The Rise of Streetwear: What Brands Such as Supreme and Off-White Say About the World Today



A screenshot taken from the Supreme website. Displayed are a variety of their luxury clothing items, the majority of which are sold out. Many are waiting in anticipation of their next drop.

Emily Ito , Section Editor

Streetwear has risen through the ranks exponentially, gaining such immense popularity that even some of the most famous designers are now considering it high-fashion. Brands such as Supreme, Palace, and OFF-White have gained the hype and status to rival many fashion houses that have ruled the industry for years. Everyone wants to be apart of the luxury streetwear culture, a major shift from the high-end designs of the past. Trading in Prada gowns and Christian Louboutins for Supreme sweatshirts and Yeezys, the newest trend shows a major shift in not only the fashion community but the world as a whole.

In 2017, Supreme, a streetwear company known for items such as hoodies and t-shirts, was valued at $1 billion. The valuation was a symbol of the immense success that designer streetwear has reached. 20 years ago, if someone heard that a simple sweatshirt costing nearly $2000 was being sold and purchased, they would be baffled. It seems odd that a company who’s built its legacy on everyday items found in most department stores but costing infinitely more has reached such staggering success. But when evaluating modern culture, the meteoric rise is not nearly as surprising.

Over the years, clothing has become increasingly more casual, with many preferring to wear graphic tees and sneakers than gowns and heels. Sports have become a place to draw inspiration from for the newest outfits. With the influence of the popular skater world, casual clothes are all the rage. On top of influence from sports, the music scene’s drastic change has heavily impacted the fashion industry. Hip-hop has risen out from its status as a subculture to dominating the world of music. With fashion often finding inspiration in the biggest musical artists, what is popular to wear has evolved with the shifting music industry.

While music and sports have played an integral role in streetwear’s climb to the top, the prevalence of the internet is what has really launched brands like Supreme and OFF-White. Limited-edition “drops” have increased the exclusivity, and therefore the desire, to sport t-shirts branded with the Palace logos or Supreme stamp. With many of these brands being available only in certain areas or online, these designers have developed a reputation for their “eliteness” and “clout.” In an Instagram driven society, OFF-White is a symbol of status on one’s feed. The biggest influencers on the internet are sporting their designer streetwear on the daily, making teenagers across the globe become more fascinated with the streetwear culture. Many teens are immersed in the newest style. Yet not all teens are as susceptible to the allure of the newest trend.  Unimpressed, some teens share the opinion of Dani Mallat (11), who observed how the biggest streetwear brands are, “overpriced which is likely the reason behind all the hype.” 

Streetwear has taken its place as a prestigious trend amongst the younger generation. Not only is streetwear a reflection on the changing fashion community, it is a symbol of the rapidly evolving world. The rising popularity of designer casual clothing is merely a dot on the face of a new society. Out with the old, and in with the new. The new generation’s interests and values reflects how different the world has become.