Louis Vuitton, Logomania and the Rise of Streetwear

The influence of streetwear on high street fashion and luxury brands is nothing new. As with other trends in fashion – it’s all cyclical. What has already been will be again (this is why we’re all wearing velvet and slip dresses right now by the way).

Originating from California surf and skate culture, streetwear has grown to include elements of Japanese fashion, hip hop and DJ culture. A lot of these groups weren’t typically mainstream, so they found bold ways to express themselves in the way they dressed. Brands like Stüssy, Adidas and Nike paved the way for typographic fashion in casual wear – t-shirts, jeans, sneakers – all branded heavily with logos. Whether it was Adidas, Calvin Klein, Nike or, for Australian girls in the ‘90s, wearing Sportsgirl logo tees, this type of iconography was everywhere.

The current landscape in luxury streetwear is showing an overall shift in the way people approach fashion – wearable, comfortable and classic. Luxury powerhouses such as Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton have all shown increase in sales amongst the younger demographic since this change. All have fanatical followings from twenty-somethings and not unlike those that follow streetwear brands like Supreme, Palace and Bathing Ape.

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A number of collaborations have brought streetwear into the spotlight in recent times. Alexander Wang has collaborated with Adidas Originals, Givenchy with NikeLab, Opening Ceremony with Espirit and, in the last week, Louis Vuitton released their AW2017 menswear collection with New York-based cult skatewear brand Supreme.

A number of looks on the Louis Vuitton runway were paired with Supreme’s recognisable red and white branding. The difference, of course, is the price tag. The bags alone are expected to retail between €1500-€3000 – quite the difference from Supreme pricing. In a recent statement, Louis Vuitton menswear designer Kim Jones said, “No conversation about New York menswear is complete without Supreme”. A vast change from back in 2000 when Louis Vuitton sued Supreme for using its logo.

Another recent collaboration of note is Gucci enlisting Brooklyn graffiti artist Trevor Andrew (who is now better known as GucciGhost). Andrew (a former Olympic snowboarder) worked with Alessandro Michele on a recent collection where he painted on bags, and created designs for t-shirts, jumpers and more. Spray-painted across the iconic Gucci branding would be Andrew’s signature ‘Real Love’ as well as ghosts.

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Taking the lead with luxury streetwear include designer Gosha Rubchinskiy – whose eponymous, skater-inflected fashion brand was born from Moscow’s youth scene. The exciting brand – which was originally a graphic t-shirt business – is now one of the most hyped brands of current times. Mentored by Adrian Joffe – president of Comme des Garçons – Rubchinskiy’s designs feature the word sport written in Cyrliic and Mandarin and combine the Russian Federation’s and PRC’s flags as a logo which is reminiscent of the Tommy Hilfiger logo. Stocked in cult fashion store Dover Street Market, the label has gained international recognition with more than 150 stockists and praise from streetwear enthusiasts. The label has also recently announced a partnership with the football division of Adidas, which will be revealed in three seasons leading up to the 2018 World Cup.

Lastly, the brand that is leading the pack with reinventing ‘90s designs for the luxury market is Vetements. As one of the most talked about brands in the world – its approach to luxury is through creating limited supply – not unlike the philosophy of Supreme. The brand would rather its iconic Thrasher-influenced hoodies, DHL tees and shoes sell out than to be discounted in stores. With sweaters emblazoned with Champion logos, and a recent collaboration with Juicy Couture, it’s hard to take any of it seriously but nonetheless each collection is highly sought-after.

As the street and luxury markets find a new way to coexist – how long will it be until we see skaters wearing Louis Vuitton?

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