Street style. If two words have come to encapsulate the mood of modern fashion over the past few years, look no further than these twos.
Everywhere you look you will see and read about street style – from style.com to The Sartorialist, Jak & Jil to Facehunter and an entire world of Tumblr’s and Pinterest pages, the world has gone street style crazy.
In fact it seems somewhat wide of the mark calling Street Style a trend. It has become such a staple of modern men’s clothing it has essentially slowly but surely morphed into part of our basic wardrobe attire.
Much like men from the early 1900’s who wore a suit on a daily basis; street wear has become the style choice for a modern generation who have had their style horizons broadened thanks to the internet. The world has become a great deal smaller thanks to these huge technological advances and the advent of fashion and style blogs from around the globe has enabled a new generation of shoppers to forge entirely new fashion concepts.
However, while street style may be a buzz word of its time and the word has come to define anyone walking along the street deemed suitably dapper or ‘cool’ by a photographer, the origins of street style in its truest form – an amalgamation of sportswear teamed with fashion and trend led clothing – can be dated back to the late 1970’s and the empty, sun bleached swimming pools of California.
Skaters would cut up old levis to skate those deserted pools which with their smooth surfaces were perfect for skating in; they’d pull their socks up high, they’d wear headbands usually reserved for pro-tennis players or Converse hi-tops which had been made for the basketball court. It was the first time clothes designed for specific sports has been taken from their usual domain and usurped by these young, care free up-starts who made them their own.
From those humble early beginnings, skate wear has become a global phenomenon with smaller brands such as HUF and Palace Skates now mixing it with the likes of Vans, Stussy, Volcom and sportswear giants Nike and Adidas, both of whom have their own dedicated skateboard clothing lines.
Think about the clothes you have in your wardrobe and chances are they will be zipping up and down a skate park near you. From caps to trainers, t-shirts to chinos, a sport once part of an east coast sub-culture is now very much ensconced within main stream life; in much the same way street style has evolved to be for everyone, not merely the selected few.
Let’s take a look at some of the key pieces worn by the man walking down the street and the kid ripping up the skate parks.
No self respecting skateboarder would ever be seen without his cap – if it’s not on their head it will be tucked in the back pocket or clipped to a belt loop. 5-Panel or snapback hats have become something of a must have for all hipsters in recent years and the trend show little sign of abating just yet.
Every skater wants a good pair of kicks, not just for looking cool in, although that goes without saying, but because skating takes so much out of your feet. Vans hi-tops are perfect but such is skatings prominence in modern street style, there are a wealth of great brands and styles to choose from.
The Daily Mail might not be fans of the hoody and those that wear them but then again, I’m sure all skaters would be quite happy with that. The hoody though is part of all our wardrobes, whether we are lying about on the sofa, popping out to grab some milk or heading of half-pipes and into the ether, I doubt there is a man out there who doesn’t own a hoody, whatever the Mail might have to say on the matter.
Judging by the catwalk shows over the summer just gone, the oversize t-shirt is going to be a key trend for next season with off the shoulder hems and oversize arm lengths the order of the day. Skaters however have been making baggy part of their outfit for years now and while the style has altered little, the prints and range of logo designs has become key to either selling brands or selling out.
Those of us who like to keep abreast of fashion may see street style as part of our everyday lives but we owe a great deal to what has gone before. Skaters and their culture play a significant part in the styles that have evolved to become staples of our modern wardrobe but without these trail blazers who knows where we might be.
Style and fashion have become a lot less rigid in their approach to new ideas and with the advent of street style blogs and with the world at large becoming more fashion savvy, designers have had to sit up and take note of what is happening on the street.
The skaters of California circa 1970 may not have had the internet to garner their ideas, they simply had their imaginations. You can’t ask for better than that.