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Street Style Evolution: Tracing the History and Influence of Street Fashion

In the fashion capital of the world, there is no shortage of innovative and daring trends. Street fashion has been prominent in cities such as New York, London, Milan, and Paris for decades and has evolved over that time to become an accepted and celebrated form of artistic expression. To truly understand the influence street style has had on the industry, we need to look back at its history and the people who made it possible. This article will trace the evolution of street fashion and its immense influence on the world of fashion.

I. The Dawn of Street Style

Street style has been around since the very first street was made. It was a form of expression as old as life itself. People flocked to places where fashion could emerge and flourish. 

From diners in the 1950s to motorbike crews in the 60s, style was always a vibrant part of young subcultures. It was an emblem of individuality in the age of adulthood. Those who embraced it were chosen, respected and envied.

  • Mod culture in the 60s
  • Skate culture
  • Grunge and Punk in the 70s and 80s

These fleeting movements all had their own distinct style and fast-evolving attitude, often crystallized into a range of significant looks. All celebrated self-expression through the perfectly crafted visual language of fashion.

Montreal, Japan, London, and New York City became meccas for streetwear during the 90s, inspiring many of today’s modern street styles. The development of the internet allowed this free-flowing language of expression to spread across the world like never before.

The dawn of streetwear gave fashion culture a split personality. Express yourself, or dress to fit in – it was a choice that was fully available for all. It was this duality that both embraced and repelled those who encountered it for the first time.

II. Street Wear Through the Decades

No one can deny the power of streetwear fashion. It represents a strong and vibrant counter-culture, constantly evolving and influencing trends and changing the fashion landscape. From its humble roots in ’50s jazz and soul culture to its influence on many of today’s top designers, street wear has always been an ever-changing force of its own.

The ’60s saw a massive rise of streetwear. Sprung from mod culture and an increasingly bustling music scene, the decade saw a revolution of youth culture with the rise of bright colors, geometric patterns, and puff sleeves that we still see today.

The ’70s served as another influential decade for streetwear. Platforms shoes, suede jackets, wide leg jeans, and vinyl blazers all began to reach peak popularity amidst the hippie and disco movements. Streetwear began to takes its form here, weaving through multiple cultures and continuing to evolve.

The ’80s pushed streetwear forward most, with the expansion of globalized fashion marketplaces, being a part of hip-hop culture, and the rise of high-top sneakers and flashy logos. The decade, to this day, is a major inspirational force to streetwear enthusiasts.

Early ’90s saw an interesting contrast in fashion between ‘generations x and y’. Low-rise jeans, tight roll-up jeans, the windbreaker were all popular with the teens, while a more upscale, executive look became popular with Gen-Xers. The two styles came together to form a wild energy which marked a huge shift in the fashion evolution.

We now live in a world of constant flux when it comes to streetwear. Collaborations with major fashion brands, celebrity endorsement and new-age interactive media are all leading to new and innovative realms of fashion we never thought possible.

III. Street Style Icons and Influencers

Street style has been inspiring fashion trends and redefining the way we dress for decades. Street style icons have become sought-after fashion influencers on social media platforms,
combining personal flair and style with a newfound level of accessibility and influence.

Street style icons and influencers are diverse and prolific; each having a distinct style that sets them apart from the pack. From graphic streetwear to colorful vintage ensembles, street style fashionistas showcase their fashion eccentricities, creating an array of innovative styles to follow.

Among the street style icons and influencers are a host of celebrities, models, lifestyle bloggers, and fashion designers. Here are a few of the most influential ones:

  • Michèle Lamy
  • Hussein Chalayan
  • Jean Paul Gaultier
  • Miu Miu CEO Francesco Risso
  • Haider Ackermann
  • Gigi Hadid

At Fashion Month, they are always well dressed and occasionally wearing iconic looks that send fashion trends rippling through the rest of the industry. Amazingly, a lot of their looks are put together with items found in thrift stores or even just items from their own closet! As such, they inspire us to be more creative with our choice of clothing.

Their social media presence further influences fashion trends, spreading each look they put together and allowing all of us to stay on top of their latest ensembles. From digital editors and bloggers to superstars in music, art, and film, these stylish men and women are essential to the growth of the fashion industry today.

IV. Street Style and High Fashion Crossover

Recently, there has been a buzz of anticipation as street style and high fashion designers have begun to work together to create bold, new looks. It can be said that the street style and high fashion crossover go hand-in-hand, as one helps to give structure to the other and vice versa. Here’s a look at how the world of street style and high fashion have been melding together.

Crossover Clothing Pieces

The number one thing that the street and high fashion scene have come together on has been the creation of clothing pieces that are neither too casual nor too formal. This gives people the freedom to express their style without having to adhere to rigid dress codes for events. From chunky sneakers to utilitarian jumpsuits, the runway has been quickly tackling this fusion head on.

Collaborative Lines

Not only have certain pieces been crossing over between these two worlds, but entire lines have been making their way onto the scene. More and more high end designers are teaming up with street style icons to create exclusive collections that combine the two styles perfectly. Whether it’s the air of sophistication of high fashion with a street-style edge or vice verse, there’s something for everyone in these designs.

Mixing and Matching

Whether we’re talking clothing pieces, collaboration lines, or accessories, the key thing to remember when talking about street style and high fashion crossover is that mixing and matching is key. That being said, you don’t have to be a fashionista in order to pull the look off. All it takes a little bit of experimentation, a willingness to mix and match, and a creative spirit and you’ll be on your way to making a statement with your style.

V. The Resurgence of Street Style in Modern Culture

Street style is making its way back into popular culture, and it’s something that many people are taking notice of. From the exaggerated silhouettes of the 1980s to the bold colors used in hip-hop fashion, there is a resurgence of street style that reflects how fashion is changing.

One of the defining features of street style is its focus on expression. While traditional fashion is often focused on adhering to certain aesthetic norms, street style allows people to mix and match their clothes to create an individual look that reflects their tastes and personal style. It’s no longer about wearing the latest designer trends but rather about expressing yourself with your own unique wardrobe.

A variety of street style trends have become popular in recent years, from colorful and whimsical prints to retro-inspired styles. People are becoming more creative with their outfits, looking for unique pieces and taking risks with their fashion choices. Another trend that is being seen is streetwear, which is a mix of athletic and casual attire in the form of sneakers, t-shirts, and hoodies.

Investing in street style clothes is also becoming more popular. Shopping for vintage clothing can be a great way to find unique pieces that can then be personalized or updated with new details. From the rise of independent, up-and-coming designers to vintage and thrift stores, there are more options for finding fashion to express yourself with.

Street style is allowing for more and more people to express themselves with their fashion. It’s a trend that has been embraced by many and will no doubt continue to be a major presence in popular culture for the foreseeable future.

From the preppy fashion of the 1980s and the straight-edge rebellion of 1990s grunge to the current generation of street style, fashion on the streets of America has changed and evolved over the decades to be an ever-growing, ever-influential force. The future of street style might be unknown, but it’s clear that it will continue to push the boundaries of fashion and make a lasting impression.

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