Streetwear was once cheap urban clothing is now being interpreted by big designer brands. Is it really worth it?
“That’s you?!” I exclaim, unable to breathe with laughter as I snatch the photo of my 20-year-old father from his hands and continue the onslaught of creative insults.
“It was cool back then” he said defensively, “that was the style.”
Glancing at the photo one last time, I took in the “cool” vomit yellow of the windbreaker, as well as the flared trousers perhaps a little too glossy for my liking. “You looked ridiculous,” I said. He turns and looks at my ensemble of ripped skinny jeans and an oversized long-line t-shirt before saying, “Really, that’s coming from you?”
Well, while it may be easy to make fun of how our parents dressed thirty years ago, I can only imagine our children thirty years from now:
“You spent $800 on a rapper’s running shoe?!”
What is cool now, will not always be cool
Fortunately or unfortunately, streetwear is the flared trousers and paneled windbreakers of today: Cool now, perhaps not in a few years.
Originating from the skateboarding and Hip/Hop scenes, streetwear has essentially come to dominate today’s fashion trend for young men and women alike. The widespread success and popularity of the fashion trend is evident in how young adults everywhere regardless of race, background, or interests can be found clad in the latest Jordan shoe and ripped skinny jeans. In recent years an interesting development is how streetwear style clothing has now overlapped with high-end designers. Therefore, what was once supposed to be cheap and urban inspired clothing now butts heads with designer companies that sell insanely expensive streetwear clothing, of questionably (if at all) better quality.
The “Respect/Price-tag” correlation
Too often are we guilty of complimenting someone with the newest Saint Laurent jacket or Yeezy’s. We have learned to wrongly associate price and exclusivity, with looking good and fashionable.
Let’s change that.
I have compiled a list of items of clothing from high-end designers, and then suggested cheaper alternatives* that you may or may not have heard of. This will be divided up into the different components of a simple outfit:
*This list is not to serve as replacements, (i.e. a copy-cat of designer brands) but rather brands I think could fulfill the same purpose.
Designer: Yves Saint Laurent
Price: $350 (I have found round trips from Boston to Jamaica cheaper than this)
This t-shirt is sold on the Yves Saint Laurent website. The t-shirt has an iconic design on the collar, meaning people “in-the-know” will recognize this shirt to be from YSL.
Alternative: ASOS, Black Kaviar
If you are anything like me; a t-shirt is a t-shirt. Bulk buy some nice longline t’s from ASOS and you will have a solid covered torso for $300 cheaper.
Price: $54 for 7 t-shirts! A bit of math will get you the YSL to ASOS ratio of 1:42. Is the YSL shirt worth 42 times that of an ASOS shirt? You tell me.
If you want to spice up your arsenal of t-shirts and turn ASOS to ASAUCE, Black Kaviar is a great brand. They are a little pricier, t-shirts range from $50-$100, but they have a lot of great designs and the quality is pretty good. Check out their take on the rock band t-shirt:
A post shared by ASOS Menswear (@asos_menswear) on
Price: About $80, really cool idea, and they have them in pink. *Squeal*
This t-shirt is available on Black-Kaviar’s website here.
Iconic designer brand, but oh my will that do some damage to your bank balance.
Price: *Inhales deeply, cracks knuckles* $1560 *stuttering slightly* Make the purchase if you are up for it, but I have something better for you.
Alternative: Embellish, Crysp Denim
Embellish is my favourite biker jean brand, they have a wide range of nice biker denim and other cool clothing. Also, people have told me these jeans look like Balmain.
Price: Between $140-$150, very reasonable, great quality
Crysp Denim: Very cheap ripped and skinny denim, prices range from $60-$70! They do tend to fit slightly loose, but hey, a great staple for a great price.
You can purchase Crysp Denim on their website here.
Designer: Bape, Off-white
*Sighs* Moving on.
Alternative: H&M, Anti-Social Social Club
Any college student will tell you that H&M can be a goldmine for clothing. Yes, the hoodie may fit like a collapsed tent and yes sometimes the quality is so bad the hoodie looks almost see-through. Point is, $20 dollar clothing in cool colours and styles should not be overlooked.
Surprisingly, Anti-Social Social Club (ASSC) is on here. I like this brand because you get the same sense of exclusivity as you would with a designer brand, due to the limited availability. However, the prices are really reasonable if you buy when available, and they come in nice colourways.
Price: About $70 on drop
Thrift, thrift, thrift. Go digging in a thrift or second hand store and you will find leather, denim, bomber and windbreakers galore. Cheap, same quality.
Shoes really tie an outfit together and anyone remotely versed in sneaker culture, will be able to tell roughly what was spent on the shoe. Cheap option? Grab yourself an Adidas Superstar.
Price: $80 for an iconic and extremely versatile shoe.
Check these out for further cool clothes: Tackma, Black Pyramid (Chris Brown’s clothing brand), Nana Judy, Bleached Goods (rock band t’s and hoodies)
This is just a taste of some of the great cheaper options out there for streetwear clothing. Just because what you wear is expensive, doesn’t mean it looks good.