abloh and everything he is done, he's at the helm of Louis Vuitton. He's bringing a streetwear element to luxury fashion," Amadeus said. "I think streetwear is becoming more popular if anything, and it's not going anywhere."
Just last August, AdWeek published an article discussing how streetwear has brought about the growth of luxury fashion. And while the European runways were quite somber in many ways, maximalist brands like Gucci, one of the most beloved labels by street style stars, are still reigning supreme. Balenciaga has managed to position itself as the top brand in the running at Kering after Gucci thanks in part to artistic director Demna Gvasalia's streetwear sensibilities.
While streetwear's hype moment might be gone, it certainly is not gone with the wind. Men are finding an appreciate for a good tailored piece again, and there's nothing wrong with that. Tastes are just more diversified, and streetwear is still going steady.photo: via Libertyfairs.com