I’ve had the idea of writing this for the past couple of days now and finally decided to materialise my thoughts into words.
Fashion is a part of everyday life, I even attempted to study it in my teens before becoming disillusioned with the course and eventually dropping out, but I’ll always remember my interview prior to enrolling.
During my talk with the head tutor I had to present works that showed an interest in fashion design, these were sketches and collages of clothes that I wanted to produce someday. I remember how I wanted to include graffiti print into dresses and have a collection with a sportswear feel, the tutor was warm to my ideas while in the midst of discussing my favourite designers like Chalayan and Yamamoto (and to this day still are) plus remarked on my own personal style at the time, noting the correlation with that and my design ideas.
And why not? This was the mid-noughties, my style was a mish-mash of skate brands like DC, “Hip-hop” clothing such as Rocawear and Fubu, finally not forgetting the occasional chav piece from JD sports.
Quite naturally my style reflected my interests, what was popular with kids at the time and of course would evolve.
I can’t remember how I discovered “streetwear” exactly, but it definitely ranges from noticing unusual designs during nights out, the Internet and word of mouth.
What started with a small boutique nestled away in the city centre, grew into New Era opening a flagship on the high street and seeing Flannels stocking “high-end” brands like Bape, BBC and Stone Island.
Even though what was available in my city at the time was limited, online however presented a wide variety of stores and blogs at my disposal. It’s funny how social media and the internet played an integral part.
Streetwear contained all the elements of what I loved to wear when I was at secondary school and had roots within subcultures that appealed to me.
In those early days of my streetwear discovery it was fun, my hometown had vibrant nights like Bigger than Barry, Dubmatic and Secret Wars, skaters dominated the city, you’d see individuals wearing bright colours along with bold graphics and statement fitteds.
However those days didn’t last.
Egos started to rise, an idiotic mentality (I.e. wannabe OF drones) and “look at me” culture. People weren’t interested in the value of owning something exclusive, they just wanted to show off and 1up the next man, go on any social media platform and you’ll see individuals either sharing their latest sought after purchase or taking repetitive photos of a pair of Nikes they have because they want those likes that equates to instant gratification.
Soon the high street latched onto the style and mass-marketed the streetwear aesthetic to appeal to a wider audience (how many kids do you see wearing ironic beanies and cheap varsity jackets, which were difficult to find in the UK at one time).
I grew bored and underwhelmed of the same style being churned out again and again, plus having entered my 20’s not long ago I desired to do what many former streetwear youts my age have proceeded to do and adopt a refined look.
I could’ve easily jumped on the HBA/Pyrex/”street-goth” bandwagon (for e.g. Givenchy, Givenchy, Givenchy) but no I didn’t want to and I’m not an insecure prick who needs to be defined by some “cool” piece of clothing, plus hype doesn’t always equal a good brand or longevity.
Timeless minimal designs doesn’t mean you lack personality or not brave enough to wear bold clothing, you can focus on quality and have a wardrobe that will outlast any fad.
Another reason why became detached from streetwear and in some sense social media as well was being approached by brands and collectives, which would sound great to anyone but it wasn’t all that.
Being buttered up with “I love your look” and “We really want you as a model” doesn’t work with me, I say this repetitively but I am NO MODEL. Whenever I have done a shoot in the past it just looks so amateurish and I really don’t photo that well, also another problem was NEVER getting anything in return for my time (seems rude in my opinion). There’s no point in thinking you can use someone for free, if you really value your brand/image then you would set aside a budget to employ professional models who have a good portfolio of work rather than some kid who’s attractive on Instagram or Tumblr.
So there you go, my inner thoughts on why I can’t be bothered with streetwear and being some unpaid mannequin.
Live long and prosper.